A Guide to Darren Aronofsky: Introduction !

If I had to summarize what a Aronofsky film was as succinctly as possible I’d say: character driven, thematic and symbolic. Aronofsky’s stories force you into the minds of incredible damaged characters who are delusional, overly anxious, psychopathic, addicts, and heart-broken but extremely relatable nonetheless. Aronofsky’s films, while being completely unsettling at times, are beautiful, heart-tugging as well as heart breaking explorations of human condition. While being quite grounded in reality they also spiritual and mystifying journeys of the character.

Like Tarantino and Nolan, two of the most revered modern day directors, Aronofsky has injected incredibly original and unique movies into Hollywood. Critics and moviegoers alike scream for something refreshing in this era of reboots, remakes and sequels but often underlook the work of Aronofsky. So in preparation for the release of his latest film mother! (more on that here) I am gladly making somewhat of a guide/review/overview for each of his films in order of their release.

Please do stay tuned for my next entry in this series that will features an analysis of his directorial debut Pi !

A Review of Her (2013): You Don’t Need A Body For Someone to Love You…

As someone who often condemns film and television for being too formulaic I cannot believe I have slept on Spike Jonze’s Her for this long. After about four days of sitting on this film I can safely say that Her is now alongside Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as one of my favorite love stories ever. Following the separation of his wife, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) strikes an odd liking, well not so odd in this future setting, for his operating system Samantha (V.O. by Scarlett Johansson) that soon deepens to a committed relationship. Every scene shared between the them is as enticing as the last, and given that most of the film’s runtime primarily focuses on the two, Her does a great job at fully immersing viewers into their love story. Like Eternal Sunshine, Her is an extremely unconventional tale of love but effortlessly explores the feeling of falling for someone, being in love as well as the detriments of heartbreak.

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À Bout de Souffle [Song of the Week #3]

Jean-Luc Godard’s A Bout De Souffle, or Breathless in English, was my introduction to him and the French New Wave. To my eyes at the time, the handheld camera work, unique editing, and stylistic dialogue of this era of cinema was so completely foreign to me. What really stuck with me after watching this film was the song heard above. It’s sad and pensive but somehow makes me a little happy. I was on the road for a long time last week and had time to think a lot. For some reason I couldn’t help but hum this  song the entire journey. To describe it best I can, this song makes me feel like it’s a Sunday morning, or it’s raining outside. It’s like the ringtone that corresponds with your mind when you just want to think to yourself. I just can’t get enough of it.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) [Film of the Week #1]

Before delving into Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Film of the Week is another new segment I’m adding to 4therace where I’ll share my favorite movie I have watched in the past 7 days. Since being on summer holiday I’ve finally had time to view a couple dozen films that are on my watchlist. Some of Criterion Collection, Hollywood classics, beloved standalones, indies, blockbusters, you name it.  I found this leisure time to be the perfect opportunity to recommend these wonderful films to those who may not know of them or generate some discussion to those who have. So to get right into it, the first Film of the Week is Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers. 

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The +116 Films I Watched in 2016

In 2016 I watched 116 movies, possibly more, making it the most amount of movies that I have watched in a single year (beating 2015 by 30+ films). This year, last year I should say now, I revisited some favorites, watched a few classics, rewatched some films that I loved as a kid and saw them in an entirely new light as an adolescent, and watched a bunch a movies for the very first time- some I loved, some I hated. I explored a handful of French films and got a glimpse of a couple indies. This list is truly diverse and filled with a bunch of gems that some may or may not know.  So fell free to explore my 2016 film watchlist……

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Vivre sa Vie (1962) -Staring Into the Souls of Our Characters

Having already watched two Jean-Luc Godard films, Au Bout de Souffle et Pierrot le Fou, I already knew that Vivre sa Vie was going to be special. No Google search or Hulu synopsis can clearly represent the story of the film or capture its tone (this probably won’t either).

The very first frame of Vivre sa Vie is engulfed by our protagonist Nana, wonderfully played by Anna Karina, showing a side profile of her face automatically included with a gloomy score. The music begins to fade, and we gaze at her profile for what seems like decades. Now the camera shifts showing us the front of Nana’s face and the music returns. She gazes ahead past the camera, past whatever may be in front of her and breaks right through the barrier which separates film and reality and looks right at us, the audience. The camera shifts once more, continuing to show us Nana’s face similar to how it’d appear as a mug shot, and the screen cuts to black. It’s a Godard film so I expected a connection between film and film watcher, but having this happen in the opening sequences revealed that Vivre sa Vie was going to be a much more personal experience than Au Bout de Souffle et Pierrot Le Fou were, and indeed it was.

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Mr.Robot > The Rest of Television: An Analysis of S02E10

From the very first moments of Mr. Robot’s sophomore season I knew that the show was heading into a realm that has yet to be explored on television. What I am currently praising the most from this truly brilliant piece of television is the stellar and visionary directing of Sam Esmail.

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My Short Story [Excerpt from a Screenplay]

This story is excerpt of an untitled screenplay I have been thinking about for a while. It tells the story of a girl, Nina, who is about to get married to her fiance of about 2 years. Her fiance doesn’t spend too much time with her though as he is huge part of the family business which involves him working overseas with his father. Nina questions their relationship after he misses her birthday. She then spends the next day entirely with her long time friend Elt. This excerpt takes place at the conclusion of what was a day of fun that the two have spent with each other. Feel free to read it in Microsoft Word format or in PDF.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

5 Films To Look For in the Second Half of 2016

Whether you think that 2016 films have been meh or awesome, or you even believe that this is the worst blockbuster summer ever, the final half of the year certainly has some promising projects. Check out 5 films that I am looking forward to in the second half on 2016.

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