Luca (2021)

Post-Lassiter Engineering Pixar/Disney finally dumped John Lassiter over his profoundly offensive behaviour. As consumers, we still pay part of our ticket for his buyout, but get the benefit of the second story team, previously suppressed by his understanding of story mechanics. Some of these are great. I liked the risk in ‘Lightyear’. But the front… Continue reading Luca (2021)

13 Going on 30 (2004)

Why Are Formulas Endearing? I just cannot understand why I find this endearing and repellent at the same time. I find it endearing because it sticks to tried and true formulas, and being easily hypnotised cinematically these formulas work on me. I am disturbed at the same time because I recognise those same movie-story formulas:… Continue reading 13 Going on 30 (2004)

13 Moons (2002)

Lost Characters You have a few choices when sitting down to write a story. One of these is to decide what sort of agency your characters have. To my mind, the best storytellers start with a world, a notion of sweeps within that world that creates situations or drives or needs. Within all those gusts… Continue reading 13 Moons (2002)

Killer Condom (1996)

No Protection When I enter one of these worlds, I expect risk. Not by itself of course, but paired with clever insight, unusual metaphor or sliding perspective. But above all, risk. Their risk is my risk. Quite literally, I enter these film relationships promiscuously without protection, bare, expecting permanent change. That’s why I have higher… Continue reading Killer Condom (1996)

Bloodsport (1988)

No Bruce Lee Bruce Lee invented a genre; Jackie Chan invented a genre; Sly Stallone invented a minigenre, all with various approaches to personal combat. But these guys deeply understood how film works so they could tap the relevant pressure points. Van Damme did not invent a genre here, despite the best efforts of his… Continue reading Bloodsport (1988)

Juwanna Mann (2002)

Tootsie Got Game One of the most disturbing trends in film is how we have started manufacturing “special audience” films. They used to have their own lives, their own autheticity. Here we have a mindless copy: “Tootsie” plays basketball. This goes beyond dumb and stereotypical — both of which are tolerable in movieworld — into… Continue reading Juwanna Mann (2002)

Joan of Arc (1948)

Burned Alive I wonder if there is anyone who can view this film with any sort of fondness today. Everything about it is false, with no element one can point to for relief. Yes it has Ingrid, but as wooden as a pike. Yes it has a powerhouse story, but rendered here lifeless. Even the… Continue reading Joan of Arc (1948)

The Jazz Singer (1980)

No Jazz I like to see remakes, because in many cases you experience two films at once: the film you are watching of course, and the one you recall. Usually that prior one is pretty good. In this case, it IS pretty good, and historically important too. It was the first popular talkie, and not… Continue reading The Jazz Singer (1980)