I was talking with my friend Cate the other night about The Machinist over dinner. The 2004 film concerns Trevor (Christian Bale), a machinist who begins to doubt his sanity whilst playing a game of cat and mouse with a … Continue reading →
The Shape of Water has something odd going for it: it’s been playing in various places while remaining absent in others for some time. For example, it came out in limited release in the U.S. in early December, then got … Continue reading →
Waco: When Faith Becomes Deadly
When I was a little girl, my family belonged to a particular sect of the Evangelical Church known as Fundamentalists: meaning they adhered to a literal interpretation of the Christian Bible as a means of practicing the fundamentals of the Christian faith. The churches we attended tended to be tightly-knit sects that fiercely squashed any questioning of its tenants and often fell under the sway of charismatic and obdurate leaders. These leaders were to be obeyed as if they were God, for they were seen as God’s chosen spokesman. I am not speaking for all members of these types of churches, but as I grew older the line between these I attended and those that wound up on the nightly news blurred more and more. At the time, we were like most people in that we felt we were too smart for a cult. We would never drink poison or live monastically away from family and friends to “help God along” in our destination to the afterlife. And yet…that’s basically that’s what we were asked to do. The only things keeping us from joining the fates of so many were education and our parents’ inability to perpetually swallow inordinate amounts of bullshit.
The story of such a group is being retold in a 6-part miniseries beginning on January 24. Waco stars Michael Shannon, John Leguizamo, and Taylor Kitsch (as David Koresh), and will attempt to convey the story of the Branch Davidians as their leader hurtled them towards a showdown with the United States government that lasted 51 days. There is still some bitter blood between small government types and federal law enforcement, and the Branch Davidian compound is still held up as an example of “big government” enforcing itself onto a group’s right to practice their faith as they saw fit…even if that group suffered severe mental and sexual abuse at the hands of their leader (it was even a key source of inspiration for the Oklahoma City bombing that occurred two years later). One argument is that it didn’t have to end the way it did if the feds hadn’t gotten involved. Another is that Koresh’s crimes forced the hands of local and federal law officials to take drastic measures. In any regard, it proved a recipe for tragedy. And lest we fall to the temptation of elevating ourselves as being free of any such influence, remember that no one is above falling under the spell of a flashy showman with a gift for gab that claims to know exactly what it takes to solve all our problems and is willing to fight the government on our behalf. Sound familiar?
Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke often receives its praise for both its portrait of strong women and dedication to demonstrating the impact of industrialism upon the environment. The praise is well-deserved; however, other themes lurk about that in plain sight are … Continue reading →
Oh this short broke my damn heart. I’m not going to blather on. Just watch it, then go hug someone you love and take a moment to wish for their continued happiness and well being. Here’s Anton Sheptooha and Nick … Continue reading →
I’m the first to admit that rom-coms are not my strong point. However, I’ll make an exception for 2006’s The Holiday. It’s love in the Air BNB age: two women, Iris (Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) try to get … Continue reading →
This week has blown up in terms of how much the female experience can suck sometimes. Yes, we get wonderful moments (hello, multiple orgasms, my old friend), but there’s a ton of bullshit that either gets perpetuated or willfully ignored. … Continue reading →
I’m not the biggest fan of crime stories (except when they feature Tom Hardy, to whom I still owe a drink after watching Bronson). I’m not even a fan of political dramas (living in America at the present moment, I’m … Continue reading →
Yes, this is a heavy week already. We’re just going to deal with it (in between breaks of protests) and forge ahead with something that is, shall we say, a kick in the gut. I’m not even going to sugar … Continue reading →
A History Lesson, Nolan-Style
In the months of May through June 1940, Allied forces were stranded on the French coast after German forces had them flanked and trapped with no hope of escape. Hitler, somewhat inexplicably, signed a halt order, which kept the German army from advancing into Dunkirk towards the doomed English, French, and Canadian soldiers. It’s been argued that Hitler and his army felt it didn’t matter, as it was likely all over but the shouting; yet the halt order enabled a miraculous evacuation scheme carried out, not just by Allied destroyers, but by every able-bodied seaman with a sturdy craft and the utmost devotion to their patriotic duty. By the eighth day, a staggering 338,226 men, originally awaiting certain death, were rescued from the shores of Dunkirk.
After a slew of superhero tales and overly-long existential think pieces, Christopher Nolen has now adapted the story of Dunkirk as the subject of his latest movie, which opened in theaters on June 21 to rave reviews. A pretty strong group of renown performers headline the film, including Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, Ciaran Hinds, and Harry Styles (formerly of One Direction). I have yet to see the movie myself, but as a WWII history buff, I’ll definitely be adding this to my viewing catalog, now that I have a little time in between out-of-town visits from family. As our society becomes hijacked by “post-truthers” and the last remaining survivors of the Greatest Generation die off (taking with them the first-hand knowledge of what it meant to charge headlong against tyranny), movies like Dunkirk may help us remember the stories of men and women who discovered the best of themselves in the worst of times.