Last Minute Criterion Suggestions from Us

There’s only a few days left of the half-off sale from the Criterion Collection. If you’re a newcomer to the home video line, all of those selections can look daunting and you’ll probably stand there for a good while trying to decide what to get. With nearly a thousand titles to choose from, it’s overwhelming. Don’t worry, two Criterion aficionados have their picks that are perfect for any first-time buyer or if you’re looking for something to spice up your shelf.

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A Wrinkle in Time – Review

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Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time is a film of a rather significant first, because it is the first film with a budget of over $100 million to have been directed by an African-American woman. While it’s certainly admirable on Ava DuVernay’s end that she managed to get this made, unfortunately talking about the film itself will be a whole other story. The film’s social significance cannot be overstated but because of that whole other story regarding the actual quality of the film, it also sets a worrying note for WOC filmmakers working in Hollywood. It’s worrying because of the possibility that this film will end up being weaponized against them, especially when it isn’t so much a failure as said concept would end up making it out to be.

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The Worrying Stature of A Wrinkle in Time

Don’t let that title deter you from reading more, I’m not going to cover my own opinion of Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time but rather the worrying note it leaves for the future of female POC filmmakers working in Hollywood. From directing Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, director Ava DuVernay, whose previous films include the Academy Award-nominated Selma and 13th, had become the first black woman to direct a live-action film with a budget that exceeds $100 million. Of course, its release was set to become a big deal within the film industry across the globe but its fate at the box office was perhaps one thing that was always going to be leaving us feeling uncertain about what it means for WOC filmmakers in the future.

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Inherent Vice – Review

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Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice will certainly leave the most common moviegoer baffled with their own experience although given the source material that won’t turn out surprising at all. But it’s hard enough for me trying to describe what Inherent Vice will leave behind just from a single viewing because it almost feels like a hallucination as it moves by. Yet at the same time, we’re caught up inside of a web of lies almost like a Philip Marlowe story. Inherent Vice is a blend of eras and it’s the sort of experiment that only a filmmaker like Paul Thomas Anderson himself could bring to the table in such a manner. But in this indulgence, Paul Thomas Anderson also manages to summarize on the spot what exactly Inherent Vice is about, because of how much we can take in from one go to that point it’s so baffling yet it still keeps us watching. It keeps us watching because it’s absolutely wonderful in that sense, because it’s Paul Thomas Anderson at his craziest, and if that doesn’t signify something good I don’t know what will.

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Election – Review

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There’s already something up the moment in which a high school comedy manages to become a dead-on accurate picture of the flaws within the voting system in American politics – something which Alexander Payne’s Election was already aware of. I remember having seen this for my first time back in my early years of high school and while I found it entertaining, it wasn’t until a recent revisit that opened myself up to how it also presented so much more than something entertaining on the surface – it was also much darker and more cynical than I remembered it having been. I have to admit though, it was fun watching it after the presidential election, but to talk about it afterwards it’s suddenly not as fun as we thought. The fact that even a high school comedy film’s campaigning system seems to be better working compared to the federal election only shows a bad sign for the future.

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How Do You Know – Review

James L. Brooks is a director I find to be extremely hit-or-miss (the only film of his that I have loved as of yet is Broadcast News) but usually I’ve always found in what I’ve seen of him, there’s always a single performance that keeps everything watchable (I for one was not a big fan of As Good as It Gets in spite of fantastic performances from Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt). How Do You Know is the very lowest I’ve come across from him and while not nearly as insufferably irritating as the advertising might have made it look, there’s little to nothing offered that could lift any form of life out of this from higher ground. Continue reading →