The second the opening titles start Guy Ritchie’s latest film “The Gentlemen” (2020) sets itself up as something sophisticated, colourful and bleeding with style. And it was. The story veers from one twist to another, punctuated by side quests and violence. The soundtrack was sharp as a knife, the characters were larger than life. Nothing about this is supposed to be serious, it’s a drug dealing gun toting romp. Except for the attempted rape. At this point the film went from a lot of fun to deeply disturbing in a split second. But even more galling was that it went straight back to being fun again. Is rape really that much of a throwaway plot point?
January 20th, 2020 is a date that will go down in infamy as the end of one the greatest eras in modern television : the brief but powerful reign of "Bojack Horseman", star of screen and book. Five and a half moving, funny, poignant, brilliant seasons have left little doubt that Raphael Bob Waksberg and friends will knock the final six episodes out of the park but there are many questions left about how our dubious hero will say his final goodbyes. Besides "The Office" ( the soundtrack of my life) there are few shows I have examined as carefully or studied as intensely as "Bojack Horseman". It is the only show I’ve ever loved enough to consider a fan tattoo. My careful examination of a show that rewards careful examination has revealed the following : Bojack Horseman’s (Will Arnett) life is in danger.
"Marriage Story" is actually a tale about a divorce - that of two successful theatre artists, Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson). Initially, the film appears to be entirely Charlie’s story but without Nicole, there would be no movie. In the beginning, he is unable to see his wife for who she really is but he grows to see her so clearly that he can fully appreciate the extent of what he’s lost. That theme - of appreciating women as fully formed human beings, equal to their male partners and counterparts - is what makes "Marriage Story" a feminist love story.
For me, 2019’s most divisive film was “Bombshell.” which chronicles the downfall of right-wing propagandist Roger Ailes (John Lithgow). Ailes, a well-known predator, was eventually ousted at Fox News, the 'fascist' juggernaut he created. Numerous women came forward with horrific stories of sexual harassment and abuse. “Bombshell” highlights the story of three characters - two real women and one who is the amalgamation of stories. The real women Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) have a history of perpetuating the far-right ideology of Fox News. Kayla (the stellar Margot Robbie) is a fictional portrayal of many women who encountered Ailes.
Sometimes, we simply need to pause and reflect on a film, and if you can’t stop thinking of it then it’s worth returning to it. I’m not sure whether I want to see any of Hogg’s other films, or even see “The Souvenir Part II” but I do know that I am grateful that I gave “The Souvenir” another chance.
2015. It had been 10 years since the Star Wars saga had wrapped up with 2005’s "Revenge of the Sith". There I was standing in a massive line around noon waiting to get into a 7 pm showing of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens". The first outing post-Disney buy out. No one quite knew what to expect. Reviews hadn’t gone live, advance screenings started at 3pm, the script had been kept tightly under wraps, it was all up in the air. The marketing at this point had all eyes on Finn as the supposed new Jedi of this trilogy, with Rey as the leia type character. Portrayed by Daisy Ridley, nothing was known about this character, other than she was a scavenger who played into the story somehow. Little did we know she would actually be the main character of this new trilogy. So it took everyone by surprise when at the end it was her wielding the lightsaber in the climactic battle against Kylo Ren play by Adam Driver.
Let me make it clear up front that I really like “Elf” (2003) and no Christmas is complete without it. It’s consistently ranked among the top Christmas films of all time and is screened at cinemas every year. With that in mind, I want to talk about the way the film treats women.
Christmas time is always one of the most emotional times of the year. It brings joy, happiness, and jolly good cheer. But it can also bring other emotions too: pain, sorrow, fear. In Bob Clark’s 1974 slasher masterpiece "Black Christmas", these emotions are all brought to the forefront in very realistic and sometimes unnerving depictions. At the core of this film is women fighting for acceptance, the right to their bodies and ultimately their lives.
Sexual assault is a crime that has been perpetrated upon far too many women; some who’ve unfortunately gone through this may find this film to be one too difficult to sit through. An experience like this is not one which needs re-living--especially when it hits this close to home (which happens to be the case of the director/screenwriter/producer, Cédric Jouaire according to my press notes). A best-selling writer is seduced, then kidnapped by a stalker who accuses him of rape. She claims that the rape occurred 20 years ago and that he has used her personal tragedy and exploited it by making it the plot of his latest novel. The author insists that this is merely a coincidence and that his work is merely one of fiction, yet the vengeful woman persistently forces him to confess.