Fire Of Love

A fascinating watch, not only due to its unrivalled archival footage which the doomed lovers, Katia and Maurice Krafft, accumulated in their many years of cutting edge vulcanology - but because this is a film about the enduring unknowability of the origins of a passion - the bittersweet impossibility of capturing the state of love. [read more] ★★★★★

Dune

If it had been an eight minute short, with the electrical Charlotte Rampling, as Reverend Mother Mohiam, pain-testing the blank slate that is Timothée Chalamet, as Paul Atreides, to gauge his capacity for impulse-control, and the suitability for the job of a Messiah - I would have given it a five-star, no questions asked. However, as things stand, it is well over two hours long, and feels more like an obscure, scattered conversation overheard on a long train ride - all dense plot and mild tedium, a bounty of sensual imagery wasted on zero substance. ★★✩✩✩

Nightmare Alley

Theatrical to a fault, and gorgeous to look at - a goth Norman Rockwell - yet hermetically sealed to any insight that would turn our gaze inward, away from its mesmerising scenery - its characters suffering the same suffocating fate in its dense nocturnal world. In a film noir a lack of air, light, or indeed insight into the internal universe of a character does not necessarily have to be detrimental, given the genres affinity for portraits of mysterious doom, but what it must have is undeniable chemistry between its leads – and here this intricately designed storyline strangely collapses. [read more] ★★★✩✩

Judas And The Black Messiah

It took a Bill O'Neal, an FBI informant, and a petty thief, looking for a way out of jail time, infiltrating the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s, to bring down a Fred Hampton - a genius orator and strategist, and a true revolutionary in his prime. Compensating in visual simplicity and narrative earnestness what it lacks in storytelling flair, what I credit this timely, meticulously researched endeavour with most, is its bringing into focus the burning question of the ways credible popular movements could be corrupted from within, external elements slowly introducing wrongful practices, sapping them of their righteous energy and heartfelt zeal – finally destroying the very voices which made them what they are. [read more] ★★★✩✩

Spencer

Kristen Stewart‘s great capacity of completely inhabiting a character while remaining unchanged fits the narrative like a white silken glove. As Diana, she entirely embodies the fiercely independent soul submerged deeply into the archetypal, a place where she is thereby forever chained to all the other souls acting as vessels to a national storyline. Poetic, mysterious, and subversively cathartic, this cinematic miracle unequivocally makes clear to all watching why Diana mattered so much, to so many. It has something to do with love. [read more] ★★★★★

House Of Gucci

Lady Gaga as Patrizia truly did give it her all, and in a way, she is the only one on screen that actually fits the form, knowing how to spin deep emotion from what might seem like a lark. The sum of all the broad strokes significantly dampens the amount of pathos necessary for a drama of this grand opera scale - leaving us only with the giggles. Not enough to walk away with, when it comes to art - and just enough to get by, when it comes to entertainment. [read more] ★★★✩✩

The Last Duel

Regardless of Sir Ridley Scott’s iconic eye, a star-studded cast does not an epic make. Casting both Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (also the two of the three screenwriters), was way too meta not to distract from the gravity of the tale. Marguerite's was a story well worth to be told on its own. It would had held up without the gimmickry. [read more] ★★★✩✩

2001: A Space Odyssey on 70mm. An Interview With A Magician.

There is no one closer to the enchantment of film than the film projectionist - a craft that is slowly disappearing, as celluloid itself, and should be cherished as cinema treasure. Film, in its essence, is its medium. And the projectionist, therefore, its magician in residence. So consider this an interview with a master, Paul Perkins. Full unedited interview with film projectionist Paul Perkins, first published in edited version for Picturehouse Spotlight, May 2018.

Fallen Women of Hollywood Melodrama: 1930s-1950s

Exploring the myth of the fallen woman in classic Hollywood melodrama, via Jungian framework, tracing her historical, religious and literary antecedents, delving into the archetypal realms of the dark, wild feminine projected onto the screen, and her impact on the spectator, male and female. What these femme fatales, gold-diggers, seductresses, fallen angels, and furious housewives subversively revealed was a hidden narrative current underneath the official one, women's own dispossessed femininity, debased, fragmented and demonised, yet so powerfully vibrant and creative. [read more]

Archetypal Enchantment And The Twin Of David Lynch

There is something in the nature of a recording that defies rational explanation. It is a replica of life, its twin and its double, and yet, it is also its deathly echo, preserving life by embalming it for eternity, or at least until the shelf life of the medium itself expires. Some images have the numinosity to affect us deeply, a capacity to both heal and destroy. They represent evidence of an alternate existence, glimpses of a double life, our twin in the archetypal world, skin in the game of immortality. Lynch evokes this quality perfectly in his work. [read more]

Knives Out

Although I mostly write spoiler analysis, due to the nature of these reviews, I won't here, for the sheer pleasure everyone should have while watching this most enjoyable of cinematic experiences. An antidote, if you will, to the nasty landscapes it depicts, with extreme wit and a big heart. Go see it. It's an all-star murder mystery about inheritance. And yes, I give it five stars, without explaining why. My blog, my rules... etc. [read more] ★★★★★

Ad Astra

It sets its sights high on its thorny way to Neptune, but it seems to lack soul material, an obscure alchemical element. Namely, generosity. Even with a core intent that is honourable, and a story that is conceptually beautiful in its severe simplicity – it’s a selfish story about selfishness. A love letter meant for a particular other, or group of others, but perhaps truly written only to oneself. Pushing aside all that does not belong in its elegant narrative. [read more]
★★✩✩✩

Film, the Alchemical Medium: Archetypal Enchantment and the Transformative Potential of the Moving Image

Behold my cursed ancient academic proposal I aimed at studying how we are enchanted by film, using early film theory, post-Jungian analysis & anthropology of ritual, examining ways the moving image could potentially be employed as transformative tool in art therapy. One day I might write about the text's strange travels, good stuff I got out of it, publish a book, or reboot my bid for title of film doctor. For now, please feast on its faded glory, and feel free to cite & link. Yours might be the kiss that revives it. [read more]

Cold War

An experience of profound beauty and real heartache, one that maybe should have been left untouched. It has that defiant spirit of divine intervention hidden beneath a beautiful, silent, terrible mistake. Hope I did Zula and Wiktor justice, their story, it's a diamond and a dagger, in one. [read more]
★★★★★

Maria By Callas

It was the humanity in the delivery of divinity that was the key to Callas's impact - the way she knew, by some uncanny ability, just how to channel an archetype. Seeing her in Pasolini's Medea, even just for a few screen seconds, shook my soul, if not my world. [read more]
★★★✩✩

Sharp Objects & The Initiation Of The Screen She-Shaman

Camille emerged fully formed, a she-shaman forged in the era of the return of the witch, expanding the liminal space between traumatic events, taking the silver bullet of all audience assumptions and projections in a tale of female rage - of women hurting other women - all those dark vagina dentata materials blooming a venemous crimson red in the patriarchal dollhouse. [read more]

Lola says…

Lola On Film is designed to deconstruct the spectacle, measure empty calories, offer nutritional insights on films newly released, as well as archival treasures, assess the state of contemporary film culture, explore new formats, and hopefully, illuminate cinema's place in society, as well as in our individual psychology. To follow Lola On Film, please enter your email address below, and press subscribe. [read more]

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