The Power of the Dog: NYFF 2021 Review

Year: 2021 Runtime: 126 minutes Director: Jane Campion Writers: Jane Campion, Thomas Savage (based on his novel of the same name) Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Thomasin McKenzie, Keith Carradine, Frances Conroy By Tom Moore Director Jane Campion’s adaptation of Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel “The Power of the Dog”(2021) creates an engaging modern western that explores themes of masculinity and sees … Continue reading The Power of the Dog: NYFF 2021 Review

Retrospective Review: Bring it On

“Awesome, oh wow! Like, totally freak me out! I mean, right on! The Toros sure are number one!” How many times have you sung this to yourself? What about the film’s classic opening number: “I’m sexy, I’m cute, I’m popular to boot”? Peyton Reed’s “Bring It On” celebrates its 20 anniversary this year and the cheerleading teen comedy has achieved a cult following since its release and spawned a further five instalments in the series.

Kirsten Dunst stars as Torrance Shipman, the recently elected captain of the Toros cheerleading squad at the affluent Rancho Carne High School in San Diego, California. The football team sucks but their cheerleading team are five-time national champions and the true athletes of the school. As Torrance prepares her squad to battle for their sixth consecutive trophy, problems arise when she discovers that her predecessor (Lindsay Sloane as Big Red) has been stealing their dynamic routines from the primarily black squad, the East Compton Clovers, for years. Continue reading Retrospective Review: Bring it On

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

Retrospective Review: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

ove is messy. Life is even messier. Sometimes the hurt is too much. There are moments, after watching this film, where I wonder, would I want to forget? Would you? It would sure be easier. Or is it?

In the case of Joel and Clementine, in the “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004) nothing is simple, everything is messy, but ultimately (despite its surreal- dream-like sequences) it is also an honest appraisal of love in its many forms. Continue reading Retrospective Review: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Best Actress of the Decade, Entry No. 26: Kirsten Dunst

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. 26 is Kirsten Dunst, and writer Bee Garner discusses her favourite performance by Dunst over the last decade. Continue reading Best Actress of the Decade, Entry No. 26: Kirsten Dunst

Retrospective Review: Little Women

Watching “Little Women” (1994) is sort of like coming home. Regardless of the period (1868 I believe) or place, the film reinstates a level of comfort felt when I saw the movie as a child. How I perceived the movie changed as I grew older, but watching it was a yearly viewing for me. Another tether? I felt innately like Jo (Winona Ryder), trying to find my own truth, regardless of societal or gender constraints, and just wanting to write.

Gillian Armstrong’s 1994 film that adapts Louisa May Alcott’s novel, portrays the March family, especially the four March girls, in a way that’s maintained credibility and resonance over the years. The adaptation is loyal in the sense that these characters are portrayed with the same warmth as they are read. Continue reading Retrospective Review: Little Women

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 46: The Beguiled

Sofia Coppola’s American Southern Gothic film, “The Beguiled” (2017), is an atmospheric drama that takes place at a girls’ school in Virginia in 1864. The American Civil War rages around the house, ever-present despite the lack of action. The film features a trio of talented blonde women — Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning — in addition to Colin Farrell. While it’s not the masterpiece that some of Coppola’s other films like “Marie Antoinette” (2006) or “The Virgin Suicides” (1999) are, it’s a moving and aesthetically beautiful portrait of women in wartime. Continue reading ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 46: The Beguiled