What is America? For many it seems to be only borders and symbols, that maybe are only truly deserved by white, Christian conservatives. For these people, the idea of “preserving” America only goes so far as maintaining the traditions and landmarks with which they are familiar, and they are willing to sacrifice or overlook a lot of moral transgressions in pursuit of that cause. But for others, America is defined by its ideals, by an evolving philosophy and clear-cut, equal lawmaking. To those of us on this end of the spectrum, moral and ethical sacrifices made to “preserve” our country only degrade the ideals that truly define it. It is the latter perspective that is strenuously advocated in Bridge Of Spies, Steven Spielberg’s latest ode to true American values. Like Lincoln before it, this film takes what could be a dry and rote exploration of legal, political and diplomatic wranglings and turns them into an energetic and tense piece of cinema that says something simple but important about the nature of America.
1) Crimson Peak is not a horror film, at least not in the visceral-nightmare-fuel sense. While there are ghosts and gore aplenty, the film is not particularly scary.
2) Crimson Peak is not a surprising film when it comes to its story. If you’re familiar with the likes of Rebecca or Jane Eyre you can fill in the blanks of the narrative without much difficulty.
3) Crimson Peak is not a subtle film, on any level. There is no missing the blunt metaphors and themes on display, and stylistically it is not the least bit restrained.
There’s no denying that Crimson Peak is “lacking” in all of these ways, but I find it hard to hold these potential deficiencies against the film, mostly because I think it’s clear that they are very much intentional. While Crimson Peak might not match the popular expectation of what it could be, I think it is exactly the film that Guillermo del Toro wanted it to be, one that happens to be a film I enjoyed quite a bit.
When I was a kid, one of my absolute favorite movies was Apollo 13. Besides being thrilling and fun, it was a great celebration of America’s space program, something that I was absurdly interested in at the time. One of the things that struck me back then was a scene where, to prepare the LEM guidance computer, Jim Lovell has to do complex math for the telemetry. I remember being surprised that something as cool as being an astronaut would require that boring stuff from school, unfortunately missing out on the potential inspiration that realization could have provided. Thankfully that is unlikely to happen to any youngster that watches The Martian, a film that takes all of the things that made Apollo 13 so great- the thrilling set pieces, the character-based humor, the ingenious problem-solving and the inspiring collaboration- and cranks them all up to well beyond 13 on the dial, resulting in a very fun film that also argues some important and inspiring things about humanity’s potential.
So there was another school shooting, and more people are dead and more families are in mourning. In times like this, we have to come together as people, hold each other close and appreciate the lives we still have to live. Or, if you are a militant gun advocate, it’s time to be a massive piece of shit that continues to value a deadly weapon over the safety of your neighbor. At this point, it is unfathomable and insane that mass shootings are still a problem in the United States, or that anyone will argue that the liberty of gun ownership is more important than the lives of innocents. Everything the President said in his speech the other night is completely true, and hopefully history can look back on those remarks as the start of real change, and not just useless flailing against monolithic entitlement and greed and selfishness. In the meantime, for those that might need some convincing, I would like to throw in my perspective on the morality and necessity of gun control, so get your anger ready.
Following the very stacked and very satisfying collection of films that September brought us is no easy feat, but October is certainly going for it. This time around, we are graced with a bunch of A-list behind-the-camera talents that should hopefully bring us some really impactful films. While this ultimately seems like a very serious, drama-heavy month, it should at the very least be very very GOOD drama, as you’ll see after the jump.