The British Academy Film Awards are somewhat of a black sheep in the trinity of lavish, self-indulgent film awards ceremonies in the early months of each new year. Their bizarre practice of pre-recording the ceremony – so the winners end up announced before it’s even televised – then editing out a bunch of the technical and ‘smaller’ awards, makes it a very lacklustre viewing experience. Though that being said, there’s a lot to say about the awards and the ceremony itself. First, and most obvious, is the sweep of “1917”. Seven wins out of nine nominations, only losing Makeup and Hair to “Bombshell” and Original Score to “Joker”. Not unexpected given the film’s staggering momentum this awards season, plus the film being British which the BAFTAs highly favour. But it’s still telling. Expect “1917” to make a similar sweep of the upcoming Academy Awards, with a near-guaranteed shot at Best Picture and Best Director, winning both of its equivalents here.
To celebrate the last decade 2010-2019 we are counting down the best actresses and discussing some of their most notable and memorable performances of the last decade. With the help of Film Twitter, the ITOL team have selected 30 actresses. Entry No. 20 is Rooney Mara, and writer Kristy Strouse discusses her favourite performances by Mara over the last decade.
Most of us have at least a little trauma in us. Be it something minute or something colossal, these pockets of pain have the potential to fuck us up beyond our wildest dreams if not taken care of properly. And it’s on this note that master-filmmaker Lynne Ramsay – featured previously on this series with “We Need To Talk About Kevin” – brings us “You Were Never Really Here”.
People like to say that original movies are in short supply these days, swallowed up by the onslaught of comic book films, remakes/reboots, and live-action adaptations of 80s cartoons based on toys. Whilst there is truth to this observation, its conclusions are flawed. Not only have some incredibly bold and unique recent films come from pre-existing IP like "The Lego Movie", "Mad Max: Fury Road" and "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse", but so-called “original” films are often just as guilty of recycling and retrofitting the concepts of the past. Quentin Tarantino and Edgar Wright have made their entire careers out of essentially crafting extended tributes to their childhood favourites, communicating their own perspectives and ideas through the lens of pulp genre cinema.
The theater in the 6 p.m., mostly sold out, showing of "Joker" was tense, the air in the room constricted from the possibility of... something. It did not seem like anyone knew quite what that something was, but I was shaking the whole time. I think that there was one possible reason for this: people have been entertaining the possibility of violence during a "Joker" showing. The theaters around me, at least, are taking preventive measures, staffing extra security guards and prohibiting makeup, costumes, masks, and weapons in the theater. The first time I watched "Joker", I attended a private screening, admittedly fearful of seeing it with the general public. But, the second time, I watched it in this packed theater. I must say that my first viewing greatly differed from my second.
Regardless of whether you're a fan or not of Todd Phillips' "Joker", I think we can all agree that Hildur Guðnadóttir's score is phenomenal. A classically trained cellist from Iceland, she has played and recorded with various bands such as Pan Sonic, Throbbing Gristle, Múm, and Stórsveit Nix Noltes. She experiments with sound and musical instruments, using cello, warped samples, and nuclear reactor metal as her tools to compose her music. And, the end result is stunning. Her music has a way of invading your mind, the score for "Joker" has a rawness to it, full of menace and a foreboding sense of dread. The score for "Joker" is so far from the epic orchestral scores we usually associate with comic book adaptations, and as she explained in an interview with Film Music Mag this was a deliberate decision, "we went as far in the other direction with this score as possible.
A piece of art’s problematic-ness is subjective to the viewer who consumes the art; there is no definite arbiter--or way of deciding--just what kinds of art are inherently, objectively problematic. Only the individual can deem something to be problematic. If certain individuals agree with others, a mass of individuals with like-minds (and nuanced values) come together, then we have a basic form of society. Some things register as problematic because it goes against culture--or the ideas of a particular social group. To suggest that something is problematic because society or culture deems it so would be like suggesting that something is okay just because certain cultures deem it to be so, but I digress.
Is the “Joker” really an achievement in cinematic history or just a deeply dark look into an anarchist, his falling apart life and a city on edge. One thing is sure here, no matter if you loved it or didn’t, it’s a thought-provoking, disturbing two hour long journey, that will haunt you for a time after. The... Continue Reading →