TV Review – Tales from the Loop Season One, Episode One

Tales from the Loop (Amazon Prime)
Season One, Episode One – “Loop”
Written by Nathan Halpern
Directed by Mark Romanek

Tales from the Loop was inspired by the art of Swedish painter Simon Stålenhag, images that provoke a sense of nostalgia but also of the future. His pictures depict the rural landscape outside of Stockholm, with elements of dystopian science fiction peppered in. The presence of these pieces of technology doesn’t clutter the image, but they do dominate, juxtaposed against children in 1980s clothing observing the machines or only going about their daily lives with the monoliths looming in the background. This is the mysterious world of the Loop, out of time, and the home to luminous and breathtaking feats that break the laws of physics.

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Movie Review – The Palm Beach Story

The Palm Beach Story (1942)
Written by Preston Sturges & Ernest Laemmle
Directed by Preston Sturges

This is the ur-text of screwball comedies, every core element boiled down to its purest essence. There are pratfalls galore, windows getting smashed, and people confusing each other for others. It exists as both an ode to the comedies of mixed-up identities from Shakespeare and commentary on the late stages of the Great Depression. This film will inspire future pictures like Some Like It Hot and Intolerable Cruelty, but it doesn’t put on airs of being profound or world-changing. This is a pure character-centered comedy that understands how important it is to have a diverse variety of roles.

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Comic Book Review – The Wicked + The Divine Book One

The Wicked + The Divine Book One (2016)
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie & Matthew Wilson

Approximately every 90 years, there is the Recurrence. This is an event where twelve gods of the ancient world reincarnate in human bodies. These forms are usually teenagers who are gifted supernatural powers, particularly the ability to influence the minds of mortals. Their purpose to combat an ill-defined forced known as The Darkness. Two years from their arrival, they will die, as it has been forever and ever. This is the basic premise of Kieron Gillen’s The Wicked + The Divine.

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Movie Reviews – Sullivan’s Travels

Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
Written & Directed by Preston Sturges

Sullivan’s Travels is a masterpiece in my book. It’s a metacommentary on movies that never loses sight that it’s also a slapstick comedy. The film is a reflection of the struggles of the working class, particularly during the Great Depression, but it’s a genuinely endearing love story. Preston Sturges managed to create a film that captures so much about his point in time yet speaks universally to the struggles & victories of our lives today. Yet Sturges made a movie preaching about the annoyance of preaching in film. It’s a beautiful paradox the produced a picture that is one of the best American films ever made.

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Movie Review – The Lady Eve

The Lady Eve (1941)
Written & Directed by Preston Sturges

Preston Sturges may not be a name you know, but the influence of his work is still felt in movies to this day. He began his career as a screenwriter and successfully transitioned into directing, he’s considered the first person to do this. His characters show a sharp wit yet also execute a pratfall in the same scene, Sturges found humor in seeing bright people “hoisted by their own petard.” While the screwball comedy came about in the 1930s, it was Sturges who formed and refined the key tropes that made it up. The Coen Brothers are one obvious continuation of Sturges’s work, but even Pixar has cited the writer-director as someone they look to when developing their films.

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SXSW Short Film Festival @ Home – Documentaries Part 1

SXSW (or South by Southwest) is an annual gathering of film, music, interactive media, and other creative fields that has been going on since 1986. Because of COVID-19’s spread, this year’s SXSW gathering has been canceled. But one way the organizers are bringing the festival to our homes is through MailChimp hosting over fifty of the short films that were to be screened there. I will be spending April watching and reviewing every short film by category. Our first two screenings will be devoted to documentary shorts.

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