Velvet Buzzsaw (2019): Horror / Mystery / Thriller

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Hauntingly dark and beautiful drawings are found at a dead man’s apartment and upon their unlawful exhibition for personal profit, a price for greed comes along.

Fancy words, filthy words, art critique jargon, shiny dress code, and over the top personalities, to name but a few, characterise a snotty world that most of you, and most certainly myself, have never visited and probably never will. Hard to tell where writer/director Dan Gilroy stands and how he feels about this world he brilliantly depicts or why he chose such a sexual term for a title and that is pure magic.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, Toni Collette, Natalia Dyer, Daveed Diggs, and last but not least, John Malkovich give Gilroy’s surrealistic world flesh and blood and don’t hesitate to blow their performances out of proportion.

Gilroy was asked about the meaning of his film and in a cryptic manner, he responded that he would like people to perceive art differently. As we have proved time and time again that we can be a horrible species, I would say that I see where he is coming from and I’ll throw in my two cents. Instead of truly trying to appreciate and see art through the artists’ eyes, we make it all about ourselves, either by showing up at an illustrious museum just to be seen there or by benefiting from someone else’s expression. How? Most likely by fancily writing about it so we can look knowledgeable and special or by monetising it, upgrading our status at the same time. One way or another, we purely exploit it and try to hide the fact that we couldn’t do it ourselves.

Meaning aside and changing the subject, having watched numerous Netflix productions, once again, I would like to throw in my two cents. I think there is a resounding statement here that has been repeatedly given for quite a while now. By Netflix. “We don’t give a s#@% !!! Is your film thought-provoking? We’ll make it! Is it bizarre? Bring it! Is it something no one wants to produce? We will! We don’t give a s#@% which festivals accept our submissions! We couldn’t care less which studios alleviate our success! We spend billions and we make even more! And we do everything! We just… Don’t. Give. A. S%#@.

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Wonder (2017): Drama / Family

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Stephen Chbosky does his wonder once more – Yes, pun intended. Following the mind-blowing “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (2012), he now pens the screenplay and directs “Wonder”. In a nutshell, a homeschooled child suffering from mandibulofacial dysostosis, also known as “Treacher Collins syndrome” (facial deformity), attends for a first time a public school, entering the 5th grade.

Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson do an amazing job as the parents who struggle as much as their kid, and Jacob Tremblay, being the kid, proves again he is a prodigy child actor. Izabela Vidovic, Daveed Diggs, and all the child actors shine in front of the camera, with everyone knowing who they are playing and why.

“Wonder” is the side of Hollywood which gives hope that studio films are not all about undermining human intelligence, explosions, or exploiting disabilities and minorities for profit. Its plot and subplots are bound together proportionally, creating a perfect equilibrium. It recognizes talent, maneuvres around and delicately avoids buffoonery, soppiness, kitsch and cliche, and definitely recognizes a$$holes when it sees them, in every shape, age, race or form.

Get carried away and let it appeal to your humanity. As reality is, unfortunately, far more inhuman…

Blindspotting (2018): Comedy / Crime / Drama

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You Raiders fan? Oakland’s city lifestyle? Wanna roam through its street and its everyday people? If the answer is ‘yes’, watch it! If the answer is ‘no’, still watch it!

Cinematically… Director Carlos López Estrada, editor Gabriel Fleming, and writers / producers / actors Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs sat down and said: “Let’s cut the shit”! Literally and metaphorically. Not one shot is there for no reason. No line is there for no reason. No rap song sang is there for no reason. Anything that could be of no reason, has been cut!

And then there is real life… Films like “Blindspotting” are the reason to film. They remain truthful to their genres when in times of relentless crime, become the reason to laugh, and become the reason to cry. And they will remain the reason, as long as they remind us that be it black, white, brown, yellow or any other colour, all of us are trying to find our place in this world of labels; struggling with who we are, who we want to be, and who society drives us to be.