Tag Archives: romance

83 – Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

It’s been out for four weeks and finally we decide to grapple with Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Mike has just recently caught up with the first film, a jukebox musical that José disliked, and both are disappointed with the sequel’s lack of instinct as to what makes a musical actually work. Mike points out some elements of story structure he found original, and Jose is impressed with how the film juggles its vast cast of characters, but they disagree on Cher. (Spoiler: José really loves Cher.)

Neither comes away really having enjoyed the film, though neither is really the target audience either. But there’s fun to be had in critiquing it!

The podcast can be listened to in the players above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

Advertisements

82 – The Darkest Minds

José finds a lot to remark upon in The Darkest Minds that Mike didn’t see, helping him appreciate it more. It’s a story of a society broken down by fear of children and a group of young survivors negotiating their own development and making their way towards liberation. It is representationally interesting, the central character a young black girl through whose eyes the film is filtered.

Depictions of children being rounded up into concentration camps disturbingly echoes the actions of ICE under the Trump administration, not to mention countless other examples of segregation and incarceration of peoples throughout history. The central theme of a young woman making herself invisible in order to satisfy others and smooth her path through life is worked through intelligently and tragically.

It’s visually uninspiring, and lacks charm and flair, but The Darkest Minds is an interesting and heartfelt teen movie for an increasingly enlightened young audience.

The podcast can be listened to in the players above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

62 – 120 BPM

José has been obsessed with 120 BPM and was very keen to hear what Mike, who is much younger and not gay, thought of it. Is his obsession due to purely personal reasons – the film seems to reflect a part of his youth – or is the film actually as good as he thinks it is? Is it a niche film or does it have meanings and feelings to communicate to a broader audience? Is the movie really great or is just it something José’s particularly vulnerable to weeping at the mere thought of?

We talk about it in relation to Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance, currently on at the Young Vic in London. We also discuss the film as ‘director-as-editor’ filmmaking. We agree that despite the film’s length – almost the same as Infinity War! – there’s not a moment we’d cut. We discuss the opening sequences, all meetings, political actions, and introductions of characters; we agree that the sex scene in the hospital is one of the best ever filmed. Sex and desire in the film is always on the table and we discuss how it takes on different meanings. We also touch on film form but always only as a way of understanding what the film shows in a historical context.

Luckily for José, Mike liked it and was not sorry he’d bullied him into seeing it.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

58 – Love, Simon

A young adult romance with a twist, Love, Simon gives gay teens a high school movie with a decent budget and aimed at a wide audience. We both have mixed feelings on it, but find it well-meaning and substantially positive. We discuss some shortcuts it takes – the use of a queeny character to render Simon more acceptable, the setting in upper middle class suburbia making Simon’s sexuality the only issue in his life, a certain generic formulaicity – and ideas the film depicts as simple that could and should be more complex, including conversations we’d like to have seen Simon have with his best friend and the aforementioned queen. Not to mention the rather flat aesthetics.

It’s a discussion that does almost nothing but pick out flaws but nonetheless finds that the breadth of the film’s intended audience mitigates them and its goodness of heart shines through. Worth a watch!

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

47 – Phantom Thread – Second Screening

Mike’s brother Stephen joins us to discuss Phantom Thread in further detail. We look at the power struggle between Alma and Cyril, the visual verticality that contributes to an Academy ratio feel, the film’s relationship to fairytales, the way the score augments the images, and whether the dresses are actually any good and why.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

46 – The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro’s gorgeous, bizarre monster romance is one of the films dominating the awards conversation, but what do we make of it? We discuss its characterisation, its performances, its cinematography, its relationship with the classic cinema and fairytales from which it builds. We use the word “beautiful” about two hundred times.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

43 – Phantom Thread

Finally, we sink our teeth into Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly-anticipated romantic period drama. The performances, aesthetics, direction and so much more are simply enthralling and give us much to discuss. We consider Daniel Day-Lewis’s style and how likeable he is in this, Anderson’s mastery of tone and ability to lighten with unexpected humour what could be a rather dry film, the beauty of his cinematography, the range of female characters and some aspects of their portrayal, the way in which the work of an artist is depicted, and more. José is simply beside himself with the film’s beauty, and Mike questions its flirtations with cliché so often that he becomes a cliché himself.

It’s clear that there’s more to discover than one viewing can reveal, so we look forward to seeing the film again and talking on it more.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.