Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Self/less’ (2015)

Death means disintegration of the body, as well as the evaporation of every thought and mental talent the deceased ever accrued in life. Damian Hale, a wealthy real estate mogul with terminal cancer, is one of those people who’d like to stick around a bit longer. Self/Less, a medical thriller directed by Tarsem Singh, explores […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Jurassic World’ (2015)

The dinosaur-populated tourist attraction at the center of Jurassic World is heavily promoted as a place to bring the family. But what this theme part is really about – technology and genetics research at its most impersonal – is at the opposite end of the feeling-spectrum. The constant archetypal interplay between high tech and the […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ (2015)

Although Pitch Perfect 2, like its predecessor, is about the Bellas, a girls-only a cappella college singing group, the franchise’s archetype is not the singer. The archetypal honor goes to the misfit, carried primarily by Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), whose Aussie roots, larger proportions and clumsiness brand her as unique. She’s a Uranian outlier, despite […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Hot Pursuit’ (2015)

On the surface, Hot Pursuit is about an uptight law enforcement agent shepherding an unwilling witness to court to testify against a drug lord. Archetypally, it’s a joust between by-the-book, tightly coiled Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) and renegade Colombian hottie Daniella (Sofia Vergara). Given that one woman intensely colors inside the lines and the other doesn’t […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ (2015)

Although set in Dorset, England, in 1870, period movie Far from the Madding Crowd is a modern take on relational independence and interdependence, the age-old push-pull between affectionate Venus and emotionally free-from-all-ties Uranus. Written and directed by Thomas Vinterberg and based on the classic Thomas Hardy novel, the movie opens with heroine Bathsheba Everdene (Carey […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Ex Machina’ (2015)

Artificial intelligence, a boon when it brews coffee and cleans the house, has its dark side. What happens if it becomes less obviously “artificial,” to the point where humans can no longer pinpoint the “otherness” of the carrier? All intelligence is Mercurial, but what happens if flesh-and-blood smarts are no longer capable of picking out […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘While We’re Young’ (2015)

In the creation of art, does the maker’s lack of adherence to a solid level of truthiness nullify the creation? That’s the question posed by Noah Baumbach, the writer and director of While We’re Young, who uses two couples from different generations as his conduits. Representing the mid-40s demographic is married couple Josh and Cornelia. […]

Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘White God’ (2015)

Political allegories are rarely as thrilling as White God, a film in which mixed-breed canines are stand-ins for oppressed peoples who rise up when irrevocably marginalized and mistreated by the system. The movie screened at New Directors/New Films, program jointly presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art. At […]

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

The feeling- and consciousness-infused machine has been one of cinema’s more popular go-to sci-fi archetypes. Add the titular robot of Chappie to that list. Set in a near-future Johannesburg that’s riddled by crime gangs, Neill Blomkamp, the movie’s co-writer and director, has created a parable – sandwiched between two revenge tales – about one man’s […]

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

Motherhood can turn the best maternal caregivers into moonstruck lunatics, an identifier that pays tribute to the always changing waxing and waning night-sky luminary. The Canadian film Mommy makes a meal of the Lunar principle – tied to nurturing, emotion, security, family and home – in all its messy, excessive and often thankless glory. Written […]