Spoiler alert: It’s hard to talk about this movie without revealing too much. For best results, see it before reading.
Is The Babadook a horror movie? Sort of. It’s certainly being billed as one: critic descriptions like “expertly unsettling” and “deeply disturbing” discouraged a few friends from seeing it with me recently. But calling the movie “horror” doesn’t seem quite right. The main characters are mother and son, giving The Babadook an obvious parent-centric interpretation, but what the premise turns out to be—what the horror actually is—is relatable enough to encompass what different viewers, parents or not, might bring to it. I think that’s why The Babadook doesn’t feel like a horror movie, exactly, to me. It’s so subjective and personal that how scary you find the movie may depend on how scary you find yourself.
Continue reading “‘The Babadook’ Is About a Monster That’s Here to Stay” »
Alan Turing’s incredible story of breaking the Nazi’s Enigma code remained a well-protected secret for decades. His story is one of great triumph and deep tragedy. However, Turing’s victimization and subsequent death by cyanide-laced apple has been sugarcoated in the latest retelling, The Imitation Game. Like Turing himself, this film has been neutered on its way to mass market as a way to make a less enlightened majority feel more comfortable about a truly dark chapter of global history.
Continue reading “Film Review: <i>The Imitation Game</i> Attempts Feel-Good Tragedy” »
“If you want to win the lottery you’ve got to make the money to buy a ticket.” It’s a phrase oft repeated by Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), the unblinking, laser-focused protagonist of Dan Gilroy’s Toronto International Film Festival hit Nightcrawler. Every generation a film comes along to reflect culture’s misplaced values or misunderstanding of where importance should lie. From Travis Bickle to Patrick Bateman, film audiences have regularly been introduced to characters that exist to exploit, intentionally or not, the holes in society. Regardless of their actions, often quite monstrous, these characters’ actions are championed as success stories.
Continue reading “Film Review: <i>Nightcrawler</i> is Capitalism: A Success Story” »
Spoiler alert: If you haven’t seen Interstellar, you probably shouldn’t read this.
Christopher Nolan’s movies don’t have characters as much as they have tour guides. He’s a director whose strengths don’t include storytelling, so he tends to use his characters to lead the audience through the backlots of outer space, Gotham City, someone’s brain, wherever. By having his protagonists keep up a constant, repeating chatter of the rules and blueprints of the architecture he’s created, Nolan tries to distract the audience from noticing that his sets are facades, revealed as hollow once you walk behind them. For some people, the three-walls-and-a-ceiling structures are grand and dazzling enough. The rest of us wish he’d built the back wall, too. Continue reading “‘Interstellar’ Has Most of Christopher Nolan’s Worst Habits and Few of His Best Ones” »