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Entries by Sean Donovan (18)

Saturday
Aug 03 2019

Hobbs & Shaw: The Daddyness of It All

By Sean Donovan

TheFast & Furiousfilms have become some of our most trusted purveyors of pure Hollywood excess,concocting outlandish set pieces and barely logical heist plots that deliver thrills in big bold screaming letters,with an automative fetish that has been worth billions of dollars.But this spin-off,focused on two characters who joined mid-franchise,re-prioritizes the car fetish in favor of two male stars (and a third new one) whose bodies and larger-than-life macho personas are fetish objects in and of themselves.I have been affectionally naming this film ‘Daddy Fight' ever since I first saw the trailer,for indeed that is what it is- gladiatorial combat to see who among Dwayne Johnson,Jason Statham,or Idris Elba will emerge as Daddy.The result is,quite simply,one of the most triumphant adrenaline-fueled homoerotic explosions in recent memory...

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Sunday
Jun 02 2019

Review: Octavia Spencer lets loose with "Ma"

by Sean Donovan

In an age where critics praise a generation of thoughtful,innovative,and dazzlingly styled horror films,a deceptively basic package likeMa --unconcerned with winning good reviews,elevating the genre,or acquiring a fancy boutique label like A24 -- is uniquely refreshing.Ma's jump scares are familiar,its plotting is predictably iffy,its logic and emotional contexts for its supporting characters even more so- but goddamn it,it's fun.

The ‘fun' comes from feeding off the joy of Octavia Spencer inhabiting domestic horror-thriller,Hand That Rocks the Cradlerealness.No longer is Spencer smiling on a gilded stage,frozen while Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga accept prizes for socially regressive trash to which she's somehow attached.Octavia's back baby,and this time she's got hell to raise and teens to terrify....

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Monday
Jul 09 2018

Bergman Centennial: Winter Light (1963) and the echo of First Reformed (2018)

Team Experience will be celebrating one of the world's most acclaimed auteurs for the next week for the 100th anniversary of Ingmar Bergman's birth.Here's Sean Donovan...

Perhaps none of Ingmar Bergman's films do more to conjure clichés of what a ‘Bergman film' is than 1963'sWinter Light.WhilePersonais undoubtedly the cinephile consensus choice for his best film,andThe Seventh SealorWild Strawberriesare his most widely-seen,frequently adorning college syllabi about the history of European cinema,the morose sadness for which his work became known feels most exemplarily expressed inWinter Light.The second part of a trilogy about "the silence of God"(starting out grim already),Winter Light's infinite quiet,stark black-and-white cinematography,freezing cold exteriors,and tear-soaked monologues scream BERGMAN in capital letters.It's strange viewing with which to start a hot summer weekday morning,but here we are.Though the severity of film that threatens to overwhelm you,it is my personal favorite of the Bergman canon,superbly acted and filmed with a brisk lightness that befits an auteur frequently in danger of getting weighed down in heavy-handedness.A freezing shot of aquavit on the rocks can knock you over and have you questioning the purpose of your life.

Winter Lightmay be reaching new audiences this year as it has received a renewed relevancy from Paul Schrader'sFirst Reformed,an unofficial remake blatantly taking the premise and applying it to the contemporary United States...

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Thursday
Jun 21 2018

Yes No Maybe So: Creed II

by Sean Donovan

The son of Apollo Creed returns inCreed II!Creedwas one of the surprise gems of 2015,delivering blockbuster entertainment with genuine impact and grit.I was ready to write off this idea of a sequel as soon as I learned Ryan Coogler was not on board as a director,thinking that the resonance,intensity,and readiness to embrace topical political contexts of the firstCreedall came from him.

But the first trailer,along with the film's very elegant first poster,brawny and tough in the best way,has come along to soundly quell those concerns and suggest this is in no way a simple studio rush job.So let's go over the evidence with a Yes No Maybe So™ Breakdown of the trailer and a full look at that perfect teaser poster...

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Thursday
Apr 12 2018

Contrarian Corner: A Quiet Place

Contrarian Corner is an irregular series in which TFE team members sound off on a film that they just can't join the consensus with.Chris loved the movie(as audiences seem to).But here's Sean Donovan with quite a different reaction...

A Quiet Placeis very very quiet,as all of the characters are keen to remind us,frantically throwing up a finger to their lips in a suppressed SHHHHH.The monsters can hear you,a mysterious species blind but intensely sensitive to sound,and capable of swinging in from far off distances to decimate any disturbance in the soundscape.As a result,one survivalist family of this ruined civilization (dad John Krasinski,mom Emily Blunt,children Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe) have calibrated their lives perfectly to function without sound.

I,for one,wanted more of a sense of this family's regular routine in their soundless environment: how do they communicate,how are their lives different,how do they have fun?You can imagine theSwiss Family Robinsonor Rube Goldberg machine fun this movie could have had: what are Noah Jupe's favorite sound-free toys?How does Emily Blunt make toast so the toaster stays PERFECTLY SILENT?

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