Tag Archives: Camera Obscura

Wednesday Collective…Blue is the Warmest Color – Gravity – Thor: The Dark World

I figure it’s time for another regular series. Tuesday is the day that new movies come out on DVD and Blu-ray, and Wednesday is the day we remember that. Maybe it’s because that’s when the week’s work-to-enjoyment ratio starts flipping in our favor. If you have to work the weekend, I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe reading about the Soviet calendar will make you feel better.

Every week, I’ll collect the best articles from here and others on this week’s new releases for home viewing. A link for each excerpt takes you to the full article…click away, and bring the internet a little closer together!

Blue is the Warmest Color

Blue is the Warmest Color

If Blue is the Warmest Color didn’t dominate the international festival circuit, it at least took over the media coming out of it. The NC-17 film about two women who fall in love took the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and, for the first time, the award was also given not just to the director, but to the film’s two actors.

Over at Camera Obscura, film theorist Alessia Palanti felt strongly about it, too: “Kechiche’s genius is that he deceivingly gives the audience the answer to the, by now, nauseatingly predictable question: ‘What do women do in bed?’ It is as if the Cannes award justified this kind of fetishism. And I ask myself if anyone stopped to consider their source: a heterosexual male director. If sexual explicitness is what credits the film’s ‘daring’ and (by god), ‘revolutionary’ quality (i.e. standing as a new mascot for LGBT, and specifically the ‘L’ community), then the notion of daring and revolutionary have been lost. It offends truly courageous cinematic endeavors…”


Gravity a

It almost never happens that a science-fiction movie stands a good shot at winning Best Picture. If you’re still wondering why Gravity, the story of an astronaut stranded in orbit, is one of the few, you’re in luck – nearly everyone wrote about it.

Blu-ray Downlow has a thorough write-up on the – you guessed it – Blu-ray release: “None of this sounds terribly different from any number of the other space films that have come out of Hollywood in the past, but Alfonso Cuaron’s direction and Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography take the film into uncharted territory. The film’s aesthetics bring to mind Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, but the story itself is more digestible to a mainstream audience.”

Erin Snyder at The Middle Room offered a unique take, comparing Gravity to a ride as much as a movie. “It’s definitely pushing boundaries. This has elements from video games, amusement park rides, and – yes – films. As such, it doesn’t deliver everything we’re used to getting from a movie, but instead gives us something a bit different.” He added, “There’s very little here that would survive being viewed at home.” The previews on my laptop still make me catch my breath, so I might be in the minority on that one.

Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys) are a pair of Australian bloggers who each raved about it, but did have issues with the story itself. “This is dazzling filmmaking and a journey you can’t afford to miss,” wrote Jordan. “However, whilst it is impossible to fault it on a production level…there is one area in which it is unfortunately left wanting: lasting emotional connection.” Eddie was more forgiving: “It could be any range of things from script conveniences through to some misguided character driven scenes, but really these are slight missteps in a movie universe that is totally and enthrallingly enjoyable for every last minute of its running time.”

I felt more connected to it and enjoyed it beyond the thrill ride level. “I can’t remember rooting for a character so hard, not just wanting but needing Bullock’s Stone to make it through. It’s not because she’s special or heroic. She is certainly those things, but it’s because she responds so very much like the rest of us. Her impossible tasks may happen in space, but her hopelessness and frustration feel just like yours and mine.”

Thor: The Dark World

Thor 2 Brothers

Thor: The Dark World, Marvel’s 8th movie in their Avengers universe, also comes out on home release today. Coincidentally, it’s the 8th time the Earth must be saved in as many movies.

The Middle Room’s Erin Snyder succinctly summed up something many of us are feeling. “I was about ready to write this one off when a funny thing happened. About forty minutes in, Loki stole the whole damn movie.”

I was similarly frustrated by the film. Funny enough, I couldn’t help but compare it to a B-movie Erin had introduced me to years earlier. “There’s a scene in Hudson Hawk, a 1991 action parody starring Bruce Willis, in which the hero leaps off a building. He survives by crashing through a roof and falling directly into the next scene. Everything continues without missing a beat. This is how Thor: The Dark World is written.”

What’s This? What’s This? There’s Color Everywhere

I’ve been reconnecting with my love for Scandinavian pop this week, so the inaugural Music Video of the Week is “The Drummer” by Niki and the Dove.

Wadjda. Haifaa Al-Mansour (Saudi Arabia, 2013)

Film essayist Alessia Palanti does an excellent job of writing about independent and foreign cinema. Please go take a look at her blog. Her contemplation on “Wadjda” is a good place to start, considering the first feature by a Saudi woman is released on DVD and Blu-Ray today, and I’ll also recommend her writings on “12 Years a Slave” and “The Great Beauty.” Enjoy!

Camera Obscura

wadjda From Riyhad, Saudi Arabia, where cinema’s silence is louder than its industry, comes Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Wadjda . This is the first feature ever made by a Saudi woman—that in itself a minor miracle. In fact, Al-Mansour had to direct many of the scenes with a walkie-talkie from the back of a van as the Saudi law forbid her to intermingle with the men on the crew. The filming process took five years, between such technical and production impediment

Many critics have called the film “deceptively simple,” and I will unapologetically steal that remark agreeing wholeheartedly that the film suspends tension even when it confronts it. Thankfully, it is not a film that preaches about women’s rights, or a woman’s struggles in Saudi Arabia. It evades the bleak undertones of a “BBC documentary series.”  All such issues are interwoven into a narrative that focuses on the life of one young…

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