In Conversation with Amanda Kramer: A Talk About Female Perspectives on Cinema

CONTENT WARNING: The following conversation includes talks of sexual assault and toxic masculinity, which may be potentially upsetting for certain readers and listeners.

Following TIFF Next Wave, I had the chance to talk with Ladyworld writer-director Amanda Kramer about her creative process and her many influences. What soon followed was a long conversation about the state of the film industry and how important it is for female voices to climb higher up within in a male-dominant field. You can listen to the conversation below and also read it down below.

Continue reading →

Starship Troopers – Review

✯✯✯✯✯

Perhaps it’s a tad snooty on my end to say, but I’m amazed that few people seem to really “get” Starship Troopers in this day and age. Although it’s a wonderful sight to see that it has acquired a cult following in more recent years, I would only have imagined that Paul Verhoeven’s name being attached to adapt a novel written by Robert Heinlein – an author I’ve disliked for the authoritarian and borderline fascistic readings into his own text was already in for yet another bite. And knowing where the satire present in RoboCop and Total Recall had leaned, the idea had only hit me as cheeky – and admittedly it was something that even went over my head the first time I saw Starship Troopers. Over repeated viewings, however, the cleverness of Starship Troopers became even clearer – working within the same in-your-face charm that made RoboCop so brilliant.

Continue reading →

Elle – Review

✯✯✯✯½

Upon his entrance into Hollywood, Paul Verhoeven has made some of the most intelligent social satires of the period within the guise of science fiction action films through RoboCopTotal Recall, and Starship Troopers. It wasn’t long within these years when he decided to take a far more perverse direction with his work when he started collaborating with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas with the sleazy Basic Instinct and Showgirls. But this perverse route towards his Hollywood period isn’t unfamiliar to him as shown by his earlier works in his native Netherlands. Verhoeven’s films have never been a stranger to controversy and a case study with his most recent outing, Elle, only more of this dementia his works are characterized by allow itself to shine once again. Purely Verhoeven all in the very best sense of the word: sly, sleazy, exciting, no wonder I’ve rarely ever disliked anything with his name. A ten year wait has come between this and Black Book, and with Elle the wait certainly was worth the while.

Continue reading →

Black Book – Review

✯✯✯✯

Paul Verhoeven’s return to his own homeland after the years he had spent in Hollywood churning out satirical classics have only proven all the more rewarding after he brings out Black Book. Being his first film to have been made in the Netherlands since The Fourth Man, Black Book brings back that touch he had made for himself during said years as he now brings said touch with eroticism and satire to the setting of WWII. In his own homeland, Black Book also holds the honour of being voted as the best Dutch film ever by the public and while that may be a stretch because I’m not so sure this would be amongst my favourite Verhoeven works, but I’ve grown up a proud apologist for his work and naturally it would mean a lesser film (minus two particularly bad films) is more impressive for many other directors’ best. With Black Book, Verhoeven satisfyingly retains this consistency.

Continue reading →

RoboCop – Review

✯✯✯✯✯

When talking about the greatest action films of the 1980’s, doing so without bringing up RoboCop is disgraceful in the highest possible manner. Paul Verhoeven’s Hollywood debut remains not only a staple for iconic 1980’s action films but one of the most intelligent, if in-your-face satires of said era. A film that could easily be dismissed as enjoyable action fare from the period at youth, but oncoming years have only allowed the value of RoboCop to become even clearer than ever. It carries the look of an action movie just the way we love it but what’s lying beneath in where the wonders that form Paul Verhoeven’s body of work have formed clear. Sometime I wish to slap younger me across the face for not being able to see any of this at the time but I have to give it to RoboCop for helping me at the same time with accepting the sight of graphic violence on the screen, so in part it might have helped me in heading as far as I’ve managed to reach.

Continue reading →

2016: The Standouts

It’s inevitable that after a passing year one must go about with talking upon what they’ve witnessed while time had gone on and with 2016 gone, a great year of cinema has indeed passed upon us and we’re only hoping for even more with a new one. In this blog entry, what I wish to cover are some of the best and worst films that I caught all throughout 2016 as of February 25, 2017. Continue reading →

Total Recall – Review

✯✯✯✯✯

My first memories of Total Recall have gone on in the same way that my own for RoboCop had. I was thirteen years old and I saw both films back to back on television (where they were both uncensored, surprisingly) and although both had been helpful factors in allowing myself to accept the sight of graphic violence on the screen, I merely came out just liking them because all I saw was an action film. Growing older was a different story as I looked into these films and suddenly saw another layer of brilliance on Paul Verhoeven’s end, the loud satire it presents in your face. With a Philip K. Dick story and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead, he’s clearly at some of his most inviting. And with Total Recall, there comes Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best film yet.

Continue reading →

Showgirls – Review

✯✯✯✯

Imagine the sort of sleaziness that can only be found one place and nowhere else; it’s the sort that Paul Verhoeven wishes for his viewers to experience through Showgirls. Everyone already knows Showgirls from its notorious career-ruining reputation together with a consistent positioning amongst what are supposedly the worst films ever made and even sweeping a record at the Golden Raspberry Awards. Yet in spite of this infamy, it managed to grow a cult within following years on home video, some people saying it may be “so bad it’s good,” but others calling for re-evaluation. “So bad it’s good” it may be for some but I happen to be among the camp that thinks Showgirls is genuine good: a misunderstood work brimming with brilliance.

Continue reading →

Basic Instinct – Review

✯✯✯✯½

In his Hollywood years, Paul Verhoeven has been able to make some of the smartest social satires of the period through science fiction but he comes back to a sense of what had defined him during his years making films in the Netherlands through Basic Instinct. With Basic Instinct he returns to a form that has defined him during his early years but even here his biting satire can still be felt in a most unexpected sense. If something were to stand out about Paul Verhoeven, there’s an incredible feeling of self-awareness lurking within his work that never feels afraid to lash out at one. If there were much to say about said power, it gives his own work a delicious taste and a certain exotic quality becomes all the more abundant there. At times I think I underestimate my love of Paul Verhoeven but I can never help it.

Continue reading →