Cinema Saturday, Vol. 1

Cinema Saturday
I’m bringing back Cinema Saturday as an occasional feature to fill my weekend blogging spot when I don’t feel like talking about things I’ve read.

This post covers four films I watched between mid-May and early June. Links and info courtesy IMDB.

poster It Follows It Follows (2014)

Director: David Robert Mitchell
Writer: David Robert Mitchell
Stars: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi

I’m pretty late to this movie. If you don’t know the premise, it’s a play on the “sex kills” trope of many horror films. In this case, to avoid death the victim must have sex to pass on the curse. “It” follows slowly and unrelentingly, but what I found to be unsettling was house of cards aspect. If a sexual partner fails to pass on the curse and is killed, you’re back on hook to pass on the curse again.

I appreciated that there wasn’t some grand explanation of the curse. We don’t know it’s origin or end. All its lore is passed verbally.

Yoga Hosers poster Yoga Hosers (2016)

Director: Kevin Smith
Writer: Kevin Smith
Stars: Lily-Rose Depp, Harley Quinn Smith, Johnny Depp

Yoga Hosers doesn’t really hold together as a horror movie or as teen movie (or whatever it’s trying to be), but it isn’t entirely unenjoyable. There are funny bits and some Kimmy Schmidt-esque ridiculousness and, well, bratzis. I’ve spent an hour and a half on worse things.

Destiny poster Destiny (1921)

Director: Fritz Lang
Writers: Fritz Lang, Thea von Harbou
Stars: Lil Dagover, Walter Janssen, Bernhard Goetzke

On the far, far opposite side of the cinema coin is Destiny. I don’t watch many silent films. Honestly, this one ended up on my Netflix list because I didn’t realize that it was a 1921 film. I wasn’t paying attention and thought it was maybe something artsy from the 60s or 70s à la The Seventh Seal. But it’s quite good.

The plot: A young woman pleads with Death for the soul of her fiancé. She’s given three chances, in different times and places, to save a soul from death. If she succeeds, she gets her fiancé back. I’m was fairly impressed by the strong female character. She’s frightened and disconsolate, but she goes toe-to-toe with Death. I’m also impressed with the breadth of the plot. This is Doctor Who/Quantum Leap level fantasy as the Loving Couple inhabit three other story lines.

But the true star here is Lang’s visuals. Again, I don’t know much about the silent era of film-making, but the only modern era director I know of who stacks up in this respect is Tarsem Signh. Dear Filmmakers, you don’t need every bell and whistle to make a beautiful film.

A Knight's Tale poster A Knight’s Tale (2001)

Director: Brian Helgeland
Writer: Brian Helgeland
Stars: Heath Ledger, Mark Addy, Rufus Sewell

A rewatch and one of my favorite films. It’s been a few years, probably, since I watched it last, but it really holds up. I find it to be one of the more cleverly written films with lots of threads and call-backs. Plus, especially good acting and editing. In many ways, it’s just a sports movie, but sports movies are one of my favorite genres.

Back in December, Tor blog columnist and medieval historian, Michael Livingston, defended it as being his favorite medieval film mostly due to its historical relationship, rather than its accuracy. I wholeheartedly agree.

Didn’t realize that all three of these were writer/director projects.