Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Amazon’s excellent reboot seems more interested in interrogating Bond movies and television domestic dramas than its thin source material.
So, remember that movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Not the Alfred Hitchcock Mr. and Mrs. Smith from 1941, the Doug Liman one about the two married assassins that end up trying to kill one another? (No, Scott Bakula was in the television show from the 90s about two married assassins called Mr. and Mrs. Smith.) This is the 2005 movie with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Remember all the tabloid stories about their relationship? Great! Do you remember the film itself? Kinda? Yeah, that’s exactly the kind of movie it was. Neither good nor bad, Mr. and Mrs. Smith modestly cleared the “watchable” bar mostly on the backs of its cute premise, Pitt and Jolie’s magnetism, and competent (if unremarkable) direction.
It is, in that respect, a perfect candidate for a reboot - just good enough for you to wish someone had put in the work to make it better. Now, almost twenty years later, someone has. Continue Reading →
The Doom Generation
“A heterosexual movie by Gregg Araki,” The Doom Generation’s opening credits read. It’s the first of many jokes for Araki’s first film with a crew, shot for $1 million in January of 1994. None of the humor is apathetic, though. It’s like its characters in that way: caustic, yes, even to a fault at points. But the kids at the center of The Doom Generation aren’t apathetic, at least not at the beginning. They’re a conceptual trio of id, ego, and superego filtered through Araki’s lens to serve the narrative, an anti-American mind due to their identities and personal lives. But as they realize their selves individually and as a whole, their heterosexual, monogamous environment relegates them to sameness. Continue Reading →
Beau Is Afraid
If there’s anything Ari Aster wants you to understand after watching his newest film, it’s that he’s funny. With just three feature films under his belt, Beau Is Afraid marks both a massive departure from his previous films and a solidifying of his style. It’s a movie about terror, without a ton of interest in being terrifying. More specifically, it’s a movie about the absurdity of fear and the ridiculousness of human nature. And yeah, it’s definitely about moms, too. Continue Reading →
A blandly suited district attorney steps up to the podium to make his opening statement.“In a very real sense, this case is about pretense and appearances,” he intones. “It’s about things not being as they seem.” Continue Reading →
Josie and the Pussycats
By the time Josie and the Pussycats premiered in theaters in April 2001, the pop culture universe of the early aughts was already in full swing. Dissenting and raging against the machine was out, and corporate partnerships and glossy production values were in. Total Request Live was the hottest television show on the air, and it had only been eleven months after Britney Spears released Oops! I Did it Again and became the official celebrity endorser for Got Milk, Clairol, and Polaroid. The Spice Girls had just gone on hiatus, and it was the height of the Backstreet Boys vs. N*SYNC fan wars. Post Y2K and only a few months before 9/11, the Dot-com bubble was imploding and consumerism was already at an all time high. Continue Reading →