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Showing posts from July, 2019

Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019): Whose Story Is It?

Quentin Tarantino is known for many things: foot fetishes, a love of spaghetti westerns, martial arts films, alternative histories, lengthy monologues, and copious amounts of over-the-top violence and bloodshed. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (or OUATIH, as everyone seems to be calling it) keeps many of these elements, but the violence and bloodshed are almost nonexistent. When it does enter the picture, it's that much more shocking because of its noticeable absence throughout most of the film.

Rick Dalton, a fictional character, (Leonardo DiCaprio) feels certain his career won't last much longer. His reputation has sunk due to the fact that he always plays the villains who get beat up. It doesn't help that he's also an alcoholic. He thinks his career has sunk to a new low when he is offered a chance to make Italian Westerns. His stunt double and best friend, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), drives him around and does odd jobs around the house since unfortunate circumstances h…

Riley Stearns' The Art of Self-Defense (2019) Movie Review: Do NOT Talk About Night Class

In 1999, David Fincher directed the book to movie Fight Club, a dark stylized comedy about a group of men who form a "support group" of sorts called Fight Club, where they pair up for no holds barred unarmed first fights with one another. Organized by the charismatic Tyler Durden, for a time, the meetings seem to be a good thing. Things start to spiral when the hero realizes Tyler is no good and must be stopped.

In many surface ways, The Art of Self-Defense is quite similar. Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) walks around like he is apologizing for taking up oxygen. He lives alone with his dog and works at a boring, thankless job as an accountant. One day, Jesse is attacked on the street by some unidentified motorcycle riders. He's hospitalized for his wounds and takes some times off work.

On a walk around town, he overhears a karate class and goes into observe. He feels intrigued and inspired by what he sees and decide to sign up for classes. He hopes that he can "become wha…

Episode 4 The Travelers Team Up 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 4 The Travelers
Although I break the events down into the different time periods, during the episode, all the time periods are interwoven together in a way that juxtaposes the events together.

Most of this episode occurs in the "present," which is the year 2020. Whereas much of Dark revolves around characters feeling alone and doing things as an individual, in this episode, we see characters forming alliances and trying to work together. It's a coming together, where people share what they know with others. There are two groups that form in 2020 -- the teens and the adults.

In 2053 - The guard who helped Jonas escape from his prison cell walks outside the room where the dark matter blob is contained, only to be confronted by adult Elisabeth. The guard wants to know what is the blob? Elisabeth signs to her: It's the devil. I was rea…

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…

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…