Skip to main content

Posts

Ari Aster's Midsommar (2019) Movie Review: Grief, Loss, and the Importance of Community

This review has two parts: the first part is a spoiler-free summary and review. A clearly marked asterisk row is followed by an analysis with spoilers.

Although Ari Aster's film Midsommar has received tons of buzz and hype as the must-see horror film of Summer 2019, what audiences may not realize is that underneath all the disturbing imagery and creepy vibes, this film has true things to say about grief, loss and the importance of community in healing after trauma.

Dani (Florence Pugh, Lady MacBeth) is the lone survivor of her nuclear family. She carries her tenable grief like a constant companion. Oh sure, she tries to be chipper and "cool" around her boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor, Glassland), and his friends, Mark, Josh, and Pelle. But she craves support and understanding. She mourns alone. No one really seems to understand what she is going through.

Perhaps a trip out of town will be just the thing, so she accepts the half-hearted invitation to accompany Christia…
Recent posts

Episode 3 Ghosts Revisiting the Past of Winden in Netflix Dark Season 2

Dark is one of the best Netflix original series to date. To see a description of the show and all of my episode recaps, go here.

Episode 3 Ghosts
In episode 1, we viewed the extremes of Winden's history, at the edges, in the early past and the furthest future. In this episode, Claudia and Egon are on the hunt for information, while Helge and Ulrich continue to be pawns in the game. And Noah, who we considered the true villain may also be a pawn against his will. 

I break the events down into the different time periods, but during the episode, all the time periods are interwoven together in a way that is juxtaposes the events together. 

In 2053 - No storylines are explored in this time period. 

In 2020 - The 1980s Claudia time travels for the first time into the future and sees her daughter, Regina, sick, wearing her headscarf. Her emotions overwhelm her because she realizes she has been neglecting her daughter all this time. Her older self has told her that her time is limited. Is it h…

Episode 2 Dark Matter Starts Jonas on His Path in Netflix Dark Season 2

Dark is one of the best Netflix original series to date. To see a description of the show and all of my episode recaps, go here.

Episode 2 Dark Matter

In 2053, Jonas desperately wants to enter the blue/black pulsing blob because it appears to be a time portal. However, he lacks the power to keep the blob stabilized enough that it won't kill him upon contact. In order to get more fuel to power the machinery, Jonas will need to enter the "dead zone," only it's forbidden by the the current presiding figure, who we assume to be Elizabeth because she is deaf and using sign language to communicate.

Although he's caught on the way back, he is able to get the fuel he needs, although he's not unscathed and gains new scars. Jonas enters the particle, and we are curious about where he ends up. The guard from the future (as she's credited in the show notes) was visibly moved by both Jonas' pain and his situation. I was curious as to what her connection to Jonas …

Episode 1 Beginnings and Endings Kicks off Netflix Dark Season 2

Dark is one of the best Netflix original series to date. To see a description of the show and all of my episode recaps, go here.

Episode 1 Beginnings and Endings

Once again Dark starts in the middle of a storyline, and we are forced to fight to keep up. We open in 1921, with two men creating the gateway that will make all the dimension traveling possible. We see both the creation of the tunnel and the genesis of Noah as a prophet who is emboldened to do bidding to fulfill a prophecy of some kind.

In 2053, we see all of Winden leveled by some kind of apocalyptic event, obviously some kind of radiation. Most people died, although there were survivors. Jonas is living in his family home, despite the fact that it's trashed just like everything else. We see a calendar, marking down the days until the day of destruction happened. Jonas walks through all the buildings. It's work, but we can recognize the school, as well as the police station based on the remains. No one speaks, but J…

J.D. Dillard's Sleight (2016): An Empowering Origin Story Featuring a Person of Color

Shortly after Jordan Peele's Get Out came on screen and made waves for, among many things, its depiction of a smart and savvy hero of color, J.D. Dillard's Sleight hit theaters. This science fiction/superhero origin story mashup features Bo, a highly intelligent and loving young man, who makes money how he can to take care of his sister after the death of his mother. By day, he's a street magician who wows folks who pass by with card tricks and others sleights of hand. By night, he sells drugs to overeager millennials.

We see the secret to Bo's magic early on in the action, although we don't get the full picture until later in the movie. Suffice it to say there's a cost to his skills. Like Wolverine in the X-Men, every time he uses his powers, it hurts. Often we forget that being good at something often means sacrifice of some kind. As we learn about Bo and listen to him explain to his new girlfriend why he does it, we are even more intrigued by him as a perso…

Jim Jarmusch's The Dead Don't Die (2019): A Smart Zombie Meta Movie

Strange things are happening in the town of Centerville. A local man named Farmer Frank (wearing a hat that says "Make American White Again") angrily reports that his chickens are missing and that Bob, the local hermit, must be the culprit. The local sheriffs, Chief Cliff Robertson and Officer Ronnie Peterson, are on the case. They don't really think Bob is the guilty party. As the pair investigates the crime, the rest of the town is introduced through various scenes, and everyone has an opinion about what's really going on. As the town come to the realization that the problem is zombies, people choose to hide out, run away, or fight to the death. 
Although that's an accurate description of the plot of this movie, it doesn't quite capture the essence of the film. Don't go in expecting to find your typical zombie movie with heroic characters and "last man standing" scenario. The Dead Don't Die is a zombie film, and at the same time attempts …

Michael Dougherty's Godzilla King of the Monsters (2019) Has Some Amazing Moments

Michael Dougherty's Godzilla King of the Monsters has some amazing moments. Although the film is heavy on family drama, and light on kaiju action, there is enough fodder to merit a trip to the local movie theater.

My first experience in seeing a Godzilla movie, believe it or not, occurred in 2014, when I went to see Gareth Edward's Godzilla. Although I try my best to keep up with current movies, monster movies never really captured my attention. My experience in 2014 was enough to change my mind. I went to see that film several times. The revelation that Godzilla was not the bad guy amazed me. I assumed that these films would play out like a King Kong flick, with everyone basically trying to kill them, with a few dissenters. Nope, the science community and military are glad to receive Godzilla's help when they need it, and then bid him adieu. It didn't take long for me to draw a connection between Godzilla and the Seven Samurai in that way.

This iteration of the radio…