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Showing posts from June, 2012

"Brave" IS brave, but leaves the significant tear unattended

Andrew O’Hehir at Salonhas suggested that Brave, however feminist, doesn’t really undermine patriarchy – the daughter weaves a spell of command and rhetoric to sway them to her side, but ultimately it’s to the men to determine when sharp changes to tradition can be undertaken.  But the whole (or almost the whole – see below) of what Brave does is show only women as capable of the maturity, the majesty to see what the realm needs to survive; the men, are twits, practically always ready to hack at one-another over the smallest slight.  The men, that is, though they can supply buffoonish charms, are mostly a drink-fest and a random melee waiting to happen:  does the movie really supply any doubt as to who maneuvered these realm-saving “patriarchal” traditions into place in the first place?  Andrew’s former peer at Salon, Stephanie Zacharek, has argued that Brave is closer to Ratatouille and The Incredibles than to Wall-E and Up; and with its preference to show ordinary folk as affliction…

"More cuts, please!": Current films and our self-torture

More Cuts, Please:Current Films and Our Self-Torture Patrick Hallstein / McEvoy-Halston2012
If you’re like me and you’re beginning to notice a lot of evil being passed off as innocuous, just a joke, or even as good, and you’re wondering why this has become so widespread, why people are doing the opposite of the holy crusader and enterprising ways totarget, to demean the precariously placed, let me tell you what this is all about.  Most people are not comfortable when too much of the good life has been made available to them.  All the great things they’re hugging to themselves has them feeling they’re worthy of disownment, of catastrophic punishment, as this was the crippling experience they were made to feel when they first as children started attending more to their own needs than the unmet ones of their mothers.  The superego, set up as a child to protect him from reviving this intolerable experience, by dissuading him from having too much fun in life, takes over and comes up with a s…

Review: "That's My Boy"

Adam Sandler deserves credit for being angry that a culture he grew up knowing pleasures from, has essentially been demarcated subsequently as something you can only bring up with shame.  The really quite wonderful Grosse Pointe Blank is, however, an indication of this unfair pattern – the 80s were Reagan and aids, a time to get trapped in.  Well, in truth, so it was – it was a period where society seemed mostly interested in abandoning its dependents and building remove so to not hear their complaint (bang on, Risky Business and Breakfast Club).  The kinds of things we were offered to take pleasure from showed what growing up in that decade did to our preferences – I’m sorry, but though Vanilla Ice, Mustang 5.0s, gloomy uterine strip clubs did please for seeming to grant us access to black culture, powerhouse prowess, the illicit, something is off with you in retrospect if you can’t see that the main reason to now stand up for them is because they once meant something to kids.   The …

Thoughts on "Prometheus"

1)  "Prometheus" succeeds in showing us that whatever the ultimate secrets of the universe might be, they're going to have to be really something to not instinctively seem less rousing than when a spirited human being is roused into action out of fidelity to a felt truth that she is part of something worthwhile and good in this world.  The android draws wonder from two things in the movie -- the aliens' cosmological map, evidence of their distilled, focused interest in us; and the anthropologist's surprising resiliance.  I did find the light show appealing, but when we realize the star men are considerably less possessed of life than the android is -- that they're really just battle robots, further evolution of the android looks to involve his drawing wonder that the young woman hasn't shorn herself of needing to find something outside of herself for authority and inspiration.  "It speaks for you that you want to see greatness in everyone around you,…

"Friends with Kids" is about the "with kids" part

Maria Aspan has written an article praising “Friends with Kids,” and I would feel inclined to do the same if I felt the film began to open up for new explorations what had felt foreclosed in pattern.  But I tend to find that in many films that tip the hat to your preferences, you’ll relax enough in them to want to praise them for the new they’ve shown you, the possibilities, considerations, they’ve lived out for you.  “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” if, like the central characters, you’re comfortably mainstream, uninterested in having the intellectual edge on anyone and more just participating in the -- to you -- exciting trends/new truths manifesting now, does have the material to have you thanking it for what it did right too, for it fleshing out in a compelling fashion a whole variety of ways expecting a child affects you and your partner.  But if the mainstream is loathsome to you, the film becomes simply garbage; no true explorations, just extensions into drudgery.  Mysel…

Review: What to Expect When You're Expecting

Alison Willmore, in her review of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” aired her humble request to Hollywood that when it makes a film which features a young, precariously situated couple, with no obvious love-bond yet who have conceived a child, that it at least –- then -- bring up the possibility of abortion.  Certainly seems reasonable, except since by expecting the film leads us to think of the late-term child rather than onset protoplasm, I thought the request actually out of place here.  Yet I appreciate the attack in any case, for the film, if not as bad as critics have taken it as, is vile, very much advocating Willmore’s other concern with the film, that you haven’t known human fulfillment until you’ve had a kid.  You could be an Adonis, and be a rival -- for a moment.  But as the film shows with the comparison of Chris Rock’s character, Vic, leader of the men with babies for being amply besot with them, against Davis, a single man of exceptional endowment -- muscles, good …

Take the kids to "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

Alison Willmore, in her  review of "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," argues that the film "is a precision instrument aimed directly at the heart of its intended underserved older audience," and one wonders if even if its intention was to serve only them, if the reality is that it could and should serve a swath more.  The film, like the Harry Potter series, features both young and old, with key storylines for both, only with "Hotel" the focus is on the latter rather than the former.  But one could never say of "Harry Potter" that it's principally for the young, that it serves its intended audience well -- and only them -- without expecting reproach for this being obvious nonsense, that "Harry" is, rather, clearly universal, with appeal to anyone who hasn't lost all touch with life.  In fact, if you were to say that the films / books were only for the 7 to 12 set (or, as they move along, the adolescent), and that adults enjoying them…

Making "The Avengers" -- Men Only

Recently, Andrew O'Hehir had this to say concerning The Avengers and its (ostensibly) all-male demographic: I don't think I'm breaking any news if I tell you that "The Avengers," Joss Whedon's ensemble action-adventure that unites an entire posse of Marvel Comics superhoes, will be far and away this weekend's No. ! film at the box office. [. . .] Or that a large majority of those ticket buyers will be teenage boys and young men.  Like most summer "tentpole" productions -- those designed to support franchises, and ensure the financial future of major studioes -- "The Avengers" is aimed squarely at guys under 35, long the demographic, psychological and economic bulwark of the movie industry.   All this is standard operating procedure in 21st-century Hollywood, where the industry is dominated by post-boomer males reared on the comic books, TV shows and blockbuster movies of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, and the audience is understood in almost P…