Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and storytelling in the ruptured now

By eliminating the question of 'how' when providing the audience with an image, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle exists in permanent shorthand, caricaturing the borderless access that narrative agents are given within the genre, to appear outside the confines of narrative sense (cause and effect), to exist outside of time and space. McG plays these contextless but irrefutable… Continue reading Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and storytelling in the ruptured now

Saulnier lets go in Hold the Dark

What in its opening stretch seems like an insular, anti-naturalistic approach to dialogue and line-delivery (having Hold the Dark make sense only within Hold the Dark) soon reveals itself as artistic crudeness, something thwarted on the way to enigma. Its hand is faux-terse, anxious- the film struggles a great deal in and around its grim surface, and while… Continue reading Saulnier lets go in Hold the Dark

Frozen in time, the sun starts to set: the breezy fin de siècle of The Spy Who Shagged Me

Austin Powers as a disposable gag (making ludicrous the insidious 'charm' of golden era Bond) inadvertently entered the pop cultural landscape of 1997 appearing to channel as much as deride the 'new dawn' of British optimism. What Myers thought was safely of the past was in reality being grasped for by a fervent now-time ready… Continue reading Frozen in time, the sun starts to set: the breezy fin de siècle of The Spy Who Shagged Me

Affection, dysfunctional power, and breaking the cycle of violence in Return of the Jedi

A freak show, and then a shitshow, Return of the Jedi is unstable and proud of it. It is easy to see a kind of stoned sacrilege throughout the film as it breaks imaginary promises with its audience and indulges the series' worst impulses, but in spite of this it feels delirious instead of strictly contrary. The sincerity of its craft is in that it desperately wants to give everything it can- revelations, closure, but also new images, new avenues- and so it blunders and drags through its competing desire to move and entertain.

Emotional distance in The Empire Strikes Back’s emotional core

Empire's perspective rejects the propulsion of A New Hope: like turning up unannounced at a friend's workplace only to find that it is really busy, it is concerned about the action but unable to generate an affective perspective toward it. (Concerned about rather than concerned with). It is diligent enough to observe the film's many instances of failure, but (this is where the analogy ends) can't summon enthusiasm for the way this information is relayed because it already knows how things are going to play out.

Growing up as psychological horror (not psychological horror as growing up) in Eighth Grade

Whatever Burnham's investment in our contemporary moral panic as some distinct historical moment of for-real-this-time fear over the hearts and minds of our young*, he neatly deals with perceptible manifestations of 'the time' as they're navigated by intergenerational, maybe universal anxieties. Which is a nice way of walking the tightrope between curiosity/condescension and empathy, even if the weight of its empathy's all in cringe.

By the book (except it’s not): Oplev makes a clean, apolitical murder mystery out of Larsson’s bloated but politically fierce text

Has a national history's (seemingly) thwarted fascist dreams expressed through its frustrated leftovers, and official process as the dehumanised maintenance of gendered violence, but does less to emphasise the sprawling sense of the same. Maybe because this is all obvious to Oplev, but the 2011 one gets to the roots of the Vanger family tree and doesn't lose focus of the national parallel: the same spirit that 'built modern Sweden' dreamt fascist Sweden and was always insidious enough to front as democratic. (The later film's blood's also thicker, blacker, stickier).