KNIVES AND SKIN (2019) IS AN AMAZING PASTEL NOIR THERAPY SESSION

Mild spoilers ahead!

I’m going to spend a lifetime with Knives And Skin. Its pulse of color, vibrating hope on a low frequency. Its unapologetic exposure of our inner-selves that is unspeakable, primal, and plain messy. Its audiacity towards the indulgence of surreality. Knives And Skin is a filmic whole. A complete body and mind. Everything we have and will experience if given the room. Due to its tonal soup, I celebrate its odd brilliance by speaking of and back to this film the way it spoke to me.

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Seattle Internation Film Festival 2019 Opens!

The Seattle International Film Festival, the largest and most highly attended film festival in the United States, announced today the complete lineup of films, guests, and events for the 45th annual 25-day Festival that runs May 16 – June 9, 2019.

This year, SIFF will screen 410 films representing 86 countries and will include: 147 features (plus 4 secret films), 71 documentaries, 12 archival films, and 176 shorts. The lineup includes 33 World premieres (12 features, 21 shorts), 42 North American premieres (27 features, 15 shorts), and 19 US premieres (11 features, 8 shorts).

I’ll be attending as many genre/horror movies as I can for you guys. Here are my top picks for movies to see this festival circuit! Are there any that you plan on seeing? I would love to know what movies people are excited for this year!

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Intruder (2019) Review

The story behind the movie Intruder is about a couple Scott (played by Michael Ealy) and Annie (Meagan Good) who buy a house from Charlie (Dennis Quaid). They soon find out that Charlie is still very attached to his house and is in the market for a new family. Directed by Deon Taylor who also directed last years ‘Traffik’, another story of a black couple terrorized by white aggressors. In the age of filmmaking post-Jordan Peele, post-Black Lives Matter, post-Trayvon Martin, this film begs the question; Can you have a film where black people are attacked by white people and it has no racial implications?

There is a noticeable absence of racism in this film. The world in which it takes place is a world where black people are capable of achieving high-profile jobs, and affording multi-million dollar homes, with little complications. Scott and Annie’s friends are a mixed race couple and the town of Sonoma, California [which is according to the 2010 census is 86% white] is filled with people of all races and welcomes the new couple. There is no hint of racism in the tension between Scott and Annie and Charlie, never is “you don’t belong here” or “you’re not the right kind to live in my house” ever uttered. Charlie is in fact, infatuated with Annie and wants to make her his new wife. It seems like in saying nothing, the film is saying a lot. It felt like watching a movie as a white person, being able to enjoy the action and characters devoid of all racial consciousness. I was waiting for something, anything to acknowledge that the characters were originally black in the script but nothing happened. Even when Scott and Annie were alone, they never mentioned their own blackness. It felt like this movie takes place in another dimension. A dimension where the trans-Atlantic slave trade never happened and despite the fact that it was distractingly absent, it was also refreshing. Contrary to the complaints of racists, but black people don’t want to complain about injustice all day long. We would also like to live in a world unburdened by the heavyweight and historical trauma of racism. This films genre is a thriller but it could also be called something else, Black Escapist Fantasy. 

Intruder feels like the thrillers of the ’80s like Fatale Attraction or The Step-Father. It is no more complicated than it seems, there is no political or cultural knowledge necessary to understand this film, you’re getting exactly what you see. In one scene it’s revealed that Scott doesn’t like guns because his brother was shot by one. There’s no more information on that, was it police violence, gang violence, a domestic dispute, road rage? It sounds like the opposite of an NRA slogan, in this instance, a gun did just kill a person. So now Scott won’t use guns, but Charlie loves guns so one of the points of tension is will Scott use a gun to defend his home? The gun concept comes up so much, you just know the movie will end with Scott using a gun on Charlie. There are very little surprises in the movie, the asshole best friend dies, Charlie never left the home he’s been in the basement the whole time, and he’s been lying about the death of his wife and the relationship with his daughter. The movie is as predictable as you can get. Despite that, the audience I saw it with was along for the ride each step of the way. There were jump scares and each one made the audience jump like programming. It made the movie enjoyable, like watching a person go through a haunted house. You know the scares are hollow but seeing a person scream from a bat on a string makes you laugh. I doubt the filmmakers want to make their audience laugh but getting a reaction out of this “paint-by-numbers” thriller is better than nothing.

‘Intruder’ is nowhere near a poignant or affecting movie as ‘Get Out’ or ‘Gone Girl’. It has bite but no venom. A movie that entertains as easily as it’s forgotten, like a carnival ride, once the scares are gone it’s over. This movie’s only lingering effect on me was that it served to remind me what a shame it is that we don’t live in a world where Michael Ealy is a leading man. He deserves to be. He’s just as talented as any white guy named Chris and much more attractive. His face, with those dark blue eyes, draws you in and makes you sympathetic. He has all the makings of a Hollywood leading man, except a single thing. He’s not who people think of when one says “Hollywood leading man”. He’s black and historically that’s the single disqualifier for entry into that group. He could lead a film, he has the presence and the looks. In whatever world this movie comes from, where race is no factor, perhaps there would be space for Michael Ealy too.

 

Tim Burton has built his career around an iconic visual aesthetic. Here’s how it evolved.

Tim Burton is one of modern filmmaking’s best-known directors — largely because his films all look like Tim Burton films. It’s hard to find a recent director whose distinct visual aesthetic has become so universally, immediately recognizable. Even in his new live-action Disney film Dumbo, which is something of a departure from Burton’s previous work — it’s a remake that doubles as a careful critique of its predecessor — it can still easily be called “Burton-esque,” like all of his movies.

Continue reading “Tim Burton has built his career around an iconic visual aesthetic. Here’s how it evolved.”

The Ending Of Jordan Peele’s ‘Us,’ Explained

It was all right there in the trailer.

There was Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) looking, dressing and acting like a regular degular Black mom in a car with her husband and two kids, headed to the beach. Then, Luniz’ “I Got 5 on It,” comes on the radio and she tries to get her young son Jason to…snap along with the song. “Get in rhythm,” she tells him, but sis, which one? She’s snapping on the one and the two and the three and a half. Adelaide is a fraud.

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20 Years of the Craft: Why We Needed More of Rochelle

The Craft (1996) is a film that came out around the time I turned 13. A freshman in high school and firmly established as a minority within a minority in my predominantly white/European immigrant working-class suburb right outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was a painful observation. I was constantly confronting micro-aggressions about what kind of Black person I was supposed to be, and wasn’t, from all of my peers. I was the weirdo. And I found myself socializing with other weirdo’s who were the pop culture nerds, especially those who liked genre films and TV (The X-Files and Buffy The Vampire Slayer consumed my life for many years) as much as I did.

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‘Horror Noire’ Review: A Captivating Deep Dive into the History of Black Cinema and the Horror Genre

There’s a school of thought (or, non-thought, as it were) that says you should just turn your brain off and enjoy movies. If it’s not “high-brow” entertainment, then it’s not worthy of exploration. Certainly, horror films, with their low production values and cheap thrills meant for teenagers aren’t worthy of serious study. But as seen in Xavier Burgin’s excellent documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror, analyzing the horror genre is perhaps most worthy of study because of how it shows us how black people are depicted in American popular cinema. Although the documentary is primarily just movie clips and interviews with black scholars, filmmakers, and actors, Burgin weaves it all together into an engrossing story of American cinema. Horror Noire never professes to be a complete history of black cinema, but it does show how certain tropes appear in horror films with regards to black characters. By analyzing these tropes, Burgin, along with writers Ashlee Blackwell and Danielle Burrows, emphasizes not only a lesson in black representation, but the importance of analysis in making sure that representation is accurate and equitable.

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[Trailer] The Original ‘Ring’ Returns 20 Years Later With Brand New Restoration

As they announced last monthArrow Video is bringing Hideo Nakata’s Ring to Blu-ray in the UK with both a standalone release and a Ring Collection set this coming March, and the Japanese horror classic has been restored from a 4K scan of the original negative in glorious high definition. This week brings the trailer for that 20th anniversary restoration.

Ring returns to UK cinemas March 1 and hits Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD on March 18.

In the film, remade for American audiences in 2002, “A reporter and her ex-husband investigate a cursed video tape that is rumored to kill the viewer seven days after watching it.”

Continue reading “[Trailer] The Original ‘Ring’ Returns 20 Years Later With Brand New Restoration”

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