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Entries in Theo James (2)

Monday
Apr012019

"London Fields" and Bad Movies as Palette Cleansers

Please welcome new contributor Tony Ruggio...

Have you ever wondered why Film Twitter is more fickle than critics? If you spend a reasonable amount of time there you’ll find deep pockets of hate among many non-professional critics for critical darlings as varied as Birdman, La La Land, even Black Panther. Critics, often dismissed as snobs or "the elite", actually appear to enjoy more films per year than other journos, pundits, and regular Joe or Jane cinephiles on social media. Critics are the only animals in our film bubble ecosystem who are forced to watch everything, even the bad ones. Others might skip the latest Adam Sandler romp or Netflix original dump, but critics (many of them anyway) see it all and I'm here to argue that it gives them perspective. Bad movies have a place, and can serve an under-discussed purpose, and that purpose is encouraging a greater appreciation for what the Inarritus and Andersons of the world are putting out there.

Art is subjective, yes, but most of the time we know a BAD movie when we see it. On the heels of SXSW, I was drowning in good cinema. Between Captain Marvel the week before, Jordan Peele’s near-masterpiece Us, and a few little gems I could find nowhere else, the festival had given so much yet deprived me of a proper palette cleanser. London Fields was it, a gonzo film noir so inept and ill-advised that I was left more than a little awestruck...

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Sunday
Mar232014

Review: Divergent

This review originally appeared in my column at Towleroad

Erudite. Dauntless. Abnegation. Amity. Candor. Doesn't have quite the same ring as "Charisma. Uniqueness. Nerve and Talent" does it? But it's with the awkwardly titled five factions of DIVERGENT's world that we begin. In some future Utopia young citizens must choose their faction (a fancy word for tribe) on their 18th birthday after taking an aptitude test that reveals where they truly belong. They have the option of any faction but most, we are led to believe, choose either the tribe they grew up in or the tribe of their aptitude and these are often the same. Nature vs. Nurture and all that, you know.

Our heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley) lives with her parents in Abnegation, the "selfless" tribe that runs the government -- your first clue that this is total science fiction! They also feed the homeless (aka the "factionless"), dress like monochromatic fashion-forward Amish and eschew mirrors. Beatrice is played by Shailene Woodley and her parents are Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn (Scandal) - our first clue that this is actually a Dystopia*; how long could any of them survive without mirrors?

Tris is ready to jump and we continue after ours...

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