Author: Thomas Ricard
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD… 2016 sure was a year full of unpleasant surprises, huh? If you recall our December box-office predictions, I along with four of my fellow Agony Booth film reviewers predicted that Passengers...
History time, kids! Once upon a time, in a magical land of wealth and opportunity commonly known as the US of A lived a humble country lawyer named Huey P. Long. The nation had just emerged as one of the victors of a bloody World War and was going through an exciting period of technological progress and prosperity, blissfully unaware of the looming Wall Street crash and the ensuing Great Depression.
The prospect of watching Rogue One—apparently the very first Star Wars film without any Jedi or Force-sensitives among its main characters—becomes all the more exciting. How will the protagonists solve their problems without the help of Force powers? More importantly, how could the absence of any Jedi in a Star Wars film affect the series’ good-versus-evil narrative?
Breaking all rules of political etiquette, a candidate starts behaving outrageously, offending sensibilities with outlandish racially-tinged comments and unhinged acts of buffoonery. Sounds familiar, right? Except the year is not 2015 or 2016 but 1996, and the man in question is a fictional liberal Democrat named Jay Billington Bulworth.
Like all things, Hollywood has capitalized on our awareness of the prevalence of tropes, clichés, and recurring storytelling patterns by flattering our built-in cynicism and congratulating us for being so clever. For better and for worse, irreverence is now cool.
Regardless of any personal misgivings I may have with Disney’s remake enterprise, even the worst ideas can be turned into good movies. So in the unlikely event that Jon Favreau may be reading this, here are five steps I would recommend him to take to make his Lion King roar.
It may not be one of the best film posters ever designed, but there’s no denying its eloquence: Surrounded by green leaves and thick roots, a severed human hand lies on the ground. In the grip of its bloody fingers, an iPhone displays Twitter’s latest trends: #JungleGate, #ACTnowUN, #SocialJusticeForAll, #NativeLivesMatter, and #IndigenousLivesMatter…
It’s an experience I’m sure we’re all familiar with. It’s the middle of the night and you’ve just snuck out of your room for a quick snack. Everyone else is asleep, so you move carefully so as not to wake anyone up—yet every step you take is done in quick tippy-toe sprints, just so you don’t have to stay in the dark too long…
“The film succeeds not because it deconstructs or challenges the base assumptions about sex and masculinity that most such comedies take for granted—in fact, it does neither of those things—but because it understands where they come from.”
“Instead of being a stage for interpersonal conflict and contrasting approaches to problem-solving, the inhospitable setting becomes a kind of all-powerful God dictating the conditions and restrictions of both story and shooting.”
Tom Hiddleston stars in the long-delayed adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s darkly comical class warfare allegory in which a tower block’s problems with power failures, nocturnal disturbances, and petty neighbor disputes escalate into all-out tribal warfare.
“It’s an enrapturing, pulse-pounding film that elevates trashy, sensationalistic material to an artistic expression of primal sensuality. It’s also one of the most nakedly transphobic films ever made.”
“Under the guise of a genre meant to make people question power, these movies only offer a shallow illusion of doing so.”
“The Delta Force is so brazen in its jingoism, so earnest in its desire to entertain, and so unencumbered by aesthetic taste or good judgment that you can’t help but admire it.”