A hostile situation on a deep sea sub off the coast of North Korea – it’s sadly not as fun as it sounds.
The world is teetering on the edge of doom. So says a montage of real-life footage that plays over the opening passages of Ben Parker’s The Chamber, highlighting the fragility of international relations. The precarious global situation even impacts a small submarine as it surveys the Yellow Sea on behalf of a private company looking to establish oil rigs in the area.
The question of how to make a great sequel, especially over two decades later, is one that is often asked but rarely answered satisfactorily. With legacy sequels, you have a wide range of uses of nostalgia. There’s Harrison Ford’s, “Chewie, we’re home,” that made people cry simply watching a trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and on the other end of the spectrum there’s Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, looking out of place in his own franchise. T2 Trainspotting faces the cultural significance of the original film straight on, with the characters as obsessed with their past adventures as its fans are.
Read the full review here →
Here are a list of my favourite articles and video essays from in 2016. I made the list as I was going along, and like last year, most of this – if not all – is related to film. I still have plenty of bookmarks to read, which will be added to this over time. I will also likely be writing a longer post on the films I saw in 2016 in the vein of last year’s, but that will probably be here nearer the end of the month.
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A number of people have this year pledged to at least attempt to watch one female-directed film for every week of 2016 (I believe it started with a campaign by Women In Film Los Angeles). I was one of these people, and have been surprised how difficult it was to keep it up. It’s not because I don’t watch enough films – as I’ve watched close to 300 films this year; around 5 films a week. The problem is that if I were to simply watch films paying no attention to the gender of the director, the number of films directed by women would be less than the 20% needed with those stats. The actual number of women directing films in the industry is closer to 7%.
So, I ended up spending quite a while creating lists. I scoured “Best female filmmakers” lists online, added personal recommendations, checked the IMDb credits for the films I came across… rest assured I got pretty sick of seeing the smiling publicity photos of white dudes. I then checked where these films were available – specifically whether I could access them through on-demand services I use like Amazon Prime, Netflix and Sky Cinema. Still, it was difficult, and often the films that I found the most were indie dramas and documentaries. Nothing inherently wrong with them, but after a hard day’s work, sometimes I don’t want to start watching a film about a school shooting or fraught human relationships. I started running behind, but managed to catch up during December, which happened to give me a number of fantastic films I had never heard of before.
I may have made this more difficult for myself by assuming the rule that it couldn’t be a film I had ever seen before, and eventually decided to not count short films or the segment Allison Anders directed for Four Rooms either.
In the end I logged 53 films; two were short films, 12 were documentaries.
You can find the full list, ranked from favourite to least favourite, here
I don’t post everything I post on Audiences Everywhere on this site, so the group and list posts often don’t feature here. I thought I’d put the links to them all in one post here, alongside some of my more thought-out Letterboxd reviews
I also love making lists on Letterboxd too, here are some of my favourites:
When I was growing up, I knew about Rocky. That’s to say – I knew of Rocky. I’d seen the poster, I knew that Sylvester Stallone was a movie star, I knew that at some point he shouted “Adrian!” Like most that haven’t sat down and watched any of the Rocky series, I felt like I already knew the story – and in a way, I did. It is a fairly straightforward underdog story in a lot of ways, which makes it hard to convince non-believers of its worth. The language that Rocky himself uses is simplistic, but the melodrama of the series’ middle casts a shadow over what is otherwise a nuanced, delicate character study.
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If you ask anyone what they know about Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France, most will quote “Let them eat cake”. As a response to the starving poor of the country she reigns over, it’s the clearest expression of either privileged ignorance or a facetious disregard of the lower classes. It’s worth noting then, that her most famous quote wasn’t said by her at all. The phrase originally appeared in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Les Confessions, where he speaks of a “great princess” who made the remark. Whether or not it really happened, the writing date precedes Marie Antoinette’s arrival in France. In fact, she was nine years old in a different country. Regardless, it’s what she continues to be remembered for. The Queen became increasingly unpopular leading up to the French Revolution, and her extravagant spending lead her to be called “Madame Déficit.” She was further maligned, partly for her gender and Austrian birth, ultimately becoming a symbol of excess and an callous monarchy. I suppose it may be fitting, then, that Sofia Coppola’s 2006 biopic Marie Antoinette is also misunderstood, and as far as I’m concerned, one of the most underrated films of this century.
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