Karlovy Vary 2018: ‘To The Night’ Fails the Talents of Caleb Landry Jones

This piece is written by our guest writer Redmond Bacon.

Caleb Landry Jones was everywhere last year, playing supporting roles in movies as diverse as The Florida Project, Get Out and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Displaying such a great range, with every character wholly different, his own moment in the spotlight has been well overdue. Sadly, for him, To The Night, which sees him play a trauma victim suffering from psychotic episodes, will not be the movie to catapult him to leading man status.

He plays Norman, a man who survived a deadly fire as a child which killed his parents. Now he is a father himself, living in an atelier-like apartment with his girlfriend Penelope (Eleonore Hendricks ). Its hard to say what exactly he does as a job, although it looks like he might be an artist — creating a model of the house that his parents died in and the opening scene showing him at an exhibition. He is in desperate need of help, his psychotic breakdowns leading to him smashing up the apartment and even raising his hand to Penelope. Its not a pretty film to watch, and he is not an easy character to like.

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Karlovy Vary 2018: ‘Panic Attack’ Is the Perfect Way to Exorcise Your Inner Cringe

This piece is written by our guest writer Redmond Bacon.

Have you ever been confronted with a sudden moment that threatens to upend your life forever? Everything might be going swimmingly, but you never know when a brief revelation, mistake or threat can suddenly turn everything upside down. “Panic Attack” is the ultimate exploration of this theme, telling six intercut stories of protracted moments that will make you cringe right up until the end. If you have ever done something you look back on and go “Oh god why!” then “Panic Attack” is the perfect way to exorcise those demons. It’s probably not as bad as what these people go through.

The film telegraphs its sense of cathartic gloom straight from the beginning, starting with a radio host blowing his brains out. Then, in no particular order, we are shown: a couple on a plane with an annoying fellow passenger, a wedding caterer who is being blackmailed, a webcam actress hiding her profession from her friends, a young boy suffering from some extra strong cannabis, and a woman painfully meeting up with her ex. I’ll leave most of the description there as to tell exactly what happens in each segment is to ruin the fun of discovering it yourself.

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“We Truly Love Our Country” — An Interview with ‘Rafiki’ Director Wanuri Kahiu

This interview is by our guest writer, Redmond Bacon.

The Cannes film festival made history this year with the inclusion of Rafiki, the first Kenyan film to premiere along The Croisette. Playing as part of Un Certain Regard, it is also a ground-breaking piece of Kenyan filmmaking for its loving depiction of a same-sex relationship. I sat down with the director Wanuri Kahiu to discuss the ban on the film, the importance of religion in Kenyan culture, and why homophobia is un-African.

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Rafiki (2018)

Redmond Bacon: Can you explain the situation regarding the decision to ban the film in your country?

Wanuri Kahiu: The film was banned. This means it can’t be broadcasted, exhibited, distributed or be in anybody’s possession within the Republic of Kenya. That includes the poster and the trailer, although the trailer cannot be suppressed because it’s on the internet. But if we were to get a poster here and take it back home [then] we would be breaking the law. And it is possible to appeal, but you have to appeal to the same board that banned the film. So right now, what we’re doing is just concentrating on being here and being present in Cannes to represent the film. Once we get home we’ll figure out what the way forward is.

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‘The Big Lebowski’ and Pop Culture Religion

The exploration of religion is popular in all narrative media, from television, film, music, video games, and literature; many people find spiritual and religious inspirations from the products of those media, some of which have even produced their own religions. In the book Visioning New and Minority Religions: Projecting the Future, Pavol Kosnáč describes pop culture-based religion as “radically de-institutionalized, eclectic, fun, experimental, parody-and sarcasm loving.” Despite their nature, these kinds of religious movements are usually populated by people whose beliefs, membership and spirituality are as genuine as those of worshipers of traditional religions. Kosnáč explains that one example of how pop culture-based religions are created is through the interpretation of a film’s message and its impact on one’s life. In other words, the fans of the film take the message and shape it into an ethical system.

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‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is a grandiose spectacle like no other

In the post-credits scene of Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury approaches Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) about the Avengers Initiative. “Mr. Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe — you just don’t know it yet,” Fury says. Moviegoers were also being introduced to a bigger universe they didn’t know of yet. This one scene incited a tidal wave of change within pop culture — the superhero genre no longer had its nerdy reputation and the shared universe seemed entirely possible, no longer constrained to the pages of comic books. Back in 2008, no one could’ve guessed that 10 years later, a Norse god flying through space with a talking raccoon would practically be commonplace.

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Tribeca Film Festival ’18: Curtain Raiser

This Thursday marks the beginning of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, and it’s bound to be a thrilling two weeks in lower Manhattan. With a variety of events and screenings, Tribeca stands out as a festival that explores different types of filmmaking, especially in its inclusion of virtual reality. In light of the Me Too movement, the festival is also hosting a Time’s Up event to further the conversation about sexual harassment in Hollywood, though the festival seems to be taking initiative in including women in film with the many films by female-filmmakers featured in the line-up. This year’s festival looks to be a phenomenal one, so here are a few recommendations.

 

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Woman Walks Ahead ©A24 and DirectTV

 

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Netflix v. Theatrical Release: An Essay

Recently, legendary director Steven Spielberg went on record stating that he believes that films premiered on streaming services like Netflix should be considered TV movies eligible for Emmys rather than Oscars. This topic isn’t new as the Cannes Film Festival has had issues with Netflix Originals. Attempting to differentiate films by their distribution, however, will lead to a dangerous, elitist territory in Hollywood.

 

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The Incredible Jessica James ©Netflix

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