Apologies for the slight snark. I mean no harm. However, since last year, I’m finding myself more interested in things I found in the year overall, rather than a scything down the
Subjects like sex and erotica had a torrid time in the few films I saw, which focused on them. The over hyped, unevenly baked 50 Shades tried to sell vanilla sex scenes as more than they actually were (or could ever be), because whips and chains. Shades may not have been the total turkey man had thought (and secretly hoped). Its box office gross clearly showed that, be it hype, curiosity, friskiness or a mix of all three, there was an adult (mostly female) market to be exploited. It’s a pity that despite a rise in sex accessories, the film’s vanilla sex scenes do little to take
The Arthouse scene, which has far less qualms in explicit material gave us Gasper Noe’s self-indulgent Love. A plodding, underwritten sex
Documentary Chemsex did its best to spread moral panic, while feeling light on facts. Important insights of isolation and community almost get lost between a vast mass of talking heads and stories, which never give us enough time to breathe. It’s main conceit; that
The winner for me when it came to any discussion of sex or sensuality within cinema, was Peter Strictland’s dreamily shot The Duke of Burgundy. The film comments on sex, kink and love with the type delicacy and emotion we should expect from erotica. The film’s Crown Jewel? It’s all woman cast, which help provide a fresh take on dominance, submission and obsession. Losing the need of the all-seeing, all-encompassing male gaze.
This brings me on to 2015 bringing forth some engaging features which give a positive engagement of the dreaded word of diversity. The films that lingered in my head, were often great with their commentaries and ideas of gender and race. Dear White People updated Spike Lee’s School Daze with a grander scope and little Do the Right Thing structuring. Straight Outta Compton was a blockbuster biopic, which did quite well in depicting N.W.A as a glossy, urban version of The Sex Pistols. The aforementioned The Duke of Burgundy and it’s all female cast, Carol, were all well put together. The 7th Fast and Furious once again
Star Wars: The Force Awakens illustrated organic progressive qualities, while Fury Road gave us a new, well rounded female hero wrapped within a Mad Max film. It’s important to remember that Fury Road’s white male director made the most of its female
It was, however, the Martian that I found to be the most warming and heartening in a world that's feeling increasingly
Ryan Coogler’s (Fruitvale Station) Creed has made waves recently, revamping the Rocky franchise with an African American lead. I have yet to see it at the time of writing this, yet its solid word of mouth is showing us that both Coogler and Michael B Jordan may certainly have something to say in the realms of representation. The fact these aforementioned films with their successful attempts at bringing across diversity show that the passive white male hero can be joined by others quite easily. Just make the material compelling. It's important to
I say this as social media and ignorance has seemingly helped warp the ideal of progressiveness on both sides. American cinemas felt it necessary to bulk up security for Straight Outta Compton for reasons that are quite transparent to people like myself. That said, things such as the push for Idris Elba to play everybody, or the internet outrage which sparks the moment a z-lister feels hard done by, are well intentioned but often
I have missed a load of films for the simple reason that either they've been smaller release that don't enter cinemas. Or mainstream fare that looks like tripe. Annoyingly, with the likes of Disney
Yet now fan demand and the demands of commerce outstrip artistic creativity in mainstream cinema so perversely, it’s sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees. The Mamo Podcast gave the perfect description of the 2nd biggest film of the year: The good enough blockbuster. Jurassic World is dumb, weakly scripted and spiteful, yet has enough branding and call backs in it for fans to be happy and the book with its palatable themes can be forgotten once more. A shame.
Also worrying was while Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a fun re-entry to a much loved cinematic world, it also felt like a re-polished Episode 4. A film with no real surprises (despite the cries of no spoilers), and an insurance that nothing will be really tampered with. Lest we upset fans by offering something new.
That both titles made a ton of cash with the audiences trading in the more solid storytelling of the previous films for the chance to hear the music, see the characters and feel like a child again is quite perturbing. Escapism is fine, but I wish these films would be
For all the issues the Sony
So we’re three weeks into the New Year with more franchise features and sequels to look forward to. In the past four weeks, we’ve lost four artists (Haskell Wexler, Alan Rickman, Vilmos Zsigmond and David Bowie) whose contributions to cinema will certainly inspire many for years to come. In light of my aforementioned