All posts by Sam M.

Long-Time Corner Writers Caleb and Kiran Resign Claiming Discrimination

We regret to inform readers of The Corner that Caleb M and Kiran M, two of our long-time senior staff writers, resigned last week. Below is the unedited transcript of the letter submitted by them to the Editorial staff. To provide the reader with some context, the issue at the heart of the controversy was the said writers’ assertion that their voices were not equally represented by the editors and advisors of The Corner due to previous unfocused behavior on their part. Continue reading Long-Time Corner Writers Caleb and Kiran Resign Claiming Discrimination

Sundance 2014: “The Voices”

To be honest, I’m not quite sure how to write this review. When I saw this film, it absolutely floored me, and my adoration has grown in the time since I saw it. Yet trying to describe the film feels difficult, because it’s so very different from any film I’ve ever seen. Especially that ending. That was definitely new.

I suppose I should explain. This January, I had the oppurtunity to attend the Sundance film festival. Over six days, I saw 15 new films, some of which were rather horrific, and some of which were spectacular.

Yet there was one film which has stuck with me ever since, in a way I can’t quite shake. It was a film that made me not only remember what it was like to not only ‘really really like’ a movie, but to love one, wholeheartedly, without any reservations.

That film was Marjene Satrapi’s The Voices.

Starring Ryan Reynolds, the film follows a bright-eyed, small-town factory worker named Jerry. What starts off as an almost Disney-esque beginning (There’s no end to neon clothing, cartoonish sets, even an opening theme song) when you meet the cat.

It talks. Not only that, but it also insults, abuses, swears. Not only that, but it also speaks with a Scottish accent. Not only that, but it tells Ryan Reynolds to kill people. And as anyone would do when given a task by a talking animal, he obliges.

The film spins arounds wildly between tones for the rest of the movie, from absurdist comedy to horror to psychological thriller to tragedy. Yet it’s handles with such grace that the tonal switches never feel forced or inappropriate. Every decision made not only feels right, it also feels new.

Every several years or so, we get a movie that is truly unlike anything we’ve seen before. I’m not talking about a film such as The Tree of Life, which, while certainly different from many films, wasn’t exactly anything new in the avant-garde department. I’m talking about Donnie Darko, or 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Eraserhead, or Synecdoche, New York. All of these are drastically different films, yet they all have made me feel differently than any film I’ve seen before or since. They’re the films that are able to pair down on one true human desire, and depict it in such a manner that we walk out of the film not with a ‘message,’ but with a changed attitude.

The film is hugely entertaining, with a sharp screenplay and a monumentally great performance by Ryan Reynolds, yet it has true horrors within its screen time. Like M*A*S*H, or Harold and Maude, it finds life where others only see fear, sadness, and death. As the late Roger Ebert said, “We laugh so that we may not cry.” We feel sorry for Jerry, and his confused, troubled soul. Yet he figures out how to remain positive, and, as corny as it sounds, we do too.

This is certainly an odd movie, which polarized audiences at the festival, and will continue to polarize them when it’s released by Lionsgate hopefully later this year. Yet I believe those who believe this is somehow lacking aren’t seeing the full picture. They need to understand that the fear, and the horror, and the sadness in the film are all necessary to make the loopily hilarious moments work. It’s a story, nothing more. Yet it’s a story that makes one realize what true happiness is. It’s a miracle of a movie, really.

And that ending. It’s perfect.

(This film will most certainly be rated R, for language, disturbing content, and lots of bloody violence)

10 Best Films of 2013

2013 was a pretty great year for movies. Sure, there were some significant let-downs (Pacific Rim, for all its glorious action sequences, was a disappointment from maestro Guillermo del Toro). Yet the year was also filled plenty of wondrous slices of entertainment (Catching Fire, despite being a big blockbuster, was the biggest surprise of the year when it came to quality), terrific comedies, stirring dramas, and the greatest film to come along in the new millennium. Here’s my list of the best films of 2013. I mean it to be in no way as comprehensive, as there are several upcoming films that I’m anxiously awaiting  (Inside Llewyn Davis, Her, The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle). Yet here is the list of the best films that I have seen. I hope you can find something on here that you enjoy. Continue reading 10 Best Films of 2013

Young Nobel Prize Nominee Serves as Inspiration for All

B_Id_377888_Malala_YousafzaiOn October 19th, 2012, in Mingora, Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban for simply advocating women’s education. When the Taliban first came to her town in 2009, Malala was only eleven years old. Even so, she spoke out against them at her school, proclaiming that she wished to be a doctor when she grew up. Continue reading Young Nobel Prize Nominee Serves as Inspiration for All

That’s what I’m doing, right? A film column?

When I think about the films I’ve watched, all the blockbusters, all the tacky rom-coms, all the lowbrow comedies, all the overacted melodramas, I realize that when it comes to finding masterpieces, it can be difficult. Obviously there are the classics –Citizen Kane, Vertigo, The Rules of the Game – but what else? How many films aren’t just expertly crafted, but also stunningly original? Even thoroughly entertaining fare such as Argo and The Artist stick strictly to Hollywood formula. Then there are films like The Tree of Life, which are so utterly overrated it seems as though film critics are desperately trying to force a new classic onto us. Ultimately, although there are plenty of decent – or even very good – films being made these days, rarely do we see a great one. Continue reading That’s what I’m doing, right? A film column?

‘Random Access Memories’ and the Last Great EDM Record

On Tuesday, May 14th, I went onto iTunes to buy the new Vampire Weekend album, Modern Vampires of the City. It’s a very good new album from yet another Indie Pop-Rock group. In other words, nothing entirely out of the ordinary. Now, as I was downloading the album to my computer, I saw that the new Daft Punk album, Random Access Memories, was streaming for free on iTunes a week before its scheduled release. I decided to put it on, just to see if it was any good. Within five minutes, I was sitting back, my eyes closed, listening to my earbuds intently. I’ve listened to the entire thing two times since then (and various songs more so), and I’m convinced that this is the best album of 2013, or at least the most important. Continue reading ‘Random Access Memories’ and the Last Great EDM Record

My Incessant Frustration with YA Novels

Ah, Twilight. The phenomenon changed the world in most ways than many realize, and in more ways than it should have. The book, for those who have been hiding under a rock since the iPod came out, centers around a sulky teenager who must choose between an emotionless vampire and a strange, slimy werewolf, creating one of the worst love triangles ever. The books have no redeeming value, whatsoever, yet over a million people still bought every book. Now, while Twilight started the now-dying Vampire craze, it also started a certain trend, that, while more prevalent in our lives, we don’t think about. Continue reading My Incessant Frustration with YA Novels