Happy mid-Summer! To celebrate the season of melted popsicles and colored beach umbrellas, we created a video focusing on our favorite Summer-set films and scenes! Put on your flip-flops, lay your beach towel down and enjoy the montage set to ‘Down the Line’ by the Beach Fossils.
If you’re looking to broaden your taste and try out something unconventional during this fine Criterion month, I’ve got you covered. This entry of the Criterion canon may be a newer addition, but it’s an older, influential work and a unique piece to the library of legacy. The Color of Pomegranates (directed by Sergei Parajanov) is a 1969 film dedicated to the life of the famous poet Sayat Nova, but it’s not your traditional biographical picture. Instead of an informative narrative following a cohesive journey recounting the events of Nova’s life, Parajanov prefers to capture the essence of his experiences through powerful, loosely connected audiovisuals. Influenced by the works of Tarkovsky, Parajanov seeks to use a surrealistic style to preserve the legacy of Nova and serve as a snapshot of Armenian culture.
If you’re a film fan, you probably have your mind made up on Marvel films at this point. You either like them enough or wish they would end, but they just keep coming! Personally, while I am not a fan of most of the early entries in the franchise, I’ve generally felt the latest offerings in Phase 3 have brought enough refreshing elements and a surprisingly mature amount of depth to popcorn entertainment. Ant-Man and the Wasp is the latest offering from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and sequel to the 2015 origin story. While it doesn’t pull the same punches or have as much thematic depth as Black Panther, it makes up for it with a charming cast that provides heart and tonal confidence to a film that takes it beyond what its predecessor reached.
It’s pretty well known that the first Ant-Man film was plagued with production issues- including the infamous firing of Edgar Wright due to creative differences. However, this is where Ant-Man and the Wasp gets to excel. Gone are the grievances over what could have been, and here are the best ways to build on what was established in the original flick. Reed displays a lot better directional skill here. The fight sequences are better staged, there are more uses of the shrinking and growing visual hooks, and in general, the tone is a lot more focused and energetic than the original (which looked like an NBC sitcom, at times) ever was. From the tiny car chases to the psychedelic VFX work of the Quantum Realm, there’s a lot more to savor this time around.
Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and the Wasp (Evangeline Lily) are just as fun as their size.
We here at Much Ado About Cinema are very obsessed with Frances Ha. It’s literally in the banner and branding of our website – Greta Gerwig running down the streets of New York without a care in the world. Because we all have this universal love for it, I thought there would be no better choice than to tribute one of the most memorable scenes in the film with this month’s video edit.
So here you have it, a tribute to running scenes in film set to “Modern Love”! Freely roam in pure, free-spirited bliss, then follow us on @muchadocinema on twitter for more content like this coming soon!
When your family rushes to the cinema to see Incredibles 2 this weekend, be sure you head there on time and bring a box of tissues while you’re at it. Pixar’s newest short film, Bao, plays right before every screening of the new animated sequel, and in my opinion, it might be their best short yet. It follows the story of a Chinese-Canadian mother adjusting to her empty nest, who one day creates a little dumpling child to take care of. This eight-minute animated short is home to some of the best high-grade animation, a beautiful score, and delicious animated food. But Bao is so much more than just a technical demo for Pixar – it also serves as a cultural piece! Told through visual storytelling, Bao captures the essence of a 1st and 2nd generation Chinese immigrant household and their family dynamics, as well as paying tribute to the love of Asian mothers.
There’s a lot to love about this short if you come from a family of Asian immigrants. The immediate thing I noted was the expressive, chibi-like art style that manages to successfully cartoonize Asian features, but doesn’t do so in a racist, caricaturist fashion. But thinking about the short since I saw it last Friday, I realized that it made me feel so much more validated and represented than most times I see myself in Western, Asian-targeted media. I then found out that the film was actually directed by a Chinese-Canadian woman, Domee Shi. Bao is the first Pixar short ever to be directed by a woman of any ethnicity, so already this short has made history and garnered lots of praise. I particularly want to highlight the successful way it captured the experiences of coming from a family of Chinese immigrants.
We may only be halfway through the year, but there have already been plenty of great movies to sink our teeth into. From slow-burn indie darlings to crowd-pleasing blockbusters, the past six months have provided something for all tastes, proving that we don’t have to be mid-awards season to experience great cinema. Check out the following 15 films that we think are the best of the best:
I had only one expectation for Drew Pearce’s directorial debut, Hotel Artemis. I wanted to have fun experiencing the amazing, star-studded ensemble cast play off one another. Unfortunately, it was never met. Instead, Hotel Artemis packs an unnecessarily convoluted narrative, unrealized world-building for a banal backdrop, and poor allocation of screen time, which results in a film that feels like a melting pot of half-baked concepts and ideas. The conclusion to the action romp loses any steam the movie had going for it, leaving you with a feeling of unfulfillment.
There is a slight amount of praise awarded for its solid performances and imaginative aesthetics (even if they never go far enough), but as it stands, this one-location action flick can never quite settle on what narrative footing, tone, or message it wants to leave us with. For a film that wastes so much time with feeding its audience expositional dialogue–from one-note characters about their motivation–the lack of understanding and control of its own world and setting is quite the accomplishment in itself. An anti-masterclass in “show don’t tell”.