Heart of Stone
In the 2023 sea of action movies, setting yourself apart from others becomes increasingly hard. John Wick: Chapter 4, Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part 1, Extraction 2, and more have sparked an action cinema revival. It’s a rebirth that I am incredibly grateful for, certainly. Continue Reading →
Fantasa International Film Festival gets wild.
Animals feature prominently in our first three films of the 2023 Fantasia International Film Festival. From the bottom of the ocean to the reaches of the Arctic, these films mix their natural settings with unnatural mediums to create enchanting works that are wondrous to look at. Though they have different objectives, these films remind us that cinema is a world of dreams that combines things from our lived reality with our limitless imagination.
(Tribeca Film Festival
Deep Sea Continue Reading →
The military drama Heroic overcomes cliché to capture structural horror.
A significant string of recently released movies centralize crises of faith. The lead suffers abuse, boiling until they burst. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, a subconscious metaphor for how authoritarianism and the crushing realities of oppressive institutional forces are increasing the temperature and pressure of the citizenry that will inevitably lead to a rupture. In 2022 there was God’s Country, The Beasts, and Women Talking. Now at Sundance, we have Heroic, a Mexican drama unfolding inside a military school. Director David Zonana’s film may resemble several movies that use this same arc. However, it distinguishes itself with careful direction and surreal depictions of how the mind processes abuse and vengeance.
Zonana films hazing rituals and routine drills with an eye for visual geometry that distinguishes power levels. Young recruits, referred to as “potros” (colts), always move on the sides of the frame or undistinguished as square or triangular squadrons when conducting gun rituals. Officers remain centered, maintaining authority with both direct physical presence and as a distant watchful eye. Continue Reading →