Category Archives: Reviews

Suicide Squad: The Class-Conscious Blockbuster Nobody Expected

suicidetop

Suicide Squad (2016) | Written and Directed by David Ayer | 123 min.

Spoilers ahead.

“On this Earth, every act is a political act.”
– Andrew Sullivan, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

In the post-9/11 era, superheroes have changed. They’ve always represented power, but the source of that power has shifted. In the early 2000s, Spider-Man struggled with the personal responsibility that came with his great power, and the X-Men struggled against a government that hated and feared them. In the mid-to-late 2000s, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer turned Batman into a representative of the Bush Administration—defending illegal extradition and wiretapping due to the clear and present danger of the Joker—and pitting Bruce Wayne, billionaire playboy socialite and son of privilege against Bane—a cynical proletarian revolutionary that mixes Occupy Wall Street with the Reign of Terror.

Continue reading

Posted in All Posts, Niel's Reviews | Leave a comment

Cody Clarke v ‘Batman v Superman’

batsuptop

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Directed by Zack Snyder
Written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer
182 min. (‘Ultimate Edition’)
151 min. (Theatrical)

Very mild spoilers ahead.

I had no interest in this movie until the bad reviews started rolling in, and rolling in hard. My favorite Batman movie has an 11% on Rotten Tomatoes, so a new one sitting comfortably at 27% with critics seemed like it could be way up my alley.

But then, audiences started digging it. (To date, it currently sits at 65% with them.) And that didn’t bode well. ‘Divisive’ is not what I look for in a superhero movie—‘universally-panned’ is. This formula doesn’t always work out—Catwoman really is that bad—but it has lead me to some gems, such as the modern body horror masterpiece Fantastic Four from last year; Shaquille O’Neal’s charming, homegrown-vibed Steel; and of course, the afore-alluded to Batman & Robin, which I loved when I saw as a kid, then instantly hated on after I left the theater because everyone else was hating on it, then finally re-watched a year ago and realized that my initial assessment of it as great was spot-on and I never should’ve kowtowed to something as philistinic as popular opinion.

Continue reading

Posted in All Posts, Cody's Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Understanding the Feminism of ‘Hausu’

hausu1

Hausu (1977)
Directed by Obayashi Nobuhiko
Written by Katsura Chiho
Story by Obayashi Chigumi

“Any old cat can open a door. Only a witch cat can close a door.”

Kiss me like thumping, as blood clots on my lips
Hold me, as my ribs are breaking
I love love love you so much
I love love love you so much
I love love love you so much
Say you love me or I’ll kill you!”
Togawa Jun – ‘Suki Suki Daisuki’

Spoilers ahead.

Hausu practically needs no introduction in 2016. Seemingly everyone, from the most basic dilettante of foreign horror to the most extreme Criterion nerd, has seen it or is planning to see it at some point. Moreover, it has become a cinematic belle of the ball, a center of attention as everyone tries to offer an interpretation or explanation as to what exactly it is, and what the plot is about. No less a source than Criterion offers wildly disparate explanations for what occurs on screen, comparing it to a “ghost story”, a “bedtime story”, and an episode of “Scooby-Doo”. Unfortunately, all of Criterion’s provided comparisons and analyses are wrong. Hausu is a film originating in the fevered imagination of an eight-year-old Japanese girl, who provided concepts for the scenarios and the fears that would be on display. Somehow as a result of her unfiltered impressions—and an iconoclastic director’s free rein from his studio to create something truly outlandish—a film about the role women are forced into if they wish to survive late Showa society is born.

Continue reading

Posted in All Posts, Penelope's Reviews | Leave a comment

Underseen Criterion Films: The Garden of Women (1954)

gardenofwomen

The Garden of Women (1954)
Directed by Kinoshita Keisuke
Based upon a novel by Abe Tomoji

“Oh, my friends, young women
you are so fragrant in your youth
Just a simple girl am I
with a heart so full of truth
Let us love, let us make
our campus bright and free
Hope and joy we’re sure to find
in our blossoming youth”

Continue reading

Posted in All Posts, Penelope's Reviews | Leave a comment

Love ‘The Room’? Then ‘Room Full of Spoons’ is Required Viewing.

rickharperroom

Room Full of Spoons (2016)
Written & Directed by Rick Harper
114 min.

Spoiler-free.

There’s nothing more nerve-wracking when it comes to watching movies than sitting down to watch a movie made by a friend of yours. I don’t ever pray harder for a movie to be good than in that moment before it starts.

And there’s nothing more exciting than when a movie made by a friend of yours is great.

By that dramatic paragraph break, I guess you can tell that I enjoyed this film. And if you have any interest in The Room, you will too.

Continue reading

Posted in All Posts, Cody's Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment