Posts Tagged ‘Afterschool’

John C. Reilly Hates Children – Carnage & We Need To Talk About Kevin

Posted 24 Jun 2012 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Carnage, France / Germany / Poland / Spain, 2011

Directed by Roman Polanski

We Need to Talk About Kevin, UK / USA, 2011

Directed by Lynne Ramsay

Carnage exposes a fierce, boiling rage under the surface of the two wealthy, civilized couples in the film. The title of this piece is obviously a joke, as I have no concrete evidence to support the idea that the excellent actor John C. Reilly actually hates children. However, being born the fifth of six children and having now fathered two of his own, he undoubtedly related to some of the sentiments expressed in his two latest films, Roman Polanski’s Carnage and Lynn Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, both of which provide starkly different perspectives on why it just might not be such a great idea to have kids. Carnage is very funny, while Kevin is dark, dark, dark – but the underlying insights about human nature in both are decidedly bleak and brutal, regardless of whether they are cushioned by humor or not.  Read More

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Posted 22 Apr 2012 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Martha Marcy May Marlene, USA, 2011

Written and Directed by Sean Durkin

Martha Marcy May Marlene is an excellent, haunting film from first time writer-director Sean Durkin. Martha Marcy May Marlene is a wonderfully disquieting and haunting film, disturbing as much for what it doesn’t show us as for what it does. First-time director Sean Durkin gives us the story in disjointed bits and pieces, moving seamlessly back and forth in time in a way that puts the viewer fully into the confused head-space of its protagonist, Martha (Elizabeth Olsen, who handily proves with this one performance that she is by far the most talented of her sisters, who include the famous twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley). The film’s style gives it an almost documentary-like immediacy similar to recent films like Antonio Campos’s Afterschool or Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married (both 2008). The similarity to Afterschool is no coincidence, as Durkin was a producer on that film, and Campos is credited as producer on this one; together, they are proving to be a formidable filmmaking team, and certainly one to watch in the coming years. Read More

Intense Style – Afterschool & Love Is The Devil

Posted 09 Sep 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Afterschool, USA, 2008

Written and Directed by Antonio Campos

Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon, UK / France / Japan, 1998

Written and Directed by John Maybury

Afterschool is a chilling look at the effect of media saturation in the modern world. Today’s entry in the old Movies I Didn’t Get pantheon looks at two films made a decade apart that share one major unifying similarity, which is an abundance of visual style. Antonio Campos’s Afterschool and John Maybury’s Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon have very little else in common other than a similarly dark vision and the fact that each is the work of a single, distinct writer-director, but seeing them within about a week of one another, I was struck by how each of them create fascinating worlds through the use of highly unconventional cinematic techniques. In both films, the viewer is consistently thrown off-kilter by camera angles and distortions that create an intentional emotional distance, and at times even make it difficult (and therefore all the more intriguing) to see what exactly is going on in the edges of the frame that is our only window in. Read More