Our collective aversion to artificiality even when it is necessary for survival. Corporeal impulses and senses are resolute, determined by the natural world while cognitive processes can deceive due to our mind's malleability - social expectations, the status quo, etc. Humanity's proclivity towards rejecting change resides in part to our inability to listen and adjust to our material reality. Our collective narcissism a detriment in itself to survival. Perhaps this is one of Cronenberg's more explicit works thematically, but it's wonderfully realized with some solid subtextual ruminations on celebrity, art, and how we cling to old ways of understanding instead of embracing transhumanism. Unsurprisingly, the world Cronenberg creates is so textured and evocative, projecting a cold decaying world that refuses to adapt to the material conditions it faces and created due to this perceived dissonance between the body and the mind.
Well cast and performed, everyone gives this sprawling ensemble drama their all. Kosinski truly is an effective stylist, his directorial sensibilities pronounce his potential as an industrial filmmaker and one who I could see helping revitalize the Adventure film, a once-prominent genre deployed by Hollywood that has been languishing in recent years. Other people have stated it but he basically does outdo Berg in this ode to heroism and traditional masculinity. Only the Brave just feels too steeped in Machoism and the precept that toughness-infused masculinity is essential to living a good, moral life. I guess that's likely always the rub with these types of films - traditional masculine hegemony when it comes of roles, norms, expectations of living. Pretty damn good dramatically though due to the formidable direction and performances.
In the Line of Duty 3 exhibits an unwavering proclivity for flamboyance and panache in nearly everything it does. Everything about this film is cranked up to eleven; The melodrama! - The Duo Robbers, an antagonist couple who like to play rough in the bedroom and out. One of them is dying from cancer and In The Line of Duty 3 milks this for all its worth to imbue their quest with an overindulgent romanticism that I was here for. Everything is amplified - the pronounced speed-ramping and general brutality of the action sequences put a primary emphasis on motion and visceral bloodshed. Cynthia Khan's B-story is largely just a distraction from the film's cop vs. criminal narrative thrust, and one of the least interesting aspects of this film that just weights it down. In the Line of Duty only knows one gear outside of this distraction and it moves vigor otherwise.. While I can't say this is a better film than either Royal Warriors or Yes, Madam, in the Line of Duty 3 is still imbued with a kineticism in everything it does, featuring a bevy of memorable action sequences that got me starting to consider that In the Line of Duty may be one of the more underrated cop action franchises around.
The serpentine entrenchments grafted onto identity and notions of self by technology; The false promises of accessibility and the corrosive effects such excess can place on the ego. The entrapments and oppression of the information age, one in which our flesh and consciousness are constantly prodded and purveyed through our overly connected world in which there is no escape. Videophobia draws from the technophobia common in J-Horror to deliver a quietly penetrating study of alienation and the inescapable nature of modernity. This is an immersive exhibition of alienation in the modern world, one in which the grand edifices of technology - the pervasive screens that inhabit every aspect of our life from cell phones, to laptops - can create a new form of emotional and physical confinement, depersonalization through overabundance. Patriarchal norms and gender imbalances/injustices are profiled as this woman loses control quite literally of her own image yet the film also seems intent on reaching beyond notions of gender or even material concerns, striving to encompass the loss of self in the milieu of modernity. Through the film's high-contrast black and white imagery, Videophobia provides an expressive lens in which the cold, mechanical present of modern-day Tokyo, a spatiality of glass, concrete, and steel, perfectly coalesces with he metaphysical journey in which the loss of control over one's own image leads to the distortion of self. Not so much a film about the artificiality of video connection but of the omnipresence of this system and its expansiveness (the internet) in which there is no control
Anaïs in Love is imbued with such kineticism and frantic movement, deploying a cinematic grammar defined by perpetual motion that beautifully elucidates the impulsivity of affect and the anarchy intrinsic to living. Love and affection are not forces that conform to socially defined structure or order, they are often impulsive, unquantifiable, and incalculable, and what transpires with Anais in Love is a distortion of coming of age narrative and thematic motifs that are ultimately obfuscated in the film's wonderful denouement. With a stellar lead performance by Anaïs Demoustier and a characterization rooted in vibrancy and impulsivity unquestionably viewed as immature by normative social expectations. Anaïs in Love embraces the fundamental truth that control and order is a fabrication, living is by definition unpredictable, and despite specific economic or political systems constructed by humanity, the primal impulse remains unrestrained. Anais is simply a character living in the moment, seizing life in a way which has been made impossible due to economic and political systems that rely on social strictures. There is nothing nihilist or cynical about this perspective, quite the opposite - this acknowledgment of our lack of control is freeing, and Anais In Love in its denouement exhibits the importance of affect, with our feelings being conjured from a source beyond conscious understanding, we as being are awash in a sea of social constructed codes and ideas of living, and sometimes... all you need is love ;)
Paris, 13th District is very french, very horny, and there are aspects of this film that simply don't work but it ultimately placates its more obnoxious pretensions through its exhibition of the pervasive ways in which technology influences the social arena. Paris, 13th District is ultimately a rumination of modern urban living in which the everyday absurdities and confusions of life ultimately make these characters deeply empathetic and relatable despite their proclivities towards self-satisfaction above all else. What makes this film work quite well for me, in the end, is the film's exhibition of the invasiveness of technology, as these characters are largely individuals who've seen their consciousness distorted and rearranged by new technology (dating apps, connectivity of social media, etc) in a way that blinds them from their true desires. I don't think this film always works, and as I mentioned there are good and bad elements to this film in terms of narrative circumstances it unfurls to invoke its thematic intent, but I ultimately was won over by the film's examination of the impact of technological progress, how it distorts and rearranges aspects of social life (dating/courtship) but ultimately something as primordial as love cannot be rearranged/reconfigured by human invention (technology).
The pre-title sequence of this film is the definition of low-art. Kathy Ireland deserves an Oscar for doing this voice for 87 minutes - I'm sure a lot of ADR was involved. Vinegar Syndrome releasing this in High Definition really accentuates the ingenuity and visual flair Albert Pyun managed on such shoestring budgets - the production design and lighting in particular slaps and I found myself awestruck at the economical panache on display, which I guess to be fair appears to be a trademark of Pyun (I still have plenty to see). Narratively speaking the film really has almost no sense of pacing at all, it isn't amorphous but it just kind of moves to its own rhythms fixated on this strange kaleidoscope of vibrancy above all else. I kind of have no idea what the fuck I watched, but I like how Alien From L.A. in its denouement is ultimately a story of being non-judgmental towards those different, embracing heterodox views, and just going with the flow in order to be comfortable and confident with oneself and others. Also, I would imagine this is a solid movie to watch while inebriated on psychedelics.
I personally love how Geeta Bali weaponizes the male gaze to awaken the Crown Prince of Malabar from his privileged life of ignorance and negligence to see the subjugation inflicted on his people by the Portuguese occupation. She of course then catches feelings and a sweeping romance ultimately rests at the fulcrum of this story but it's quite a strong portrayal of feminity associated with strength and an unwavering spirit regardless. I mean, "The Falcon" is a pretty badass nickname after all. A swashbuckling romance and story of rebellion against Portuguese colonialism that features some wonderfully constructed imagery, exquisite use of lighting, and clinical use of camera movement - all of which seem to very much be staples of Dutt and cinematographer V.K. Murthy accomplished visual language - At least of the 3 films of theirs I've seen lol. There is just an astute understanding of when to move the camera to pronounce the underlying emotions when to invoke expressionist lighting, and the mise-en-scene is impressively realized even in the small spaces of a sea vessel. Out of the gate, this film is abrupt in its characterization of the Portuguese as vile, mean-spirited conquistadors who view the Indian people as nothing but lesser objects to be extorted and exploited for their own gain. This of course just makes it so much more enjoyable when "The Falcon" rallies her people and the prince through their shared love to revolt and agitate the Portuguese by hitting them at the apex of their power - the high seas.
Nordic mythology infused with maximalist brutalism in which there is no intention of doing anything outside of exhibiting that barbarism and immorality of a time in which living was nothing more than primalism. I really appreciate how assured Eggers is in bringing this barbaric time in history to life that reduces humankind to its most animalistic tendencies. The Northman is unapologetically gnarly, brutalist, and uncompromising in its depiction of this time, portraying the Nordic history and their belief systems in a way that feels almost completely detached from modernity, almost alien and unrelatable to the viewer outside of deeply primal impulses. Unsure if it is the film's intent but Eggers seems to view this as nothing more than a wild ride detached from drawing any parallels with modern times. While this film doesn't have much to say thematically - any attempt to assert a critique of the perpetual nature of vengeance and the masculine ethos' propensity for action over introspection feels like a reach - The Northman is effective at telling a story in which there are no good guys or bad guys, in an epoch defined by nothing but impulse and unwavering beliefs. Ultimately, the way Eggers interweaves mysticism through surrealism with histrionic savagery is quite effective, and I had a lot of fun here so who cares if the film doesn't have much to say otherwise because it sure is one heck of a ride and I can always appreciate such an uncompromising vision.
The formal style of this film is so kinetic. Everything about Dreadnaught from the malleable tone to the fight choreography is so inventive and alive. Operates across multitudes of expressivity in which the comedic hijinks and life and death stakes of this story never feel at odds. It feels dangerous yet playful and consistently full of dynamism in everything it does. Far from an expert but Wong Jing's hijinks have never felt so properly balanced and deployed in a way that just works on every level. An absolute blast featuring a formal style that even invokes spaghetti westerns and Giallo sensibilities along the way, ultimately delivering unadulterated kineticism that rarely lets up. Also, the Dragon fight was incredible (not sure what the proper term is for that so I apologize for my ignorance lol)
Love of all things cinema brought me here.