Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Thursday, December 11, 2014
This semester, I found myself partially engaged in questions of what makes a film subversive. There
are moments in time where something may be described as such because of the rules it breaks in terms of form or acceptable content, others where the politics of a movie seem to move in opposition to popular opinion. In discussing the conditions that could make for subversive, or, at the least, rebellious cinema within the American studio system, the conclusions seemed to fall into a few camps. All felt that the most subversive acts had to have some kind of financial backing that would push them in front of the largest audience, though many were wary of essays and claims that The Lego Movie or Transformers or Captain America: The Winter Soldier successfully managed the transgressive acts ascribed to them. My class seemed more compelled by the notion that two current films had that possibility, the first was The Interview - picked largely because of the seemingly very real political response it has been met with - and Mockingjay Part 1. They chose Mockingjay with the understanding that the second half of the film will likely (ok, undoubtedly) reverse the logic by which they felt this first half manages a type of subversion. I've been weighing this since. The longer I've held off writing about the film, the more I'm inclined to agree with them: this is a blockbuster that manages something most cannot, and the varied responses to those impulses are the best indicators of its trespasses.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Lately, Disney has achieved a level of brand synergy that feels almost supernatural. Its star houses are fully aligned: the Pixar world's emotional resonance has rubbed off on the Disney in-house animation studios, Marvel has built a type of cross-generational magic, and that Star Wars trailer? It is on point, my friend. Disney can do no wrong (Planes: Fire and Rescue excepted), and as they tear through this winning streak they're doing so with an emphasis on heart and raw entertainment that's damn near unprecedented. No string of companies can make you cry as much as you laugh quite like them, and if one proves it can it's certainly not likely to repeat the formula successfully a second, third, and fourth time in as many releases. All that is to say: Big Hero 6 is good. So good. Squee-inducing good. It's everything one could wish for from a family film; a feel-right movie that pulls off its hat trick without sacrificing the action and humor that has made so many of the recent Marvel franchises critical darlings.