In the Hungarian film White God, young Lili’s (Zsofia Psotta) mixed-breed dog Hagen (Body and Luke) is abandoned by her overbearing father (Sandor Zsoter) and left for dead. Now a stray, Hagen wanders the streets fruitlessly searching for his owner, only to find himself among a group of other strays who run about the city avoiding the human world that has rejected them.
Large swathes of the first half of this film show Hagen walking through heavy-trafficked streets, moving in and out of the hands of various dog-hating lowlifes. At times, minutes go by without Continue reading White God (2014) Movie Review
Straight Outta Compton is a biopic centering around legendary rap group N.W.A. The film chronicles the rise of artists Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), and Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) from the unforgiving streets of Compton, California to super stardom as hip-hop pioneers. All the while, bitter racial tensions flood the streets and the nation as the characters encounter multiple run-ins with police and follow the Rodney King trial on television.
Director F. Gary Gray and writers Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff use this biopic as a platform to engage in topical social commentary. The tension in the film between police and African Americans takes Continue reading Straight Outta Compton (2015) Movie Review
In The Gift, married couple Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) move back into Simon’s California hometown after the unexpected loss of their unborn child. The first snaking shots of their new house are an immediate sign of their status. Simon is successful at a well-paying job and is on the verge of a promotion. Robyn is happy doing freelance work from home. Seemingly, life in the pair’s little world is picturesque.
Then there’s Gordo (Joel Edgerton). At first, we only see him from a distance, curiously looking in on the couple as they are shopping, just behind Simon’s shoulder. Eventually he approaches Simon, saying that Continue reading The Gift (2015) Movie Review
Billy “The Great” Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a mumbling undefeated light heavyweight boxing champion. Adopted into the world of boxing from a life of juvenile delinquency and living in an orphanage, fighting is his sole catharsis for his aggression. He hits hard and moves recklessly in the ring, refusing even to block a punch. He lumbers around, spitting blood and screaming intimidating exclamations. His career is one of pride and success, and he is well on the way to becoming one of the best in the sport.
Then, everything goes south. You can sense it in the Continue reading Southpaw (2015) Movie Review
Faults begins with a cold open in a diner, where Ansel Roth (Leland Orser), a washed up expert on de-programming former cult members, is furiously eating a meal that he is unable to pay for. After a sparsely attended seminar in a hotel, a couple approaches Ansel about their daughter Claire’s (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) involvement in a cult called Faults. Ansel, struggling with financial problems, agrees to kidnap Claire in order to counteract the brainwashing Faults has placed on her.
Claire responds to her kidnapping in a partly normal, partly eccentric way. She doesn’t sleep, opting instead to stare at a television set of static through the first night of her capture. She holds back threats of Continue reading Faults (2014) Movie Review
We’re about half-way through 2015 and, as such, have been presented with plenty of films. Early-year diamonds in the rough and breakout summer blockbusters have surfaced. Here are my favorite movies of 2015 as of June 21 (in order of their respective release dates).
Continue reading The Best of 2015 in Movies (So Far)
Caution: Minor Plot Spoilers Ahead.
Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible is not easy to watch. Midway through the film, the camera remains a static, unflinching observer to Monica Bellucci’s Alex as she is violently raped in a stark blood-red tunnel by a stranger (Jo Prestia). The camera, and thus the viewer by proxy, is a voyeur, a peeping tom viewing the proceedings of the night with cold nihilism.
Viewing the film in this way, it is understandable why someone could Continue reading Irreversible (2002) Movie Review