Author: Jack Godwin

Tangerine Is A Christmas Miracle

Overview: After twenty-eight days in prison, prostitute Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) blazes through Los Angeles after her cheating boyfriend Chester (James Ransome). Magnolia Pictures; 2015; Rated R; 88 Minutes. “Merry Christmas Eve, Bitch”: This is the first line spoken in Tangerine. It might seem irreverent, but it sums up the tone of the movie; joyous, sentimental, and sincere, but not without bite. We follow the personal stories of three characters as they interweave on Christmas Eve, featuring trans-prostitutes and an Armenian cab driver Razmik (Karren Karagulkian). While Sin-Dee is on the warpath, Alexandra (Mya Taylor) tries to keep up,...

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A Defence of Rocky V

Rocky V was not, to put it mildly, well-received. I came to this series late, and after hearing so many bad things about this movie in advance, I was expecting the worst. What I found is that I actually really enjoy this installment. It is definitely one of the weaker entries to the series, but for all its flaws it is still a good film. In fact, with the exception of Rocky Balboa, Rocky V is the most faithful and ambitious of the sequels. Everyone loves an underdog story, but it’s difficult to keep a character on that side...

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A Takedown of Rocky IV

This might be a bold statement as a fan of the Rocky series, but I’m not a fan of Rocky IV. I love to talk about its strange quirks and ham-fisted approach to Cold War politics, but it’s a mess that I can’t get behind. It did well with the fans of the series at the time of release (certainly better than Rocky V did), and it is the most successful entry at the box office, but I want to ask: is it a good “Rocky Movie”? What staples are commonly associated with the Rocky series? American flag shorts,...

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Timecrimes Breaks Down Genres

Overview: Héctor (Karra Ejalde) is renovating his home with his wife (Candela Fernández). Looking into a nearby forest with binoculars, he spots what looks like the murder of a young woman. When he attempts to intervene, he inadvertently provokes an increasingly bizarre series of events, and finds that he will do anything to return to ordinary life. Karbo Vantas Entertainment; 2008; Rated R; 92 minutes. Many Things At Once: Timecrimes is both very basic and extremely complicated. Though I will try to leave out the specifics as much as possible, it should be said up-front that this is a time travel...

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A Look at Lynchian Horror

At some point you have probably come across the term “Lynchian.” It’s often used thoughtlessly to explain away weird imagery and seemingly ineffable behaviour in film, but it’s in the popular vernacular for a reason. David Lynch’s particular outlook and cinematic approach has made him the authority on dream-like ambience. The distinct sense of unease in his movies often comes from his interest in the uncanny; a “disturbing unfamiliarity in the evidently familiar.” The abstract concepts he puts on screen inspire fear because they are uncomfortably close to our own reality. In Twin Peaks, the ceiling fan on the...

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The Elephant Man 35 Years On

We don’t see the titular “Elephant Man” until around the 13 minute mark, and it is a further 30 minutes before we hear him talk. What we do see, however, are the reactions of others. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) meets John Merrick as we do; we hear the myth of his creation, wherein his mother was “struck down in the fourth month of her maternal condition by an elephant.” We are told that this man is a monster, and enter the carnival amidst the curious crowd. It is impossible not to pity anything that lives in such a state...

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Let the Right One In: When Horror Isn’t Horror

Overview: Twelve-year-old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), bullied and craving revenge, meets Eli (Lina Leandersson). Eli is also twelve, but has “been twelve for a long time”. Set in the suburbs of Stockholm in the early 1980s, Tomas Alfredson brings us a tale of childhood loneliness, love, and revenge. Magnet Releasing; 2008; Rated R; 115 minutes The Old and the New: Let the Right One In was released in 2008, years after numerous movies and TV shows exhausted the idea of the vampire. However, this film takes a tired sub-genre and makes it interesting again by shifting the focus from the...

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Macbeth Is A Riveting Take On The Classic Tragedy

Overview: Feared warrior Macbeth (Michael Fassbender), incited by his wife (Marion Cotillard), plots to kill King Duncan (David Thewlis) and take over as a tyrant ruler of Scotland. The Weinstein Company; 2015; Not Rated; 113 minutes. Hail Macbeth: William Shakespeare’s plays have been adapted on stage and screen countless times, and Macbeth is no different. While the slow-motion action sequences and sharp visuals are elements only feasible now, it is not enough to warrant another version of a play already adapted by cinematic greats such as Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa, and Roman Polanski. On the other hand, significant changes to...

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45 Years Is As Charming As It Is Devastating

Overview: Kate and Geoff have a week to go until their party, celebrating their 45th anniversary. The childless couple live comfortably in a small Norfolk town, until shattering news arrives for Geoff – his ex-girlfriend’s body has been found, 50 years after she slipped into an Alpine crevasse. Writer-Director Andrew Haigh brings us a fascinating study of marriage, memory, and time that is as charming as it is devastating. Artificial Eye; 2015; NR; 95 minutes. Double Act: While it was adapted from a short story by David Constantine, there’s only a passing resemblance to the original material. Haigh has developed...

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Darkman in Retrospect 25 Years Later

Darkman was the blockbuster stepping stone between Army of Darkness and Spider-Man for Sam Raimi, and that’s exactly what it feels like. When the director couldn’t get the rights to various other existing superhero properties such as Batman and The Shadow (their loss), he decided to create his own inspired by the movies he grew up with. It pays homage to Universal’s horror films of the 1930s, noir cinema, and The Phantom of the Opera. The film stars Liam Neeson as Peyton Westlake, a scientist who is attacked and left for dead by ruthless mobster Robert Durant (Larry Drake),...

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Is It Still Funny: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

In 1997, Mike Myers wrote and starred in a comedy that spoofed the spy genre, and James Bond in particular. Myers, coming off of his well-received Wayne’s World movies (which he also wrote and starred in) became a box office sensation domestically, and launched Myers to movie stardom. It arrived at just the right time, filling a gap in the market we may not have even realized was there. Whether we knew it or not, we all wanted silly comedy, and the now thirty-year-old series it was spoofing was due for a parody. With the much-celebrated Goldeneye being the most...

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‘Amy’: Beneath the Complications

Overview: In July 2011, 27 year old British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse was found dead from alcohol poisoning in her home in Camden, North London. Amy explores her life from early childhood up through her commercial successes, troubled relationships, and addiction to drugs and alcohol. 2015; Altitude Film Distribution; Rated R; 128 minutes. Know You Now: Asif Kapadia (director of the critically-acclaimed documentary Senna) revisits the approach established in his earlier work, and constructs a biography without of his featured celebrity without the use of commercially constructive, talking heads. Instead, Amy is entirely constructed via a compilation of images, music, and video, both professionally-filmed...

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