“1917” was one of the biggest hits of this year’s awards season. It has made almost $300 million at the box office and counting. The film won Best Drama at the Golden Globes, Outstanding British Film and Best Film at the BAFTAs and... well let’s just say I’m glad I waited until after the Oscars to write this article. Regardless, this WWI film wowed audiences with its teeth-grinding tension and “HOW DID THEY DO THAT?!” one-shot cinematography. But you know what would have made it better? If it were gayer. I’m probably going to have to justify that. Spoilers ahead. The core relationship of the film is between the two protagonists, Lance Corporals Blake and Schofield. Through their perilous mission across the war-torn fields of France, they display openness and intimacy rare from male leads in action films. The single-take aesthetic heavily emphasises their closeness, almost always placing them together in the frame. Their bantering dialogue makes them feel like they’ve been close friends for years. They need each other, they save each other.
“Mr. Jones” tells the story of a young Welsh journalist named Gareth Jones who uncovered the truth of the Holodomor, a man-made famine in the Ukraine in the early 1930s. It is a socio-political thriller as Jones (James Norton) pursues the story despite threats to his own safety. Written by first-time screenwriter Andrea Chalupa and directed by Polish director Agnieszka Holland, the film stumbles along the way but is held up by great performances and a story that needs to be told.
“Horse Girl” (2020) is an oddity of a film, but a moving and harrowing one at that. Alison Brie stars and co-wrote it with director Jeff Baena, known for his ability to construct a marriage of dark subject matter and comedy. Here, there’s definitely a gloom, and while there is some humor, “Horse Girl” is mostly a rabbit hole down one woman’s detachment from reality. It also provides Brie, an incredibly talented and versatile actress, a chance to embody a role entirely. While I missed the film at Sundance, I was able to chat with Brie briefly, and I know how personal this story was to her. Even without that context, it’s clear. It is a tour de force for Brie, showing her devotion to the performance in every way.
Having made two short films with the same actress as the lead character, "Baden Baden" (2016) is Writer-director Rachel Lang’s debut feature. This French-Belgian comedy-drama is a gentle but poignant summer spent with Ana looking for work, looking for meaning and ill-advisedly renovating her grandmother’s bathroom. It’s funny and awkward but also hopeful.
Horror genre cinema has been making a lot of impact in the indie circles this past decade. With upcoming filmmakers from all over the world like Julia Ducournau, Ari Aster, Robert Eggers, Coralie Fargeat and others; it is an exciting time to be a filmgoer. But there is one man that has not only starred in great genre pieces, but has helped produced many of them as well. That man is Elijah Wood. Best known for his work in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, he has acted in interesting projects that took him out of the blockbuster luster. While there were films that did not succeed so well eg. "Green Street"; there were films that shocked audiences due to his change in image like "Maniac" (2012) and "Sin City" (2005). Since then, he has worked on more genre films like "Grand Piano" until he started his own production company (with Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller) called Spectrevision; which produced fantastic films like "Mandy", "The Greasy Strangler" and "Colour Out of Space".
“I can't stand romantic comedies." We’ve all met someone like this. Whether or not this is a genre that you like, love, or simply feel abhorrently about, I believe that there are some classics that are embedded in the history of film that can’t be discredited. Ones that warm even the coldest or most cynical of us. Since I think that these lie within the very fabric of what makes movies like this so comforting, these are five I’d suggest for anyone. However, we all have our own tastes and sentimental trappings when it comes to ”feel good” cinema, or "cry your eyes out” romance. Find your own, but if you need help, check these out.
I find that the best love stories are not romantic in nature but live within the friendships we have. So, in honor of Valentine’s Day and in honor of BFFs everywhere, are some movies you can enjoy with your ride-or-die.
“It’s done,” Céline Sciamma said through laughter, “I don’t need your approval!” Ten minutes earlier, a lengthy applause break punctuated the film screening and Sciamma was welcomed to the stage with a standing ovation. Sitting in a folding director’s chair on-stage in the sold-out Music Box Theater in Chicago, IL, Sciamma shared insights on the filmmaking process during a question and answer session with the audience. The early pre-screening of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (2019) was part of a press tour preceding the films wide release in the United States.
Joan gives us a list of her favourite romances from horror for Valentine's Day! 1. “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992): A horror story based on eternal love complicated by the side effects of eternal life. Great art direction and Richard E. Grant is awesome as a psychologist stumped by patient Renfield’s obsession with flies. Why I love it: Gary Oldman in blue tinted shades indulging in absinthe. 2. “Crimson Peak” (2015): When a tall, handsome stranger (Tom Hiddleston) professes his desire to take aspiring author Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) away to his family mansion, what could possibly go wrong? Gothic and darkly beautiful, this is a romance that only Guillermo del Toro could tell and Jessica Chastain nearly walks away with the film as the dominating, manipulative Lucille. Why I love it: The candlelight waltz with Tom Hiddleston.