As many of you know, In Contention is firmly set in the #TeamMargaret camp. Kris named the film as his number one movie of the year, and Guy his number two. I saw “Margaret” via a streaming link recently. It was presented in six instillations that required me to log in at each breaking point, the player was about a quarter of the size of my 17-inch computer, and the name “Kris Tapley” sat as a vertical watermark across the frame for the entirety of the screening. And yet even given the constraints of that viewing experience, had I created a top 10 list, I would have named “Margaret” as my number two film of the year as well – if not my number one.
“Margaret” is an authentic snapshot of New York’s creative intelligentsia, far more so than the overworked “Carnage,” which talks down to its characters and inspires nothing more than a desire to find a large stick of one’s own. “Margaret” is raw and messy and shockingly real. It feels both patterned and elliptical in the way that life often does. It is an almost painfully accurate depiction of a privileged, overly bright teen with more ambition (ethical and sometimes sexual in this case) than the sense that is born only of experience.
As someone who grew up first in the overcrowded, underfunded hallways of the public school system and then in the indulged corridors of an alternative, private high school for “gifted” children in New York, I can attest to the stunning sense of verisimilitude that the film evokes. I both was Lisa (the film’s central protagonist) and knew her. Had I been in high school in the post-9/11 era I would have taken part in the same heated, and yes, strident, debates that Anna Paquin’s Lisa regularly engages in.
Bella versus Bellflower
The color of love was a fetching blood red in both theaters and on VOD this weekend.
It’s possible that two more divergent explorations of the agony and the ecstasy of love could be found. Possible. But the synchronistic release of the micro-budgeted, darkly masculine fantasy of love “Bellflower” vs. the blockbusting female fantasy “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1″ warrants a mention and a brief examination. The former represents an independent passion project 8 years in the making for writer/director/star Evan Glodell, while the latter represents the penultimate instillation in a YA phenomena.
Most readers will already be familiar with the general story structure of “Breaking Dawn,” but for referential purposes: Bella and Edward get married. Jacob gets sad. Bella gets pregnant. Jacob gets mad. The werewolves turn against the Cullen vampires.The fetus threatens to drain Bella of her life from the inside out. Edward begs for death alongside his beloved. Bella learns to love the taste of blood, blooood, blooooooood! Jacob is forced to gag. All of this culminates in a frighteningly intimate c-section with teeth and Jacob “imprinting on” (aka falling in enslaving love with) an infant.
“Bellflower” follows childhood friends Woodrow and Aiden who (as adults) remain committed to their post-apocalyptic daydreams of glory in which they and their “Mother Medusa” gang will be the lone survivors prepared to handle the harsh realities of a world on fire (side note: Charles Manson had a similar fantasy). They build elaborate muscle cars and homemade flamethrowers together in preparation for the end, until Woodrow falls maddeningly in love with sexy tom boy Milly, at which point a frenetic nightmare of betrayal and violence ensues.
Broken down in those terms it’s going to be a challenge to decide which of these films is indeed more of a mind twister.
This is the professional website for Jennings Roth Cornet. Here you will find my resume as well as written and video samples of my work.
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