Of all the oddly specific sub-genres out there my personal favourite is, without a doubt, the “boy and his (insert strange creature that they befriend here)” coming-of-age film. In these films a child, usually a boy but sometimes a girl, finds a strange fantasy or science-fiction creature that is not of this world who they form an unlikely bond with.
It’s a sub-genre whose catalogue includes great films like E.T the Extra-Terrestrial, Pete’s Dragon and Flight of the Navigator. Whole franchises are built out of it; the Pokémon movies the live-action Transformers (especially the recent Bumblebee) are just two examples. If I had to choose a personal favourite it would be The Iron Giant. If I had to choose a second favourite it would be 2010’s How to Train Your Dragon. Continue reading
If I had a dollar for every time I thought “are you kidding me” while watching Green Book I would have made enough money to bribe of every critic who voted on the Golden Globes to retract every award they gave it (save for Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali because he’s pretty good). You may respond “well that seems a tad harsh, it can’t be that bad” and that would be a fair response. Green Book is a perfectly pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
It’s competently constructed; the actors do the best with the material they are given; it borders on rewarding sometimes. However, the rest of the time Green Book is a crushingly uninspired film that is so desperate to please everyone that it ends up a toothless. Green Book presents itself as a progressive film, but in reality, is a hollow reminder that despite taking huge leaps in terms of diversity (Black Panther, Blackkklansman, Crazy Rich Asians) Hollywood is still deeply regressive. Continue reading
There’s a scene early in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange where Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) and his gang of “droogs” run into a rival gang midway through engaging in an evening of “ultra-violence”. Alex and the droogs stop what they’re doing (raping a group of women) and fight the rival gang. While the scene unfolded, I couldn’t help but think of a of a quote from the seminal Australia young-adult novel, Tomorrow When the War Began. It reads:
“People, shadows, good, bad, Heaven, Hell: all of these were names, labels, that was all. Humans had created these opposites: Nature recognised no opposites. Even life and death weren’t opposites in Nature: one was merely an extension of the other. All I could think of to do was trust to instinct. That was all I had really. Human laws, moral laws, religious laws, they seemed artificial and basic, almost childlike.” Continue reading
Grease is not a good movie. Grease is not a particularly good musical either. By any ostensible measure of quality Grease is average at best, and that’s being generous. It is poorly structured, poorly plotted, and poorly made… and yet there is something undeniably infectious about it.
Just look at the showstopping “Greased Lightning” to see what I mean. I use the word showstopping because it’s a wonderfully cheesy musical set-piece, akin to Gene Kelly singing in the rain in Singin’ in the Rain. I also use the word showstopping because it literally stops the movie dead in its tracks. There’s no reason for “Greased Lightning” to exist in the context of the movie. The song doesn’t progress the plot in any meaningful way and we don’t learn anything new about the characters either. Continue reading