Retrospective Review: Gaea Girls

If the term “women’s wrestling,” makes you think of the glitz and glamour of the Netfix show GLOW or even the women’s divisions of American promotions such as the WWE, then “Gaea Girls,” will be a shock to your preconceptions. Directed by Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams, this documentary exposes the brutal training regimes and initiations that young girls in Japan choose to face in order to earn their place performing in the hallowed ground of the squared circle. 

For decades in Japan, entire organisations have been dedicated to women’s wrestling, and drawing a rabid and predominantly female fanbase. Gaea Girls is built around one of the biggest names in the history of women’s wrestling, Chigusa Nagayo. Continue reading Retrospective Review: Gaea Girls

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Order and Chaos in Society

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” has been on my list for a while; it is one of only three films to have won the Big Five at the Oscars. For you non-Oscar fanatics out there, the Big Five is the coined term for a film that has won all of the five major awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay (original or adapted). “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is based on Ken Kesey’s famous novel from 1962 of the same name, of which I purchased at a used bookstore for $2 and still have yet to read. I’ll get around to that one day, too. All of this being said, there were super high expectations going into this first viewing. Continue reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Order and Chaos in Society

Review: The Vast of Night

One of the best things this reviewer loves about cinema is the feeling of awe when one is transported into the world of the film. In the time of the current pandemic, the cinema experience is being missed more and more. Some filmgoers would love to venture into something new and otherworldly while other filmgoers would love to venture into something warm, comforting and familiar.

It is quite fitting that of the film under review, “The Vast of Night” (2019), is about the wonder of discovery under tough circumstances. When the film had its first showing at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2019, it premiered to glowingly positive reviews and has now been released earlier than expected on VOD due to the pandemic. Will the film live up to its immense hype? Continue reading Review: The Vast of Night

Mental Health Awarenss Month, Retrospective Review: Mary and Max

A two-fold coming-of-age narrative ‘Mary and Max’ (2009) charters the progression of Mary’s, a young, ‘chubby’ and socially anxious Australian into a woman, friendship with Max, a middle-aged Atheistic Jew in America. Pen pals, a support system, their friendship grows as Mary seeks an escape from her abusive, sherry-soaked mother Vera, all marvellous narrated by Australian treasure Barry Humphries. At random, fascinated by the states, Mary picks an address from a U.S phonebook and hopes to receive a reply to her letter. Gradually, as life moves on the pair grow distant, and after taking a degree in psychology, Mary uses her experiences with Max, who suffers from anxiety and lives in isolation due to his Asperger’s syndrome, as a case study for a book. Continue reading Mental Health Awarenss Month, Retrospective Review: Mary and Max

Exclusive Interview with Emily Ting, Director of “Go Back to China”

As, you can see from the movie, communication between us is a big issue. There’s so many things I wanted to say to my father but I couldn’t, so I wrote a movie about it. He watched the movie, understood where I was coming from and he accepted that. He needed time to process it all, but he sent those emojis and said he thought I had done a good job and he was proud of me. And, that’s all I needed to hear. Continue reading Exclusive Interview with Emily Ting, Director of “Go Back to China”

Mental Health Awareness Month, Retrospective Review: The Virgin Suicides

You wouldn’t imagine a film titled “The Virgin Suicides” (1999) would be beautifully atmospheric and dreamlike. Or maybe you would if you knew it was written and directed by Sofia Coppola who is known for brilliantly capturing an atmosphere with her films whether it’s the 1990s in Los Angeles with “The Bling Ring” (2013) or our collective memory of a lavish queen with “Marie Antoinette” (2006). Coppola’s directorial debut is a tale about five young girls who commit suicide and perhaps more poignantly, the neighborhood boys who are obsessed with them. For as much as it’s a film about mental health and girlhood, it’s also about collective memory and the impact that a few people can have on a community.  Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month, Retrospective Review: The Virgin Suicides

Mental Health Awareness Month: How “Frozen” Thaws Fearful Hearts

When reflecting upon the cinema that we consumed as children, we often remember most fondly the tales that excited us, humoured us, or maybe even frightened us. For many, regardless of generation, Disney has been a big contributor to such memories. But the best children’s tales contain valuable messages, or even truths, in their stories. Although I was a teenager in his last year of high school when Disney’s “Frozen” (2013) was released, it is a film that I believe will allow children and adults alike to recognise and understand lessons in mental health for generations to come. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month: How “Frozen” Thaws Fearful Hearts

12 Monkeys (1995): Trauma and The Prescience of Gilliam’s Vision

Terry Gilliam created a nightmarish vision of the future in 1985 with possibly his best-known film “Brazil.” That proved to be just a warm-up for the mind-bending, chilling dystopia of “12 Monkeys’ (1995) which has only become even more prophetic in the current worldwide pandemic of COVID-19. The husband and wife team of David and Janet Peoples wrote a screenplay that is surprisingly poignant in its subtext of compassion and kindness being vital to treating mental illness.

As much as protagonist James Cole struggles with the anguish of his post-traumatic stress, we now face our own troubling and harrowing present. It is a harsh reminder that while our reality is not as fatally bleak as Cole’s, it is a strain on the mental health of us all. Continue reading 12 Monkeys (1995): Trauma and The Prescience of Gilliam’s Vision

Women as disposable objects in “The American” (2010)

This 2010 film, directed by Anton Corbijn, stars George Clooney as an assassin called Jack who wants to get out of the profession but carries out one more job. He travels to a small village in Italy to build and deliver a bespoke weapon.

While there he forms a relationship with a sex worker Clara (Violante Placido), tries to avoid being assassinated himself, and is generally melancholy. Yes that is quite a light plot. Continue reading Women as disposable objects in “The American” (2010)