Author: Reid Ramsey

I’m Not There and Grace Through Change

Todd Haynes has never been a stickler to structure. His most conventional films still reveal characters who have a need to break free from their normal surroundings. Mundanity always threatens to burst through the frame and dive into the surreal. So when he takes hold of a biography of Bob Dylan—not a performer known for his mundanity—the experiment is the structure. Six different actors play six different iterations of the famous musician in I’m Not There. (2007). The actors (Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere, Christian Bale, Marcus Garl Franklin, and Ben Whishaw) depict wildly discontinuous versions of Dylan’s...

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A Bad Moms Christmas Misses Its Comedic Potential

Overview: Three best friend moms, Amy, Kiki, and Carla, are intent on giving their kids the best Christmas ever – until their own moms show up and ruin everything. STX Entertainment; 2017; Rated R; 104 minutes. The Moms Are Back For More: A Bad Moms Christmas follows the mild success of Bad Moms, released only last year. The Christmas version reunites the characters played by Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn as three moms with wildly different personalities and parenting strategies who all have one trait in common: the desire to be bad. From getting food court drunk...

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A Ghost Story and the Power of Pie

M (Rooney Mara) sits in the corner of a room digging away at a pie. She viciously attacks the dish holding the pie, scraping the glass with her fork and feverishly tearing through every bite. The shot never changes. We watch her eat the entire pie. She has no clue that we’re watching or that anyone is watching. Standing about 10 feet behind her and framed to the right is a ghost under a white sheet. The spectral presence isn’t unfamiliar to us. We know it’s her late husband, C (Casey Affleck), watching her. The talk of this 5...

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Miracle and the American Family

A few weeks ago, we posed a question to the Audiences Everywhere staff: What movie best represents your understanding of America and your experience as an American? The current moment is a complicated moment to live in America, and a bit of introspection and cultural self-evaluation seems in order for everyone. So, starting on July 4th and continuing through the entire month, we will be running essay responses to this inquiry in an attempt to understand who we are as a nation. If you’re interested in participating, send your essay or pitch to submissions@audienceseverywhere.net. Next in the series, a look...

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The Last Knight and Michael Bay’s On-Screen Insecurity

Michael Bay movies are abnormal. They are almost essentially unfocused and tonally inconsistent; he over-saturates and frames his shots as to be almost unsettlingly beautiful; and he cuts his movies together in a way that challenges even the most extensive theories on rapid editing. But Transformers: The Last Knight is abnormal even for Bay. The fifth Transformers franchise installment scrambles for the brash and unashamed confidence of the other films, but it instead lands with extremely apparent insecurity. Amidst the bright colors and flying, fighting robots, Bay imbues his movie with a much less appealing element than the others: fear....

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Movies as Metaphor for Movies in Jan De Bont’s Motion Trilogy (Speed, Speed 2, Twister)

In 1896, audiences watched a mysterious screen showing a train quickly approaching a station. This experience exposed a brand new technology. Unaware of the consequences or implications of this technology, the audience ducked, expecting the train to crash through the screen and physically harm their bodies—or so goes the myth of the Lumiére brothers first screening of their film The Arrival of A Train (1896). While the validity of this myth has been argued, its essence remains essential to discussing film: film actively affects culture. In the more recent 1990s, the work of Dutch filmmaker Jan De Bont visually...

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‘Lincoln’ and the Forgettable Face of Daniel Day-Lewis

Moments before watching Lincoln (2012), my friend confessed to me that he was unsure whether he could pick Daniel Day-Lewis out of a crowd if he were given the opportunity. This sentiment rang true with me as well. His name signifies one of the greatest working actors to anyone with a big toe dipped in pop culture. You’d think with a reputation like that, his face would be ingrained in the memory of anyone who had seen it. In fact, it is the faces of his characters like Daniel Plainview (There Will Be Blood, 2007), Bill “The Butcher” Cutting (Gangs...

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