All posts by Veronika

Fifty Shades Darker (2017): a love letter to capitalism and patriarchy

Fifty Shades Darker is without a doubt one of the worst films I have ever seen. But if I struggled to understand how such a film could ever be released and embraced by the audiences two years ago when its predecessor, Fifty Shades of Grey, hit the theatres, this second edition to the series hardly left me in any such disbelief. I left the cinema utterly disgusted and shocked about just how bad a film can be, but surprised that this is what brings people to the cinema, that this is what women are willing to spend their money on? No, not anymore. We are living in a Trump-era after all, and it is hard not to see some parallels between Grey’s disturbing treatment of women and Trump’s own sexual assault accusations and disgusting remarks about him being entitled to grabbing women’s genitalia whenever he feels like it. If we are living in an era where the worst kind of misogyny can get you into the White House, should we still be surprised that this kind of film not only gets released without worldwide protests against it, but even makes hundreds of millions of dollars of profit? I guess not.

You can find the rest of the review here.

Valentine’s Day: fifty shades greyer, darker and freer

With Valentine’s Day almost around the corner and with Fifty Shades Darker about to hit the theatres, I decided to make an alternative list of films for all of us who don’t celebrate this annual “holiday” that is, let’s face it, the embodiment of everything that is wrong with contemporary consumerist society.

If you’re here for films such as Nicolas Sparks’s clichéd romantic dramas, young adult love stories such as The Spectacular Now or Paper Towns, British tear-jerkers such as Me Before Youultimate crying out loud classics such as Titanic or feminist (but not really) films about “female empowerment” such as Trainwreck, this list probably won’t be for you. But if you’re up for something different, real, at times depressing and edgy… then there’s no doubt that you’ll find something perfect for February 14th on the list.

I’m Having My Own Oscars: 2016

I still haven’t seen some of the major 2016 releases (Moonlight, I Daniel Blake, La La Land etc.), but I hope this list nonetheless provides some good movie suggestions. Anyhow, before you continue to the link where you will find a full list of my cinematic winners, here are some special mentions:

Most memorable animal performance: Marvin the dog in Paterson.

Scene most likely to make you cry from laughter: birthday party in Toni Erdmann.

Best coming-of-age scene: Estela trying to figure out how to use a tampon in California.

The most heartbreaking scene: Mina putting on a burka before going to beg on streets of Kabul in Mina Walking (special mention: dog trying to survive on a deserted island in Family Film).

Most emotional music scene: Ines performing Whitney Houston’s »The Greatest Love of All« in Toni Erdmann (special mention: music scenes in As I Open My Eyes).

Best film about Yugoslavia’s space program: Houston, we have a problem!

Most brilliantly bizzare scene of the year: Daniel Radcliffe’s farting corpse in Swiss Army Man.

Best LGBT film: The Handmaiden (special mentions: Don’t Call Me Son, Being 17, Closet Monster).

Film that proved Kevin Smith smokes way too much pot: Yoga Hosers.

Film that made me wish Seth Rogen will never make another animated film: Sausage Party.

Film that takes eroticism to a whole new level: The Handmaiden.

Film that dares to call Slavoj Žižek a »fishy philosopher«: Things to Come.

Best funeral scene: Captain Fantastic.

Best sweaters: Chevalier.

Film that everyone should see but probably almost no one will: Certain Women.

Captain Fantastic (2016): power to the people, stick it to the man!

Deep in the woods and far away from American capitalistic society, plagued with culture of consumerism, materialism and narcissism, Ben Cash, a patriarch and a father, is raising his six children. Surrounded by nothing but trees, rivers and mountains, his family is living in an unconventional and self-sufficient micro-utopia, based in their unanimous and unconditional refusal of living in what they call “capitalistic fascism”. Refusing to live in a society controlled by money and material goods, they instead form a highly routinised, but entirely self-sufficient way of living, where nothing but demanding physical routines, exercising of survival techniques and extensive, in-depth learning of maths, physics, literature and philosophy fill their daily schedule.

Click here to continue reading…

Arrival (2016): the most humanist sci-fi film of the past decade

Science fiction is a genre too often misunderstood as something entirely fictional and futuristic. But if we dig deep and undress the carefully constructed metaphors (such as the presence of aliens, monsters and human mutants) we will find that the foundation of such films is always a commentary on our contemporary world. Somewhere under the surface, between the lines, science-fiction is always addressing our political, socio-economic or environmental situation, tapping into our collective fears and with a cathartic ending reassuring us that, no matter what dangers the humanity faces in a certain socio-historical moment, everything is going to work out just fine. Whether it is a sci-fi movie from the Cold War era, influenced by the nuclear threat and fear of communist Russia taking over the world, a post 9/11 alien-invasion movie that taps into people’s fear of terrorist attacks, or an environmental catastrophe movie from the early 2000’s when the reality and undeniable threat of global warming entered into our collective consciousness – there is always an important correlation between a science fiction story and an era in which it was made, even if such films do not always approach these subjects in the most impartial and non damaging way. But this is where Arrival so extraordinarily stands out from alien films that we have seen in the past, proving itself to be one of the most outstanding and humanist science fiction films of the past decade.

You can find the rest of the review here.

Eye On Film 2016: International Film Festival for Children and Youth

We all too often forget what an important educational role films can have, how much we can learn from them, how they can shape our opinions and how they can sometimes even shatter the existing social, national and religious barriers, giving us a better and more emphatic understanding of the world outside of the cultural bubble we were born into. Of course films can also do the opposite: reinforce the Eurocentric world-views, stereotypes about marginalized groups, problematic ideologies and socially constructed gender roles. It is  precisely because of that that it is so wrong to view films as a simple form of entertainment; something that helps us to shut down our brain while watching meaningless action-infused CGI. Films always, even when we do not necessarily realize it, carry important social, cultural and/or political subtexts that often have an influence on our perception of the world. This why it is crucial to expose children and teenagers to good, informative, thought-provoking, although maybe not always easy to process cinematic experiences. And not only that: to also teach them how to watch films, how to read cinematic codes, how to interpret the story and how to reflectively and critically discuss about the film medium. There is undoubtedly still a long and challenging journey ahead of us before we will succeed at making film studies a respected part of a school curriculum, but Eye On Film is indeed one of the first and very much important steps into the right direction.

You can find the rest of the article at my new blog/domain name.

My blog has moved to a new domain

Dear followers,

after two years of (somewhat irregular) blogging I have reached a far bigger readership than I have ever anticipated and I think it is time to finally take this to a more professional level and move my blog to my own private domain.

As of a few days ago, my blog has moved to a new url address (there you can also find my newest review of the film Nerve).

Hopefully we will all keep on reading each other regularly; however, I believe you need to start following me again, otherwise you will not be able to see my new posts in your reader. In case you do not choose to do that; thank you for supporting me for all this time. I greatly appreciate each and everyone of you who ever took the time to read a review or to leave a comment on it – all of this would not be possible without you.

All the best,

Veronika