Monday, January 16, 2017

La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016)


L.A., L.A. 

(Warning: plot and narrative twists discussed in detail!)

Damien Chazelle's La La Land takes quite a few chances evoking old musicals--on one hand the classics help adds a nostalgic glow to his picture; on the other audiences might be too distracted by love for those films to look kindly on this one (see Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist and its use--some would say theft--of Bernard Hermann's score from Vertigo).

Chazelle does wear his movie love openly on his sleeve and to that extent his passion is hard to resist: this latest effort takes the storyline of Martin Scorsese's New York, New York (two artists Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) trying to succeed in a major American city), ornaments it with the bright colors and (towards the latter half) bittersweet tone of Umbrellas of Cherbourg, caps the story with a lengthy stylized dance number reprising the whole narrative, a la An American in Paris


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Best of 2016



Terrific films, terrible year

Can't include any horror films because to my mind the entire genre has been rendered not only unfrightening but totally redundant by the world's recent turn into fascism. Can't in good conscience include any film that deals directly with aforementioned recent events because 1) there aren't that many and 2) I suspect we need to digest what's happened for a few years before the proper level of disappointment and anger and artistry can be expressed. 


Monday, December 26, 2016

Rogue One (Garth Edwards, 2016)





The dirty half dozen

(Warning: story and plot twists discussed in explicit detail!

Gareth Edwards' one-off take on arguably the most successful movie franchise ever--good? Bad? Iredeemably ugly?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

It's a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)





It's a good life

(Warning--plot and narrative twists discussed in explicit detail)

I do think Frank Capra's best-known film is some kind of masterpiece. 


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hell or High Water (David Mckenzie)


Cops and robbers

David Mackenzie's Hell or High Water, from a script by Taylor Sheridan (Sicario) turns on a terrifically compelling premise: that brothers Toby and Tanner Howard (Chris Pine and Ben Foster respectively) are so financially threatened by the reverse mortgage loan lent them by a bank--the fictional Texas Midlands--for their recently deceased mother's treatment that they've taken to carefully robbing that same bank's smaller branches (teller's drawers only; no vaults, no bundles, no large bills) to repay the loan.


Thursday, December 08, 2016

Moana (Ron Clements, John Musker)

Aloha oe 

Moana, directed by Ron Clements and John Musker is Disney's latest attempt at politically correct culturally sensitive storytelling. The results I'd say are better than anything the studio has ever done before, which if you know my history regarding all things Disney is saying something.


Thursday, December 01, 2016

Martial Law Movies

 

Martial Law Movies

Rodrigo Duterte on former president Ferdinand Marcos (italics mine): "President Marcos was a president for so long and he was a soldier. So that’s about it. Whether or not he performed worse or better, there is no study, there is no movie about it. It’s just the challenges and allegations of the other side which [are] not enough"

Well then!

For studies let me recommend a few titles: Ferdinand Marcos and the Philippines by Albert F. Celoza; The Marcos Dynasty by Sterling Seagrave; and The Conjugal Dictatorship, by Primitivo Mijares, who worked for Marcos, turned against him, disappeared shortly after the book was published. 

In literature there's Lualhati Bautista's Dekada '70; Emmanuel Lacaba's Salvaged Prose and Salvaged Poems; and Ninotchka Rosca's State of War.

And more, much more; I'm only citing titles I'm familiar with.

As for movies--in ascending order, my incomplete unobjective totally off-the-cuff list of titles that do in fact deal with the Martial Law Era.