Author: Redhead at the Movies

Battleship Potemkin: A Landmark of Silent Cinema Turns 90

Film is, in a sense, a repetitive medium; it is somewhat reliant upon remixing and rehashing old tropes, established conventions, and techniques that have been tested and perfected over time. This recycling is by no means a bad thing. Directors are inspired by those that came before them and pay homage to their creations. And even in the cinema’s earliest days, traditions were pulled from other art forms such as theater, literature, and photography. Yet, many of the things that make some of today’s movies so great started somewhere else entirely, somewhere deep in the creative recesses of a...

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A Horror-Comedy Classic Comes to TV in Ash vs. Evil Dead

Halloween this year brought fans of the Evil Dead franchise some beloved old tricks and a lot of new treats in the premiere of Ash VS Evil Dead on Starz. The cult-classic trilogy from Sam Raimi may not have needed a sequel series, but fans might tell you otherwise, claiming there is simply no more deserving series of films to receive the television revival treatment. Expectations for the series were almost impossibly high, with fans clamoring for something bigger and better but that would not abandon or sacrifice the gritty garishness that made the original films so beloved in the first place. To...

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Cinema Saints: Guillermo del Toro

  Guillermo del Toro, who celebrated his 51st birthday just last week (on October 9th, to be exact) and who will no doubt have even more reason to celebrate this week with the release of Crimson Peak, seems to be more active and more revered than ever before. Though his career spans more than two decades, it seems that many are just now catching on to del Toro’s fanboy brand of genius. Or, perhaps it is that he is finally getting to apply his impeccable imagination to more and more projects that are actually worthy of his mad, brilliant...

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The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s 40 Year Legacy

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a classic–whether you choose to throw the term “cult” on the front of that accolade is up to you at this point, considering the cultural stronghold the film has established and maintained over the last four decades. All of that being said, how does one really describe the film, doing justice to its inherent strangeness, its odd references, its nearly indescribable tone? It is a rock opera that pays homage to drive-in, sci-fi, B-movie fare and celebrates unbridled, unabashed sexuality in a singularly spectacular, wholly irreverent fashion. Even that sentence feels incomplete in...

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The Evolution and Importance of Horror Movie Final Girls

In certain ways and for fairly superficial reasons, horror is often seen as a masculine genre. That notion is not only outdated–it’s downright preposterous. Women can and do not only enjoy horror movies just as much, if not more, than their male counterparts, but they’re also an integral component of horror movie history in more ways than one. In various horror subgenres throughout movie history, women have been objectified and massacred brutally. There’s no way to write off this fact and certainly no easy solution to unraveling sex and violence after years of being dangerously entwined with one another...

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The 40-Year-Old Virgin 10 Years Later: A Legacy of Laughter

Time flies when you’re having fun, and the last ten years have certainly flown by upon the wings of modern comedy master Judd Apatow, propelled by his now-classic The 40-Year-Old Virgin. It truly is hard to believe that Apatow’s directorial debut premiered a decade ago; even with every great comedy film that’s come along since, it remains one of the most watchable and memorable ones out there. It is unrelentingly funny, and the jokes simply don’t get old. Which is to say, the film has aged very well over the years, or perhaps more accurately it has not aged at...

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Trainwreck Review: Welcome to the Big Leagues, Amy!

Overview: A boozy, sexually-free magazine writer who lives by her father’s ideal that monogamy isn’t realistic  starts to question her  lifestyle when she falls for  a charming, nice-guy sports doctor. Universal Pictures; 2015; Rated R; 125 minutes. Is It Funny?: The answer is a resounding yes– I missed certain lines from laughing so hard and so loudly, as one is wont to do in many a Judd Apatow viewing experience. Apatow’s distinct ability to make awkward or raunchy situations funny in a poignant kind of way comes through here. So, too, does his ability to handle more dramatic moments, and to...

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Let’s Stop Gender-Classifying Movie Genres

Sometimes I wonder if I was aware as a child of how pop culture products are artificially gendered by the mysterious powers that be– you know, the marketing agencies and television networks and movie studios and entertainment journalists that all seek to categorize and further dictate what media you should and shouldn’t consume. If I did know this, I didn’t seem to care: I consumed whatever I wanted to consume, with very little gender-coaxing from my parents. I remember making up soap operas with my Barbie dolls one moment, and action scenarios with my Legos the next, with equal enthusiasm and not an...

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The Persistence, Relevance, & Evolution of the Teen Slasher

The Gallows, opening in theaters this week, is pretty obviously a found footage horror film. The found footage aesthetic, which some may say is overused and long past its prime, is instantly recognizable even from teaser trailers of this film, with its use of shaky-cam shots amid eerie red-lighting, and the now-standard shot of audience members watching the film in a theater in full-on panic mode (a device most popularized by Paranormal Activity‘s marketing campaign). The Gallows revolves around a group of students who break into their high school at night to stop a misguided resurrection of the very same play...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #47: Exam

Exam (2009) Director: Stuart Hazeldine Genre: Psychological Thriller IFC Films Synopsis:  Eight individuals enter a windowless exam room. They’re all candidates for what we’re led to assume is a single job opening. We do not know what the job is. We do not the name of the company from which it is being offered. Overview: The rules that the candidates are given are simple: Each candidate has a piece of paper and a pencil. There is “one question before them” and “one answer is required,” but the papers are apparently blank. They cannot spoil the paper, either intentionally or...

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The Importance of Amy Schumer

Comedy can serve multiple purposes — besides and in addition to making us laugh, of course. Sometimes life is too ugly, too stressful, too unpleasant, so we seek out humor to make us forget, even if just for the duration of a sketch, a stand-up special or a dumb, raunchy comedy movie. Comedy also can help explain those negative aspects of life — or at least, to bring them to light, to expose their ugliness, their unpleasantness, their flaws and their hypocrisies. Comedy can present us with political truths, societal double-standards, and horrible facets of human nature. Without comedy,...

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Pitch Perfect: The Little Movie that Became a Musical Comedy Masterpiece

Pitch Perfect was the epitome of a sleeper hit; it was a critical success that went on to do well at the box office and has since garnered a massive cult following. I’d heard of it when it hit theaters in September of 2012, before it became as beloved as it is now, and I knew there was singing involved, of course. But overall, I went about my life at the time with little awareness or opinion of the film, that is, until I first viewed it on a plane a few months later. I’ve since seen the film...

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Five Episodes of The Twilight Zone That Could Make Great New Movies

The Twilight Zone is, for the most part, timeless– though many of its stories seem rooted in a Cold War era of paranoia, many others convey fears and preoccupations that seem inevitably attached to the human condition and our inherent vulnerability in light of forces we cannot identify or explain. I think that’s what makes us return to the series, or perhaps it is that the series never really leaves us. It is why certain tales of terror and suspense and psychological turmoil that Rod Serling gave us stay with us and why the show remains so classic, so universal,...

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The Non-Existence of Foreign Superhero Cinema

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we have very little access or exposure here in America to foreign “mainstream” films, with the exception perhaps of Asian horror or action movies, and the rare few European romantic and slapstick comedies hiding in the nooks and crannies of Netflix. So, it’s hard to know with certainty whether there are many foreign superhero movies to be found, but I think it’s safe to say that there aren’t. Even a simple Google search using those terms yielded few results. I think it all boils down to this: our domestic box...

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The Water Diviner

Overview: Russell Crowe’s directorial debut finds himself the subdued star of a sweeping World War I epic as Joshua Connor, an Australian farmer whose three sons have not returned home from the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915. After losing his wife four years later to the depression and madness this loss has wrought, he travels to Turkey to find his sons and bring them home. Warner Bros.; 2014 (Australia); Rated R; 111 minutes. Style and Substance: Crowe has worked with some of the most talented and dynamic directors in the business, and some of those sensibilities have certainly rubbed off on...

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