I think it’s safe to say that the one absolute constant across all of humanity is our emotions. While we might have different ethnicities, genders, sexualities, cultures, finances, time periods or geographic locations from each other we are all unified by our emotions. That, to me, is what makes emotion such a crucial, essential ingredient to film, really to all art. If art is meant to bridge gaps and connect with the audience and enlighten us to our place in the world and our relationships with each other, then what could be more important to the success of a piece of art than the emotion it conveys? This is what makes Inside Out such a beautiful piece of art: not only does it dramatize those same emotions that every human being can understand, but it then connects with those same emotions in ourselves… and the results are truly wonderful.
Apparently William Friedkin once again shot his mouth off about how “superhero movies have no humanity” yada yada yada film at 11. In finding out about his latest comments, I ended up in a long-winded debate on this topic with some friends and friends-of-friends on Facebook, and when I say “this topic” I mean the relative merits or qualities of superhero films and whether they’re ruining the medium. The thing is though, Friedkin (as with other filmmakers that have broached this topic in the past) is really talking about how Hollywood’s obsession with all-or-nothing, spend-money-to-make-money spectacle movies is drowning out opportunities for filmmakers like himself to make midrange, adult dramas. And the rub is that this is a wholly legitimate concern to have, and one that should be discussed at length… if we weren’t so busy arguing whether Avengers is a good movie or not.
So apparently Jurassic World made a metric ton of money last weekend, and I’m going to guess that every single person reading this contributed to that box office haul. Besides that, it also seems like many of you enjoyed the film, and much more than I did. And part of me greatly envies those who were able to enjoy Jurassic World without reservation and not be bothered by all of its missteps. But as much as I lament the film’s flaws, and my own inability to see past them, I am also greatly annoyed by the return of the “Turn Your Brain Off!” defense that is often deployed in the name of big blockbusters like this. To those that make such an argument, I would respectfully refuse, and I’ll explain why.
Ah, THERE are the Wachowskis I know and love! After the disappointing flub that was Jupiter Ascending, I was yearning for the ambitious, boundary-pushing, flawed-yet-awesome storytelling sensibilities that brought us The Matrix, Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas. Now on Netflix, that yearning has been met and satisfied. Alongside J Michael Straczynski and a cavalcade of other collaborators (including Cloud Atlas co-director Tom Tykwer), the Wachowskis are back to their bizarre, aggressive selves with Sense8. It’s a sprawling and rough-hewn piece of storytelling, one that is absolutely greater than the sum of its parts, and holding it all together is a red-blooded, earnestly empathetic look at humanity that’s as well-realized as anything the Wachowskis have accomplished yet.
With 2015 moving ahead with a full head of steam after yet another solid month, June is looking to raise the bar even higher. And if this month’s movies don’t live up to May, it won’t be from lack of options. I have 7 movies in the top tier over the next few weeks, and a whopping 7 more in the also-rans that could end up surprising me. At least one of these has to be amazing, right? It’s just math at this point.