Author: Deirdre Crimmins

 

Not all children’s movies are sunshine and rainbows. Although there is an accepted understanding that films specifically marketed towards children should be lighter fare, there have been cinematic periods of children’s movies that are not afraid of being slightly dark. In the early 1980s there was a welling of dark children’s films, and THE LAST UNICORN (1982) made its mark amidst that wave of disturbing films.

 

The Austrian horror film GOODNIGHT MOMMY seems to have come out of nowhere. I was first introduced to it at a secret screening during 2014’s Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. I had no clue what I was in store for. Not only was the screening unannounced, I had never even heard of the film or the filmmakers before. Now it is playing this year’s Boston Underground Film Festival, though the premise of the film is still a bit shrouded in mystery to American audiences. Most films benefit from the viewer being slightly in the dark about what they are about to see, and GOODNIGHT MOMMY embeds this proclivity to mystery by telling the story through children.

 

New York City has cleaned up nicely. Gone are the days of a filthy Times Square and squalid 42nd street. Now we have the M&M store, giant neon storefronts, and family friendly chain restaurants. Though the city is now far beyond its dingy history, the cinematic history of trashy films is still a strong memory for New York.

February 6, 2015 / / Main Slate Archive

 

Fear is personal. What scares one person may not cause even a small reaction in another. Categorizing the massive catalogue of monsters and antagonists in existence is a giant and thankless task. For the purpose of creating an initial approach to pinpointing the cause of fear there is one first question to be answered: is the fear due to something of this world, or is it based in fantasy?

January 2, 2015 / / Main Slate Archive

 

Being a cinema lover can feel like a case of unrequited love. My pulse quickens every time I settle into my seat and the darkness washes over the theater. It is very possible that the next two hours could be the most transformative of my life. I could find my new favorite film; my new reason to corner strangers at parties at talk at them about their unfair statement that “there are no more good movies.” I could laugh. I could cry. I could become energized and want to go out and show the world what I am made of. Unfortunately, more often than not, this is not the case. I leave the theater saying, “Well I guess it was a pretty good movie,” to be polite. Or I leave in a rage for wasting those two hours of my day. I find myself thinking that I love the movies more than they love me. On a rare occasion, however, I have all of my love for cinema reflected back at me. I leave the theater not only feeling as pumped up as ever, but I am also witness to a film created by a filmmaker who loves movies as much as I do.

December 30, 2014 / / Main Slate Archive

 

Sequels to beloved films often cause a stir. Fans react wildly to announced reunions of casts and characters. It is possible to feel simultaneously excited that we are given a chance to revisit with old friends on screen and to cower in fear of what missteps the filmmakers may make with these beloved characters. You hope for the best, but brace yourself for the possibility of a soulless cash-grab from Hollywood.

December 16, 2014 / / Main Slate Archive

 

“I’m feeling really weird about tonight.”

Few Christmas films balance the magic of the holiday with being a good film. I watch certain Christmas films repeatedly because of nostalgia or to get swept away with the love of the season, but SCROOGED is different. SCROOGED is funny, touching, and satisfying.

November 24, 2014 / / Main Slate Archive

 

Watching Roberto Rossellini’s ROME OPEN CITY is a devastating experience. Seeing humanity at its worst, in Nazi occupied Rome, it is hard to put yourself into the shoes of those who lived through the experience. However the shooting style of the film and the universality of the human indignity make the film’s message reach even those who have never experienced war first hand.

October 29, 2014 / / Main Slate Archive

 

Don’t let the premise of HORNS fool you. Though there are gigantic horns growing out of Ig’s (Daniel Radcliffe) forehead and murder is the centerpiece of the film, it is not a horror film. In fact, nearly every aspect of this film and its production point toward it being a horror film, but at its very core, it is a beautiful love story. Love can be a more extreme emotion than fear, and director Alexandre Aja is known for his extremes.

October 23, 2014 / / Main Slate Archive

 

If ever there were a home for people with a flair for the dramatic, the cinema would be it. Sure, the live theater offers an audience the opportunity to give instant feedback to the performer, but in cinema the performance can be captured, rewatched, and spread around to unlimited audiences. And is there a better way to feed a giant ego than by the promise of celluloid immortality?