trying to come up with a thesis - Film School Thesis Statement Generator ain’t helping. any ideas, guys?
In Scott Coffey’s Adult World, former Nickelodeon star Emma Roberts takes on the difficult task of convincing an audience to root for an obnoxious, self-obsessed aspiring poet, and doesn’t quite stick the landing. She plays 22-year-old Amy, introduced to the audience in the midst of a half-hearted suicide attempt. Staring listlessly at a poster of Sylvia Plath, Amy first sticks her head inside of an oven, then thinks better of that “suicidal plagiarism,” opting instead to pull a plastic bag loosely over her head. This is a fitting first introduction to our heroine: melodramatic and a little ridiculous. She’s the kind of girl who relishes in her white, hipster, middle-class ennui, describing riding a city bus as “like being in Mogadishu.”
The film then flashes back a year. After Amy’s parents decide that they “can’t afford to subsidize” her poetry career anymore and tell her that she needs to grow up, the loan-saddled college grad moves out of their home. Hurt by their lack of faith in her, she pursues a literary career by stalking her favorite living poet, Rat Billings (John Cusack), and takes a job at an adult video store managed by a cute, affable twentysomething male (Evan Peters) with the words “love interest” practically tattooed to his forehead. There are a few comic scenes where the virginal Amy squirms in the presence of dildos and “sticky DVD returns,” but from the oversexed store owner played by Cloris Leachman, to the display of vibrators that Amy clumsily sends crashing to the ground when she first enters Adult World, the humor is as broad as a football field.
Adult World doesn’t quite fit the bill of a dark comedy, as it’s neither uproariously funny nor does it carry much dramatic import. Most of the time, as it leaps from broad slapstick to bleak, unironic melodrama, it’s difficult to tell what exactly it’s going for. But its bewildering atonality is at least in keeping with Roberts’s erratic performance. The world of the film, all contrived situations and caricatured people, revolves around Amy, who’s played by Roberts without the sort of charm that might have been redeeming in another actress’s hands; too often she settles for garish overstatement when a scene calls for nuance…
Read the rest here.
In 1950, United Artists released The Jackie Robinson Story, a biopic about the iconic athlete’s rise from the Negro Leagues to the Major Leagues, where he made history as the first black man to break the baseball color barrier. The film starred a then-31-year-old Robinson, playing a watered-down version of himself in a watered-down reenactment of the prejudices and indignities he faced as a black man in a white-dominated sport. Now, over sixty years later, writer-director Brian Helgeland presents 42, a well-intentioned, visually striking, but just as watered-down biopic that unfortunately fails to go much deeper than its predecessor.
Despite being over two hours long, the movie only chronicles a short period of Robinson’s life, focused mainly in 1947, the year baseball manager Branch Rickey (played here by a scenery chewing Harrison Ford) made history by signing the young athlete to the all-white Brooklyn Dodgers. Charismatic newcomer Chadwick Boseman is reminiscent of a young Denzel Washington (who was once attached to play Robinson in a Spike Lee joint that never got off the ground), but his and co-star Nicole Beharie’s talents go to waste on a script that is often schmaltzy and cliché, failing to delve deeper into who Robinson was outside the context of baseball.
The movie gets it right when it comes to the scenes of actual baseball playing - Boseman’s charm shines through the most in the tense, exciting moments where Robinson’s talent is so poignantly juxtaposed with the racism of those around him. And in one particularly powerful scene, he has a near breakdown after something like a ten minute, n-word laden verbal assault from the coach of an opposing team - but he regains his composure, the music swells, the crowd cheers, he turns the other cheek, steps out onto the field, and into baseball history.
42 is inspiring, but it’s also slightly reminiscent of movies like The Blind Side and Remember the Titans, films that seek to simplify racism through the context of sports, with its codes of sportsmanship and a pure sort of democracy which ensures that every man “deserves a fair shake” if he’s got the goods. Of course, it’s not that simple, and while the movie can’t very well take a pause to explicitly say that, it would have helped if it had more nuance and less formula…
Read the rest here.
Two Brown Girls - Episode 15
In this episode of Two Brown Girls, we discuss Atlantic City ratchetry, Roger Ebert, Christopher Abbott leaving Girls (and the mysterious “brown-ification” of his character on the show), The EPIC GREAT GATSBY TRAILER (in Zeba’s humble opinion), and finally the problematic elements of hip hop, starting with Rick Ross’s recent lyric controversy (trigger warning for discussion about rape starting approx. 22:00). Happy Sunday!
ALSO ANY AUDIO PROBLEMS YOU HEAR ON TODAY’S PODCAST TOTALLY AREN’T THERE AND YOU SHOULD PROBABLY GET YOUR EARS CHECKED CUZ OUR MACBOOK MICROPHONES ARE FLAWLESS!!
The dust has now begun to settle in the wake of the release of Spring Breakers, director Harmony Korine’s highly anticipated and now much-debated crime drama about four college co-eds who go on a crime spree during a holiday in Florida. By now, even if you haven’t seen the movie, you probably know a few things about it. You’ve probably seen the numerous promotional photos featuring former tween queens Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens clad in DayGlo, barely-there bikinis, toting semi-automatic guns and wearing pastel balaclavas. You know that James Franco also stars in the film as an over-the-top aspiring rapper and small time drug dealer (loosely based on real life hip hop artist Riff Raff) who introduces the wild young girls to a seedy underworld of drugs, sex, and violence.
It is Korine’s most accessible and most mainstream-esque film to date, thanks to its ex-Disney starlets and a marketing campaign targeted to the Tumblr generation, that features a partnership with Opening Ceremony for a special capsule fashion collection of $80 crop tops, sweat pants, and bikini sets that can be found plastered across the “soft grunge” blogs of teens who idolize the no longer wholesome Gomez and Hudgens.
The general consensus amongst critics is that the movie is a sort of “fever dream,” a cinematic echo of the excesses of reality television, celebrity culture, music video aesthetics and the disorienting, hypnotic thrum of dub step and southern rap. Still, weeks after its debut, there is ongoing debate as to whether Spring Breakers is art or trash, a biting social commentary or a vapid, exploitative, and over-hyped gimmick.
With its lingering, beautifully shot scenes of debauchery, filmed, as Korine described it in one interview, as if they were “lit by Skittles,” it isn’t hard to see why some responses to the film have accused it of glamorizing some of its more problematic elements. Several writers have suggested that the movie has racist undertones, which culminate with (spoiler) the spring breakers massacring a house full of black, stereotypical presented “gangstas.” Others have called out the movie for perpetuating rape culture through a male point of view that objectifies the young scantily-clad female bodies on view throughout most of the loosely-drawn narrative…
Read the rest here.
As some of you may know, the New Directors/New Films festival has been underway at the Film Society of Lincoln Center for the past week.
While the features section of most festivals usually get the most attention, the shorts section is boasting some pretty impressive work this year, including the New York premiere of female writer, producer, and director Basak Buyukcelen’s Take A Deep Breath.
The short, filmed in Turkey, stars Nesrin Cavadzade as a high school student who decides to take control of her own body after her parents take her to a gynecologist for a traumatizing “virginity test.” Above is a brief but pretty powerful teaser from the opening of the film (tw for violence).
I remember seeing the eight-minute short last year at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, and being absolutely floored by the sort of emotional impact it was able to make in such an apparently small amount of time.
So often I think we like to pretend that the policing of female sexuality is not a “modern” problem, that it’s something that only a small group of marginalized women have to deal with, but there was something very universal about the need, even now, to take ownership of one’s body.
If you’re in the New York area, you can catch the premiere screening of Take A Deep Breath along with several other shorts Saturday, March 30 at 1p or on Sunday, March 31.
Two Brown Girls - Episode 14
In this episode of Two Brown Girls, we discuss Tilda Swinton’s MoMA installation, Miley Cyrus and White Girl Twerking, the mystery of Amanda Bynes and her recent @drake tweeting, the controversy around Beyonce’s ‘Bow Down’, and Naomi Campbell’s (amazing) attitude problem on The Face. Also, a big thank you to our listener newjerseyhippie for making us some amazing new 2BG avatars! We can’t wait to use them! Happy Sunday!
Two Brown Girls - Episode 13
In this supersized episode of Two Brown Girls, we answer provocativegymnastic’s question about the upcoming Veronica Mars movie, discuss Amanda Palmer’s TEDtalk and crowd funding, Azealia Banks and Twitter beef (are black celebs held to a higher standard in the media than others?), and have a frank conversation about the nuances of last week’s Girls episode, ‘On All Fours’*. Happy Sunday!
*(trigger warning for talk about rape beginning at 34m and ending at 55m)
Accurate except for the Green Lantern part. Hal Jordan (who they based movie after) was the original Green Lantern and was white in the comics. John Stewart whom most know from the Justice League television series comes a little later after Hal.
Bless whoever made this.