Spectre: The Blog Review

Spectre might be Daniel Craig’s last film as the enviable James Bond, but even if he returns, the film is part of an era of Bond that was transformative for the series. Films like Casino Royale and Skyfall were some of the better Bond films since the series inception in 1962. Sean Connery makes me giddy in a way none of the other Bond actors ever have, but goddamn if Craig didn’t come close to dethroning the king. Even if it Spectre isn’t as special as its predecessor Skyfall, it’s a bloody good Bond movie.

Even if you didn’t see Skyfall, you heard the eponymous track by Adele, which in my opinion, was one of the best songs of her career. How was the Bond series going to one-up the infallible Adele? With Sam Smith – duh. I’m not even that big a fan of the guy; I thought “Stay With Me” was un-inspired and boring.

But Spectre’s theme song, “Writing’s on the Wall” by Smith is a perfect balance of piercing falsetto mixed with epic operatics. The story hadn’t even started and this moving, tragic ballad had me tearing up.

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Spectre is unapologetically sexy. Daniel Craig and Léa Seydoux are both in peak form. Seydoux, who plays Bond girl Madeleine Swann, is breathtakingly beautiful; she’s reminiscent of Honor Blackman in Goldfinger or Marilyn Monroe in The Asphalt Jungle. She’s a total badass as well, saving Bond’s life at least twice. The two look ravishing together.

Plus, Bond is dressed to the nines in every scene. I want every outfit, even if I’m going to go into debt acquiring just one piece from his wardrobe. Fashionistas, check out a bunch of the looks from the film, neatly organized here.

After they kill Bond-baddie Mr. Hinx – played by former wrestler Dave Bautista – Bond and Swann lie panting on the floor of a moving train. Catching her breath, Swan asks innocently “What do we do now?” Cut to them ripping each other’s clothes off in their sleeper. The flirtation is minimal, the passion is raw.

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10 reasons you need to go see Steve Jobs

On Wednesday night at the AvonIvy Film Fest and Brown Motion Pictures teamed up to bless Brunonia with a free screening of Aaron Sorkin’s latest film, Steve Jobs. Here are 10 reasons why you must go see it:

1. Michael Fassbender. Simply his presence in the film is enough of a reason to go. Should I just end the list now? Not only is Michael Fassbender unquestionably and extremely attractive, but he also just happens to be a fantastic actor. Can’t we all just take a minute– and by minute, I mean the two hours that are Steve Jobs— to appreciate him?

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You’ll have to go see the movie if you want to behold those ridiculous sneakers.

2. For the last third of the film, Fassbender wears what might very well be the whitest and most-clunky looking sneakers you have ever seen. They look like moonshoes. It’s awesome. They held my attention for so long that they should be billed in the credits as supporting actors.

 

3. Remember little B.B. from Kill Bill Vol. 2? She’s all grown up now and in her first recognizable role since Kill Bill (seriously, where do the child actors go?). And she’s actually very good as Steve’s semi-estranged teenage daughter, Lisa.

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If you haven’t seen the Kill Bill movies we have some bigger issues to discuss here.

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Stay, thou art so beautiful: A review of, and rumination on, Whiplash

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I was enrolled in a RISD drawing class last semester. The professor had told me that Brown students in his course usually dropped out by midway through the semester; he described it as a sort of drawing boot camp. I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember, and while I wouldn’t say I’m particularly talented, it’s peculiar how lost I can get in the work; hours might go by while I’m working on a few details, and I’d be none the wiser. I figured that I ought to take advantage of RISD being right down the hill, and signed up for this apparently brutal slog as a fifth class. I love drawing, after all.

I dropped the class in mid-October. I regret it. J.K. Simmons’ character in Whiplash, Terence Fletcher, would say that I just “don’t have it.”

The film follows 19 year-old Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) as he studies under Fletcher at Schaffer Music conservatory in New York City, the most prestigious music school in the country. Andrew wants to ascend to the heights of the all-time great jazz drummers, like Buddy Rich, and Fletcher’s ambition is to mold the next great jazz musician, a new Charlie Parker, by whatever means can forge such a talent. Fletcher takes Andrew under his tutelage, to the latter’s initial delight, but the consequences of Fletcher’s drive soon become apparent.

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This Week at the Avon: Gloria

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I knew that I wanted to see Gloria when I first saw its preview a few months back. The two-minute clip didn’t give away much—there was a quirky-looking middle-aged woman in thick-rimmed glasses laughing by herself a lot and some empowering Spanish music. The film was attractive because it looked like both a feel-good indie film and a likely projection of someone I could relate to in thirty years. Now that I’ve seen it, I can’t say the protagonist and I are quite the same. Gloria is way, way cooler.

Gloria delves into the life of your typical divorcée who has lost herself and her sense of purpose in the rubble of family, friends, and daily life at work. Though she fits the mold of millions of characters we’ve already met, there’s something whimsical setting Gloria apart. Directed by Sebastian Lelio and starring Paulina Garcia, Gloria was shot and takes place in Chile. The movie is acted in Spanish and paired with subtitles, yet felt just as relatable as your go-to rom-com about old folks smoking weed and falling in love (It’s ComplicatedThe Notebook, etc.).

The best thing about Gloria isn’t even the inherent need to cheer alongside her as she kicks ass in all that she does. Rather, it’s the small details so cleverly snuck in. For example: in the first few minutes of the film, Gloria returns home to find an ugly cat in her foyer that belongs to a neighbor. No matter how many times she shoos the cat away, it constantly finds a home in Gloria’s bachelorette/hip grandma pad throughout the film, teasing her spinster way of life. Gloria will have great sex but will return home to find the cat; she goes bungee jumping and then finds the cat. As we follow Gloria through a romance more youthful than some I’ve experienced, undertones of aging linger constantly. The film, therefore, becomes whatever you want it to be. A moderate chick-flick for the intelligent woman; a clever love story for the avant-garde guy.

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A Misanthrope’s Guide to the Movies: Inside Llewyn Davis

Although its official nation-wide release date isn’t until December, Inside Llewyn Davis played a one-night engagement at Providence Place Cinema last night for Brown students, courtesy of the Ivy Film Festival. While probably not destined for the same fame as Fargo or The Big LebowskiLlewyn Davis came equipped with the slow pace, minimal overt plot and dry, humorous dialogue audiences have come to expect from Joel and Ethan.

Inside Llewyn Davis takes its viewers through something like 72 hours in the life of struggling singer-songwriter Llewyn Davis. We meet Llewyn as he is essentially homeless having recently lost his singing partner, impregnated his friend’s wife, and stolen another friend’s cat. But the film is not about redeeming this otherwise anti-hero—it simply provides a window into his downward spiral. The movie literally ends with Llewyn face-up in an alley (calm down, that ruins absolutely nothing), and the reminder that for every Bob Dylan success story, there are hundreds just like Llewyn: broke and alone. And does this mean they should abandon their art for less inspiring, more lucrative careers? Is music a career or party trick? I don’t know. The movie leaves far more questions than answers. But the biggest question I asked myself as the film ended was why? Why did I just spend 105 minutes with this character?

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A Misanthrope’s Guide to the Movies: “Ender’s Game”

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The book Ender’s Game inspired my life. I’m not a sci-fi freak, but anyone who has read Orson Scott Card’s masterpiece understands that it is much more than a fantasy novel. In 7th grade, I wrote an essay about how I was going to become an astronaut and train in a zero gravity “battle room” just like Ender did—and that’s still kind of my life dream. I was hoping to live my fantasy on the big screen, but the movie, based on the book and released a couple weeks ago, was more laughable than inspirational.

For those who have neither read the book nor seen the movie, here’s a quick synopsis: Earth was attacked by aliens and we fought them off the first time, but we need to attack them again before they wipe us out. Brilliant children are recruited to become space army commanders, and Ender Wiggin is the military’s last hope. He goes to battle school in space and trains to fight the aliens. It’s kind of a mix between The Hunger Games and Star Wars. I admit this sounds a little ridiculous, but trust me, it’s powerful stuff. Continue Reading