Retrospective Review: The Runaways

It’s been ten years since we saw “Twilight” (2008) cast-mates Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning graze the screen in the music biopic “The Runaways.” While the Floria Sigismondi written/directed film has its fair share of follies, by the end it’s worthy of a collective fist to the air, celebrating - at the very least- the spotlight on these talented women and the impact they had on the rock and roll world. At a time when bands entirely made up of women weren’t a prevalent nor seemingly lucrative notion, The Runaways was formed, primarily because of the persistent ambition of Joan Jett (Stewart) and her collaboration with Kim Fowley (played with an on-spot eccentricity here by Michael Shannon). Soon they bring in Cherie Currie (Fanning) to be the lead singer, along with Sandy West (Stella Maeve), Lita Ford (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Robin (Alia Shawkat). Then we’ve got the pop-punk legendary group: The Runaways.

Black History Month Tribute: “Fruitvale Station” Review

It is sadly not an uncommon story. Especially in the United States. “Unarmed Black Man Killed by Police.” Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. Philandro Castile. Michael Brown. Ryan Coogler’s directorial debut, “Fruitvale Station” (2013) took an intimate look at the life and murder of one young man named Oscar Grant III. The film starts with actual cell phone footage from the train platform minutes into the new year. You see the bystanders calling out police for accosting a group of men, Grant among them. There’s a scuffle. And a bang.

Retrospective Review: “Cam”

Doused in colorful lighting, Lola (Madeline Brewer) sits in front of a webcam with a knife in hand. She raises the knife to her throat and carefully presses down, releasing fake blood that flows down her front. Lola’s fans go wild, tuning in to more of her shows and sending her tips. Lola, who goes by Alice off-cam, is thrilled — she’s moving up the ranks of the livestreaming site thanks to her hard work crafting unique and exhilarating shows like the fake suicide show. With her newfound success, Alice continues to set up eye-catching shows to move further up the ranks. Another cam girl gets in her way, though. And she looks freakishly similar to Lola/Alice. The film takes a quick turn into psychological horror territory as Alice embarks on a mission to find the doppelganger and get to the bottom of things. 

Retrospective Review: Gremlins

We all know the rules, and instructions can be important: No water, no bright lights, and no eating after midnight (though, when does that one- end?). If you break these very important details, you’ll take an adorable fuzzy creature and trade it with a hellion set to ensue chaos and eat everything in sight. Of course, I’m talking about “Gremlins." (1984)

Retrospective Review: Take This Waltz

“Take this Waltz” (2011) has the main character’s story undone slowly, with a meditative and varied look on relationships. There is a lot of restraint with the film, and its patience is where it flourishes, because it allows a deeper engagement with the subjects and the questions that it creates. Margot (Michelle Williams) and Lou Seth Rogan are a married couple, distant at times, but with their own cute comforts and familiarities. There’s a sadness to Margot even though their life seems to be good. They are both writers, him a cook crafting a chicken recipe book, and her a writer of pamphlets for tourist locations.

Retrospective Review: Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles

Anne Rice’s debut novel, “Interview with the Vampire” was published in 1976 and was somewhat controversial at the time for its openly erotic depiction of the undead. Two years later, “Dracula” would open on Broadway with first Frank Langella and then Raul Julia as the Count with obvious sex appeal. The book would take nearly two decades to be adapted to the screen but by that time, Rice had paved the way for vampires to be portrayed with animal magnetism such that Bela Lugosi would never have gotten away with in the 1930’s.  Brad Pitt plays Louis as a mournful sympathetic vampire, regretful of his lost humanity and the loss of human life he is directly responsible for. His desire to unburden his conscience sets up the interview of the film’s title as he tells his life story to Christian Slater. Director Neil Jordan deliberately shows Pitt as androgynous with long hair, perfect skin and full lips. It is no surprise that the vampire Lestat (Tom Cruise) desires him or that other vampires will want to possess him as well

Black Christmas: The constant cycle of Misogyny and Violence toward 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.

Retrospective Review: White Christmas (1954)

It was 1941 and American soldiers were away from home only weeks after Pearl Harbor. On Christmas Day they heard a song written by a Russian Jewish immigrant that spoke of all their longing for home and the comforts of the holiday sung by Bing Crosby on the radio. Seventy-eight years later, “White Christmas’ by Irving Berlin has lost none of its poignancy and the film that shares its title is just as cherished. “White Christmas” is a remarkable film, especially for the two fantastic leading ladies it is lucky to claim.

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