So, here’s what happened: somebody, at some point, played Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies. Or maybe Wolfenstein. Most probably both and decided, “Yeah, I could do that.” Then they went and did it.
To celebrate the centenary of the Great War, one of cinema’s great technical fabulists has attempted to change the way that we process our history. Peter Jackson has colourised, digitised and converted into 3D the cinematic and photographic documentation of the life of British soldiers on the Western Front. Of course this caused controversy in the world of film preservation, whether it was right to adulterate the footage in this way. Should one provide voices to the men caught only in video 100 years after the fact? Is it possible to add colour without adulterating the political and aesthetic intent of the original documentarians?
When I was a kid my dad’s favourite album was Queen: Greatest Hits. In our living room we had a fancy hi-fi which could hold 3 CDs in it at once. Well, two, considering the top spot was reserved for that record. My older brother had cassettes of pop music which he played on a small tinny sounding thing in his bedroom. In family spaces it was basically either Queen, or church music. I listened to a lot of Queen — but only their greatest hits.
The way that Crystal Moselle shoots skateboarding feels a lot like anybody else would shoot flying. It is loose and liberating, the camera gliding alongside as they perform, humanity captured in the shared joy of movement. The drama of Skate Kitchen comes in the fact that this promise is not one held up by society. While the skate park should itself be a meritocratic space, your skill on the board legitimizing your right to ride, it is not immune from the prejudices that consume the rest of society.
Alright, Venom is bad. Not like interestingly bad, or creatively bad, there’s honestly very little of merit to be found in this feature. What makes it redeemable is that it is the exact sort of bad that makes it really fun to watch.
In a cinemagoing landscape where the definition of spectacle has narrowed down to superhero antics — whether they be performed by Avengers, Jedi, or The Rock — A Star is Born arrives to remind us that something don’t gotta be huge to feel huge. There’s something in its two hour fifteen running time that quietly cements it in the tradition of the epic.
In basically the first scene of A Simple Favour Anna Kendrick’s character explains that the sequence of events leading up to her best friend’s disappearance happened on their kids’ school’s World Food Day. We then cut to a flashback, the banner in the classroom reads Ethnic Food Day. And so it becomes clear that, even when tasked with directing what on the outset appears to be a serious and sexy mystery thriller, his primary tendency is always going to lean towards comedy.