The Pain of Pleasure and the Pleasure of Pain

“But Reason can never be persuaded that the existence of a man who merely lives for enjoyment (however busy he may be in this point of view), has a worth in itself.” – Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement

In Shame (2011), Steve McQueen’s stunning follow up to his feature film debut – 2008’s Hunger – he shifts his focus from physical confinement to an emotional one, demonstrating along the way that the crush of addiction can be a prison unto itself. Read More The Pain of Pleasure and the Pleasure of Pain

Trust the Viewer

Last night, as I was re-watching one of my favourite recent films, Tell No One (Ne le dis à personne) (2006), something struck me: this film thinks I’m smart. Or, at the very least, it doesn’t think I’m stupid. Read More Trust the Viewer

Fictionalized Familiarity

In his influential book Camera Lucida, French theorist Roland Barthes explores of the power of photographic images, and their relationship to and with the viewer. Barthes’ book has been on my mind recently, as I race to watch my way through my filmography before I begin my graduate program in a week. Yesterday I re-watched a Québécois film that I first saw several years ago. The film profoundly affected me, as it did then. Read More Fictionalized Familiarity

A Cosmic Existential Crisis

Another Earth (2011) has an interesting concept. This, of course, sounds like kind of tepid praise that is usually followed with a loaded “but”¦“ I have no such follow-up concerns.

The current film landscape is filled with unoriginality. In August alone, Hollywood has or will release six remakes or sequels (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Final Destination 5, Conan the Barbarian, Fright Night, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark). In my mind, having an interesting concept is very high praise. Read More A Cosmic Existential Crisis

Why I’m Afraid of a 13-Year-Old Boy

Crazy Stupid Love (2011) is not a very good movie. It might be worth the price of admission to see the way Ryan Gosling wears a suit, and it is certainly worth it to see Gosling and Emma Stone’s chemistry, particularly in one scene that so effectively balances emotional depth and subtle hilarity that it seems out of place among the easy one-liners and thinly strung together plot lines of the rest of the film. Read More Why I’m Afraid of a 13-Year-Old Boy

Fontrum: My Reality TV Affliction

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “fontrum” as, well”¦ nothing. Because it’s not a real word. But Urban Dictionary understands my affliction:

Feeling embarrassment for someone that doesn’t have enough common sense to feel the embarrassment that they should be feeling for themselves for their actions. [sic]

Read More Fontrum: My Reality TV Affliction

The Half-Baked Rebellion of “Friends With Benefits”

In his review of the recently-released Friends With Benefits (2011), Toronto film critic Jason Anderson discusses the recent trend of Hollywood films “treating sex too casually.” To be clear, Anderson makes no attempt to argue for or against any moral implications of casual sex; rather, he discusses how such a casual treatment upends the traditional formula of romantic comedies. He writes: Read More The Half-Baked Rebellion of “Friends With Benefits”

Onscreen Summer

Summer is a sensual season. In this case I don’t define “sensual” as “sexual” (after all, I’m so hot I don’t want to be within three feet of someone else), but rather in a more fundamental way: it is a time where all the senses feel engaged. Mornings and evenings are glowing, interrupted by the blindingly bright midday sun. The occasional breeze feels cool and indulgent against sweat-drenched skin. Read More Onscreen Summer