TRAILER SALAD VII: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, COMET, TOP FIVE, A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, IN THE HEART OF THE SEA, THE GAMBLER, EX MACHINA, SUITE FRANÇAISE

Well, you’ve probably already seen this trailer, so let me just say: yeah, it looks pretty good. More directorial flair than the first Avengers (the shot of the ballerinas; the shot of the gurney wheel), a more interesting antagonist (because James Spader is a beast), and overall seemingly higher stakes. It’s a given I’ll see this, so…I might as well look forward to it.

This, on the other hand, you probably haven’t seen, which is a shame, because this looks pretty awesome. I’m not the only one to get an Upstream Color vibe from it, but it seems to have a tone of its own (more like a cross between UC and Mood Indigo), some gorgeous cinematography, potentially dazzling editing…and an interesting lead couple in Justin Long (whom I’m warming up to) and Emmy Rossum (who…we’ll see how she does). Add in the good reviews this has gotten to date, and I’m sold.

Continue reading

DEAR WHITE PEOPLE Review – ****

"I'm so sick of your 'tragic mulatto' bullshit--" "You can't say 'mulatto'--" "Oh, mulatto, mulatto, MULATTO!!!" "Did somebody say 'mulatto'?" ()

“I’m so sick of your ‘tragic mulatto’ bullshit–“
“You can’t say ‘mulatto’–“
“Oh, mulatto, mulatto, MULATTO!!!”
“Did somebody say ‘mulatto’?” (Source)

In the midst of a tense confrontation under the guise of an academic warning, President Hutchinson (Peter Syvertsen) tells campus firebrand Sam White (Tessa Thompson) that she longs for the days of lynchings and Jim Crow, because that would give her something to truly fight against. As ignorant and hateful as Hutchinson, he’s more right than even he might have guessed. For Dear White People takes place in a time and place where racial tensions are just as potent, but manifest themselves in ways which are hard to identify and harder still to combat.

The real crime, in the world of Dear White People, is not violence or exclusion, but that so many of the people who live and (try to) learn at Winchester University cannot be themselves, because they are stuck in a system which demands they label themselves, pick a side, and stick to it. The tragedy of Dear White People is the denial of the true self. That it manages to be incredibly funny at the same is its genius.

Continue reading

IKEA Julmust Review

wpid-imag1586.jpg

An IKEA recently opened up near me, and since I can’t really afford to furnish my apartment with their goods, I focused on the next best thing: their food! Meatballs, vegetable cakes, those little dome-shaped marzipan desserts…you name it. And I’d heard from an acquaintance in Sweden that IKEA carried julmust, a holiday beverage, around the holiday season. I went today, not even expecting to find it–yet there it was.

So I opted to try it without delay–and out of an IKEA glass, no less! So let’s just see how this “festive” drink is.

Continue reading

TENDER MERCIES: A Tribute in the Form of a Review

The "perfect film". ()

The “perfect film”. (Source)

I haven’t delved into my personal life much on this blog, yet as sure as I’ve written every word myself, you can be sure each word came from sensibility as unique as yours, shaped, as all sensibilities are, by the people and places and experiences which make up a life. One’s mother, it is often assumed, is a major influence on one’s tastes, experiences, morality, and overall character. Such was the case for me.

8 days ago–October the 20th–my mother passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. While, especially in retrospect, the fact that her time was running short was sadly apparent, it was still something of a shock that she went from living her life as usual (within the constraints imposed on her by her weakened condition, which were not enough to stop her from going to work), to losing her strength, then her consciousness, and then finally her life, in so short a timespan. Tuesday she went to work; Friday she went to the hospital; Monday (in the wee hours) she passed away.

Now, she was not quite the film buff I or my father am, but she liked movies, and there were a few she frequently cited as favorites. Two of them, Excalibur (arguably the greatest Arthurian film) and Never Cry Wolf (an amazingly beautiful portrait of life in the Arctic), I had previously seen and well admired. But she held Tender Mercies in exceptional regard; she would often say it was simply a “perfect” film. And with her passing, it seemed to me that the best tribute I could offer would be to review it, since I’d never seen it. That meant pushing back a number of other posts–but I think I can allow it.

Now, do I think Tender Mercies is a perfect film? No. But it is a sweet, unpretentious, thoughtful little look at lives in a minor key, a film which overcame its own obstacles to win two Oscars (Best Actor for Robert Duvall and Best Original Screenplay for Horton Foote). That it has since fallen somewhat into obscurity is a shame, but thanks to Mom, I was hardly ignorant of it. And it’s an oddly appropriate choice for this occasion, as I’ll explain.

Continue reading

Rummy Review

wpid-imag1574.jpg

For a long time, I wanted little to do with grapefruit. I found it far too tart for my unrefined palate. Having since become quite fond of grapefruit juice, it seemed meet that I should try a grapefruit soda. From the Excel Bottling Company (whose work I’ve tried before), it’s Rummy, the inexplicably named grapefruit soda!

Continue reading

THE HOURGLASS SANATORIUM Review – ****

Just another day (for there are no nights there) in the Hourglass Sanatorium. ()

Just another day (for there are no nights there) in the Hourglass Sanatorium. (Source)

Rarely do I have the pleasure of truly having to interpret a film. Usually, it’s just straightforward enough that I can get the gist of it, or it’s obvious there is no gist to get, or others have already written so copiously about the film that the job is done for me. But not this time. This time, seeing a fairly obscure film, and having done only a small (though crucial) amount of research, I’m going to attempt to get to the bottom of this.

Whether or not I am satisfied with what I find does not change one thing: in terms of mise en scène, The Hourglass Sanatorium is an absolute masterwork. Wojciech Has’ direction, the cinematography, and the production design are some of the finest I’ve ever seen, and much of the time my jaw dropped at the sheer spectacle (in glorious–and I mean glorious–color) spread across the screen. As a narrative, even as a deliberate mindfuck, it proves more difficult, and I admit I was more often than not baffled by the goings-on, brilliantly staged as they were. But I’m going to see what I can do to understand–as much as one can understand such a film.

Continue reading