“My Cousin Rachel” – a Period Romantic Mystery with Gorgeous Visuals

Roger Michell’s adaptation of the Daphne du Maurier novel My Cousin Rachel peddles in interesting camera work, astonishing visuals, and solid performances, but lacks a thorough command of tone.  The film feels obsessed with the ambiguity of its central romantic mystery, while at the same time laying on the cinematic clues with an unbelievably heavy hand.  There’s fascinating technique in the expression of the mystery and the characters involved in it, but the execution misses often enough to infuse the film with an uneven mood.  This makes it hard to understand when to take the ambiguity seriously and when to embrace the apparent obviousness of it all.

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Fight for Your Dreams: “Your Name.” and the Winding Path to Now

Is there anything in life more enigmatic than the haphazard paths that lead us into the another’ arms?  Makoto Shinkai’s anime Your Name. (Kimi no na wa) explores these paths by way of a fantastical body-swap comedy.  But, there is a genuine seriousness at the heart of the film that coalesces romance, connectivity, memory, and identity into a cohesive story about time, space, and the hidden strings that surround us all.  Your Name. sports a lavish animation style, energetic soundtrack, and intelligent use of imagery and metaphor, all of which contribute to an absolutely breathtaking experience.   Shinkai’s film amazes constantly, and is right at home alongside other pinnacles of this oft-celebrated style.

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Park Chan-wook’s “The Handmaiden” Expresses Powerful Sexuality with Startling Style

Weird, exciting, and vibrant, Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is an erotic tour through a world of subjugation, trickery, and betrayal framed by a bizarre love triangle.  The story was inspired by the novel Fingersmith by Welsh writer Sarah Waters, with Park and his co-writer Chung Seo-kyung adjusting the setting from Victorian England to Japanese-occupied Korea during the 1930s.  The structure of the film is cyclical, re-telling the story three times from different viewpoints and revealing new truths with each telling.  There’s an unreliability to the narrative, as truth and facade alternate with each new perspective.  But ultimately, The Handmaiden has an fervent romanticism about it, as the heart of the story is about love, sexual exploration, and self-discovery – all with a tinge of deviancy.

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“Deadpool” is a Self-Conscious Masterpiece of the Comic Book Genre

So first off, sorry to everyone who reads this review. I wanted to make it worthy of the Deadpool movie, but I don’t think that is going to be a reasonable possibility. Regardless, I will press on and gush all over almost everything about this movie in that annoying way that over-excited movie critics do. Hopefully, by the time I am done you’ll be sufficiently bored with my analysis that you’ll go out and see the film for yourself and start annoying your own friends with how good Deadpool is. Circle of life.

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Saoirse Ronan Discovers Capacity for Joy in “Brooklyn”

Opportunity is pregnant with possibility, but that does not dissolve the hardship associated with exploring it. John Crowley’s period piece Brooklyn explores this conflict through the eyes of Eilis (Saoirse Ronan; pronounced Seer-sha) as she leaves her small Irish town to start a new life in 1950s Brooklyn. There, she deals with homesickness, depression, and the struggle of starting anew. And though her path towards flourishing in the New World is beset with obstacles, along the way she discovers a joy which is all her own.

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