For Almost Human, there is no collapse of humanity followed by attempts to rebuild: this is a look right into the whirling eye of humanity at its worst.
Irritatingly, I find myself deeply enjoying yet another police drama. This whole thing is starting to make me highly suspicious about my supposedly anti-establishment leanings—perhaps pop culture is succeeding too well at indoctrinating me with a love of the police force. Either that, or it dedicates more resources to making police dramas excellent than it does to other programmes, with the exception of the endless reality television splooging about all over US television screens.
Ultimately, Gravity is made for where the money’s at, and that money is no longer stateside.
The planets have realigned and America is no longer at the center of the Hollywood universe. Imaginative outsiders are heading west to mine California gold, and in true Invasion of the Body Snatchers style, foreigners now pull the artistic strings inside the behemoth studio system. Take for example that feat of spectacular special effects and cinematography prowess known as Gravity, an Avatar-rivaling blockbuster helmed by the Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, which draws a line in the sand, giving us a glimpse into what the future marriage of art and commerce will look like.
I never thought I’d actually say this, but: well done, Mr. Moffat.
For the first time in Steven Moffat’s run on Doctor Who, I found myself actually enjoying one of his episodes, even if it was marked by his usual tendency to radically rewrite history, canon, and everything else. In this case, that rewriting was very deliberately undertaken, and rather brilliantly done: the whole point was the complete restructuring of everything we know about the Doctor.
Needless to say, my dear, spoilers lie ahead.
Ahead of the New York revival of The Assassination of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford to be shown at The Museum of the Moving Image on December 7th, Mark Farnsworth pays tribute to a masterpiece of modern cinema.
The Western is violence. The Western is death. “Death is the predominant element of the westerner’s world view, death of a certain kind, that is, death understood in a certain way,” states Peter A. French. What kind of death does the westerner seek? Which Homeric end could claim his life? The heroic showdown, the bloody last stand, or the ignominy of being gunned down like a dog in the street?
TV comedy has a woman problem.
TV comedy has a woman problem. The representation of women in comedy in general is depressingly low, and it’s especially obvious on television, where most of the faces people see on screen are not only male, but white. In 2010, women’s site Jezebel called out The Daily Show for the lack of women on screen and in the writer’s room, arguing that while the show was progressive, groundbreaking, and hilarious in many ways, ultimately, the lack of women was a noticeable and profound slap in the face. The show’s female staffers responded publicly, but their response didn’t address the larger issue: why were so few of the show’s correspondents women?
Reign delivers dancing, frocks, and the glittering French court in spades.
The CW has jumped on the historical drama train with Reign, a highly fictionalised look at the early years of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots during her years at the French court. With three episodes under its belt, the series is already establishing itself as wildly historically inaccurate, yet strangely entertaining, in the sort of way that compels you to sneakily catch up when you realise there’s a new episode up.
Dracula appears to have embraced the spaghetti pot of television writing: namely, throwing it all against the wall and seeing what sticks.
Last week brought us the premiere of NBC’s Dracula, in which the title character arrives in 19th century London under the guise of an American industrialist, but if you’re expecting a scintillating commentary on the evils of early capitalism, think again. Actually, if you’re expecting anything even vaguely logical, you may want to think again, as Dracula appears to have embraced the spaghetti pot of television writing: namely, throwing it all against the wall and seeing what sticks.
Simply put, Katell Quillevere’s “Suzanne” is mesmerising filmmaking.
Have you ever imagined just how powerful your name is? Both with and without it you are everything and nothing. It can mask and reveal as much about your parents as it can about your own soul. Changed by friends, marriage or deed poll you have a symbiotic relationship with the letters that form the DNA of your existence. Only a parent truly relinquishes their given name, most do willingly, some do reluctantly but when a child no longer recognises you as mum or dad, when they revert to using the name of your own childhood, then you are submerged deep inside your own existential crisis.
When young women go through horrific things, and then come out the other side and speak of these things, it ought not to be refigured as salacious gossip, or confession narratives, or something to be judged.
It is not news that the way celebrity culture treats young female celebrities (and older female celebrities, for that matter) is icky. There is the constant hounding of singers and models trying to go about their grocery shopping. There are vicious rumours. There is the excessive and depersonalising adoration of the sweet young innocents – until they misstep, and then the celebrity gossip machine gorges itself upon the fall. I am given to think that sometimes the particular adoration of pre-fall female celebrities is set up in order to make their downfalls – however minor or major – seem all the more shocking and tragic. What’s really striking is the contrast between how celebrity culture deals with the “good girl gone bad” moments upon which it seizes as opposed to the real shocks, the real tragedies.
Schwarz gives us a glimpse through a looking glass filled with contradiction, frustration and ultimately death.
Mere miles from El Paso, Texas, one of the safest cities in America, lies Ciudad Juárez, ground zero for the drug war – only conventional wars have rules of engagement. The battle raging within our neighbor to the south is something far more disturbing since Juárez is at heart a no man’s land, where rhyme and reason do not exist. Enter veteran photojournalist Shaul Schwarz. With honest artifice-free filmmaking and gorgeous lush cinematography – that allows us to viscerally experience the surreal nature of life on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border – the Israeli director has created a debut feature equal parts elegant and eye-opening. Shifting from the tale of a hugely popular, Los Angeles-based musician whose “narcocorridos” celebrate the drug lord lifestyle, to a Mexican crime scene investigator who puts his life on the line everyday sifting through the chaos, Schwarz gives us a glimpse through a looking glass filled with contradiction, frustration and ultimately death. After having played to great acclaim at this year’s Sundance and Berlin film festivals, “Narco Cultura” opens in NYC in November with a national rollout to follow.
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