Author: David Hart

Celebrating the Monstrous Love of Guillermo del Toro

Over the last month, Audience Everywhere has been celebrating Hispanic filmmakers and representation in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month. But no celebration of Hispanic contributions to the world of cinema could possibly be complete without mention of Guillermo del Toro. Among other achievements, he is a member of the Three Amigos, as Hollywood has termed them, a triumvirate of critically successful Mexican directors, along with Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu. This connection to his country and his countrymen is evident in his work as well as his interactions online. He is consistently supportive of Hispanic filmmakers, without any...

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Happy Death Day Dies A Slow Death

Overview: A young woman must solve her own murder as she relives it repeatedly. Blumhouse Productions; 2017; Rated PG-13; 96 minutes. The Hook Brings You Back: Any great horror movie needs a satisfying hook. This is necessary for a film to not get lost among the countless other horror entries that come and go every Halloween season. Luckily, Happy Death Day has that buy-in even from the promotional materials. It has been described by many as a horror version of Groundhog Day. Honestly, this was enough to get me in the theater. There are several directions that this film...

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False Prophets and the Hatred of Red State

Much has been made lately (and has been made before and will be made again) of the question “is ________ really a horror movie?” This has become even more ridiculous with the questioning of Stephen King’s It, a story about a shape-shifting clown who hunts and eats children. If that’s not horror, what is? But regardless, the goal of a horror movie is, at its simplest,to frighten. But there is no way to guarantee every member of the audience will be frightened of the same thing. We all bring ourselves into the experience of every movie. So, what scares...

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The Battle of the Sexes Fights the Good Fight

Overview: The fight for equal pay for tennis athletes culminates in a final match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Fox Searchlight Pictures; 2017; Rated PG-13; 121 minutes.  A Long Road Ahead: We should be closer to equality than we are. This is true when talking about our culture’s treatment of LGBTQ rights, race, and gender. It can sometimes be easy to assume that we have made great strides. However, taking a closer look at a seminal event in regards to equality can present us with some very difficult truths. The Battle of the Sexes, is at its...

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Mother! is an Inspired Creation

Overview: A happy couple’s world is invaded by both natural and supernatural force. Paramount Pictures; 2017; Rated R; 121 minutes. Inspired!: Art is meant to inspire. The best art, or worst, depending on your perspective, rips feeling out of you, seemingly against your will. This is actually more rare in film than one might think. The vast majority of movie-going experiences are viewed, remembered for a day or two, and then completely forgotten. It is the joy and the sorrow of a visual, fleeting medium. Yes, one can purchase a movie and have physical or streaming copies, but that...

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Tulip Fever Is In No Danger of Catching On

Overview: A married woman and an artist hired to paint her portrait fall in love and hatch a plan to be together. Paramount Pictures; 2017; Rated R; 107 minutes Longing for Love: One distinct challenge of the period film is the inability for people in love, regardless of marital status, to say how they truly feel about one another. This longing dictates a challenge for actors, given that one of their most direct avenues of communication, that of dialogue, is immediately removed from their toolbox. This can do one of two things, either create a palpable sense of longing...

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Black Swan and the Search For Perfection

Black Swan, more than anything else, is a film about unachievable goals. In a word, the pursuit of perfection. The screenplay does not exactly make this a secret, or even subtle. The movie practically begins and ends talking about Nina’s (Natalie Portman) desire to be absolutely perfect. Perfection, as a goal of human development, is more than a bit tricky, and the striving for it can even lead to psychological disorders. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (not to be confused with OCD), eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder all contain perfectionism as a symptom of...

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An Animation Marathon for Don Bluth’s 80th Birthday

For the occasion of this, Don Bluth’s 80th birthday, I decided to do something a little different. I am a huge fan of Mr. Bluth, even making maybe ridiculous claims, like saying that Bluth movies outshine all other animated properties, including the vaunted vault of Disney. Despite this, there were a few films in his filmography that I had not seen. So, before writing this, I decided to watch, in order, every one of his films to see what I would learn. Now, I could sit here and write about every one of Don Bluth’s movies in separate sections....

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Patti Cake$ Pleases with a Star Performance from McDonald

Overview: The story of aspiring rapper, Killa P, and her desire to somehow get out of Jersey. Fox Searchlight Pictures; 2017; Rated R; 108 minutes Someone To Root For: The best underdog stories are about aspiration, finding a better place, both inside of ourselves and to journey towards. It must be understood why our hero (or heroine) has not made it yet, but also why we should root for them to actually succeed in the first place. These characters must have faults, and an inner nobility that only we and their closest friends and kin are aware of, something...

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Ed Skrein: Representation’s Ally

Anyone who is hooked into film and television criticism knows the term whitewashing. Whether it is Scarlett Johansson in The Ghost in the Shell, Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange, or even Emma Stone in Aloha, whitewashing is a growing issue that is finally getting attention thanks to the ability that the internet grants to discuss hot button topics. The latest film to get caught in the firestorm of whitewashing is the new Hellboy reboot. In this upcoming film, Ed Skrein, known mainly from Game of Thrones and Deadpool, was cast as Major Ben Daimio, who is a character of...

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Gone Girl Offers Insight and Hope For Fincher’s Future

When one of the great directors of a generation announces their next project, the film world listens. It is rare, however, for said announcement to be puzzling. Martin Scorsese is creating his treatise on faith in Silence? Of course he is. Kathryn Bigelow is making the true story of the Detroit riots? Sure, why not? Paul Thomas Anderson’s next untitled film starring Daniel Day Lewis is about a dressmaker for the Royal Family? Sounds award worthy. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point. And then there’s David Fincher. As most know, Fincher certainly got off...

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Logan Lucky: The Cure for Stale Genre Filmmaking

Logan Lucky is not what you think. Upon watching the trailer, my immediate reaction was that it was yet another heist movie directed by Steven Soderbergh, but this time with rednecks. How original. Yawn. After all, this is the man that, using excessive star power from the likes of Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Julia Roberts, recreated the Ocean’s franchise in a successful three film run. So, this ground has certainly been covered. Soderbergh, equally comfortable in heavy drama like Traffic and lighter fare like the Ocean’s movies, succeeded in making a cool, hip, slick remake of heist films....

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Dave Made A Maze Succeeds Despite Excess

Overview: A struggling artist builds a maze hoping to complete something and becomes trapped inside. Gravitas Ventures; 2017; Unrated; 80 minutes. We’ve All Been There: No matter the size of the project, finishing anything is an accomplishment. And like anything else, it can create a habit. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. Not finishing things, giving up, not having a focus or a passion can be truly damaging. That feeling of struggle, of spinning your wheels in the mud, can lead to a special kind of shiftlessness. Sometimes that lack of drive is replaced by bursts of passion for...

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Hitchcock the… Feminist? A Look Back at Suspicion

Preconceived notions abound when it comes to the work of Alfred Hitchcock. Even in his prime, most viewers would walk in expecting certain things; a murder, a beautiful blonde of varying trustworthiness, and some bit of psychology (even if it was pop psychology at best). Certainly those themes reveal themselves in much of his work, but I think that sells him short. Among other attributes, he was a master of changing tone—both within a film and between films—as well as playing with genre conventions, some of which he fostered or created. The cleverness of Hitchcock is that he is...

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Don’t Be Afraid of Hitchcock: Where to Start If You’re a Hitchcock Newbie

Alfred Hitchcock is intimidating. There, I said it. Has there ever been a director with more positive baggage associated with them? Take a look at just about literally every list of “Greatest Directors in History” and he will likely show up in the Top 5. That is a lot of pressure for a new viewer pressing play for the first time on one of his movies. I can almost hear the incredulous response as people read “new viewer.” Especially in film communities, admitting to being a Hitchcock virgin is tantamount to personal insult or an invitation to mockery. I...

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