Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Macbeth’ (2015)

Towards the end of the official Shakespearian “Macbeth,” the titular character delivers a grim assessment of “dusty death”: the candle of vitality burns but briefly, and life “struts and frets his hour upon the stage.” Director Justin Kurzel, whose Macbeth is based on the Bard’s, takes the metaphor of the stage and runs with it, […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Creed’ (2015)

What could be worse than being the son of an absentee father? Try being illegitimate, and having Dad – an iconic boxer – die before you were born. Those are the sizable issues gnawing at the soul of the protagonist of Creed, the sixth sequel in the Rocky franchise. Directed and co-written by Ryan Coogler, […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Mustang’ (2015)

There’s estrogen, and plenty of it, in Mustang, a film that explores the treatment of the Feminine in a coastal village in northern Turkey. Co-written and directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, the movie creates a personal and cultural tug of war between two archetypes – Venus and Mars – culminating in a bittersweet victory. The […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: Magic Mike XXL (2015)

Putting away the things of childhood is the extra-extra large theme behind Magic Mike XXL. Sure there’s plenty of male skin here. But the movie, directed by Gregory Jacobs, has its serious underside: a likeable bunch of strippers’ search for their self-identities. There’s a lot of archetypal Mars – males, physicality, energy, sex and sexual […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Ted 2’ (2015)

The non-human partner in cinematic interspecies-like procreation has typically been extra-terrestrial. It’s time to add plush toys to the mix, specifically, Ted, the teddy-bear BFF of man-child John Barrett. Co-written and directed by Seth MacFarlane, Ted 2 continues the saga of John, who was gifted with Ted in the mid-’80s. Ted, of course, turned into […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Inside Out’ (2015)

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Wait until you meet the community that’s helping grow Riley. In Peter Docter’s Pixar-animated Inside Out, pre-pubescent Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) has a parental unit (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan). But in addition to Mom and Dad, there’s a cadre monitoring her interior well […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Spy’ (2015)

As masters of disguise, spies are the ultimate impostors, a premise which Spy, a female-driven comedy, brilliantly turns into a feminist tract. Written and directed by Paul Feig, the movie is a sophisticated, barely concealed take on impostor syndrome, a psychological phenomenon that’s been kicking around for nearly four decades. Impostor syndrome typically affects successful […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Good Kill’ (2015)

Is military killing easier to rationalize when it’s done with a joystick? That’s the question at the heart of Good Kill, which looks at how drone warfare affects a group of military fighting the Taliban from crate-like structures in the Las Vegas desert. Written and directed by Andrew Niccol, the film, which screened at the […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Cake’ (2015)

Physical and psychological immobilization caused by pain can be literally life-halting. This inability to go forward is at the heart of Cake, a sly exploration of the energy-fueled Mars archetype. Typically the operative archetype in summer tentpole actioners, Mars – the ability to go after what one wants in life through will power, ego, motion […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Wild Tales’ (2014)

Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes), from Argentine director Damian Szifron, is a film of six stories, each one a tale about people getting even. Vengefulness and retaliatory measures, as responses to offensive acts, have been around since the beginning of time. And, if animals retaliated in bestial ways when their kill was poached, Szifron makes it […]