The Damaging “Intentions” of The Wolf of Wall Street

I first watched The Wolf of Wall Street in theaters as a 15 year-old 10th grader with my mom and 13 year-old 8th grade sister. Needless to say none of us moved an inch until the credits rolled. The first thing my mom told me was “Ok so don’t tell your father I brought you here”. A couple behind us laughed and we were on our way.

As someone who was just starting to get into movies, not film or cinema, I didn’t know who Mr. Martin Scorsese was. My mother, who also didn’t know anything about Scorsese, was adamant to go to this movie about an era of Wall Street America she remembers as a “history lesson”. That was the most uncomfortable “lesson” I ever watched.

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100 words or less: Oasis Review

I was too comfortable in “acceptable” notions of love until I watched Oasis. The heart-wrenching tale chronicles the growing romantic relationship between Jong-Du Hong, an intellectual challenged young man recently released from prison, and Gong-ju Han, a young woman living with cerebral palsy. I want to fully say “I love their love” but like other Lee Chang-Dong’s films it’s hard to position yourself in a story which blatantly uses violence towards the female body as a tool to propel narrative and build characters. Is it righteous to disregard an otherwise well-intentioned film purely on this basis? Am I overanalysing?

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City of God [Film of the Week # 6]

Brazil, the 1960s, samba music, and uncut violence. City of God is a film which moves like the ocean. At times, it’s calm and innocent offering an adventurous depiction of life told from the overlooked and (globally) peripheralized perspective of poor Black youth. But most of the time the film is unabashedly candid and rough with in its illustration of how said youth have to negotiate with a society that has little reverence or respect for their livelihood. Our main characters lie, steal, murder, sell and do drugs but none of said actions hold any negative connotations nor do they define the characters to the cliché bracketed archetypes of criminals/villain. The true “villains” of City of God are hardly shown nor are they hardly talked about. If I have to spell it out in 2020, then perhaps you should give the film a rewatch and go read a little on history.

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100 words or less: La Chinoise [Jean-Luc Godard, 1967]

La Chinoise is a film where the ideologies shared by the film’s leads aren’t necessarily the ideologies promoted by the film. The film isn’t wholly calling to overthrow capitalism, despite how pervasive this thought is in the film, but is righteously critiquing the manner in which the French left, with their infatuation with rising communist bodies, envision a revolution. The real revolution of La Chinoise, therefore, isn’t spouted by its characters but present in how the film rejects dominant codes of cinema by challenging, as opposed to reinforcing, its own ideological core.

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The Simple Complexity of My Neighbor Totoro

As the first part of the title suggests, My Neighbor Totoro is an incredibly simple film. Two young girls, Mei and Satsuki, relocate with their father to a rural village in a beautifully sequestered home. For most of the film’s first half the high-energy and bubbly sisters explore their potentially haunted new house and aimlessly play around in their expansive garden. The only portion of the narrative which doesn’t feature their light-hearted childish endeavors is when they visit their mother whose be in the hospital for longer than normal – and they still find some fun in that. For the sake of maintaining its simplicity, the film doesn’t even mention exactly what the mother is sick from or if its fatal. And that’s about it. For just under 90 minutes we watch two girls make their own fun in their backyard, we meet Totoro and are introduced into a pre-existing world of spirits that is imperceptible to the close-minded gaze of adults.

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Oscars 2020: Who Were the Snubs?

I’m not too estactic with the 2020 Oscar nominations. While most to all nominees are deserving of credit in their respective category, The Academy could have very easily diversified the noms with the incredible year of film they were tasked in recognizing. I use the term diverse not only in suggestion to the identities of the noms but also as a means to push for less reoccurring names throughout categories. Joker, Jo Jo Rabbit, The Irishman, Ford v Ferrari, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood and 1917 dominate the entire awards—Joker for example leads the charge with 11 nominations. There is plenty of space for the snubs I list below and even for Robert DeNiro who was snubbed for being the eponymous character in The Irishman! This quick snubs list points to artists whose work may have been lost amongst 2019’s amazing catalog of films, or simply didn’t catch The Academy’s eye. We begin this list with perhaps this year’s Oscars biggest snub,

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Ranking All the Films I watched Last Year (2019)

Not to be confused with my top 100 films of the decade, this list ranks all films I watched in 2019 meaning films from any time period are featured. This list is an interesting peer into 84 unique films I either revisited or watched for the first time last year and includes a small response to each entry. I hope the following entries direct you to interesting feature-length projects, spark discourse amongst my picks or possibly respark a long forgotten love for a particular film.

Continue reading “Ranking All the Films I watched Last Year (2019)”

Not to be confused with my top 100 films of the decade, this list ranks all films I watched in 2019 meaning films from any time period are featured. This list is an interesting peer into 84 unique films I either revisited or watched for the first time last year and includes a small response to each entry. I hope the following entries direct you to interesting feature-length projects, spark discourse amongst my picks or possibly respark a long forgotten love for a particular film.

Continue reading “Ranking All the Films I watched Last Year (2019)”

My Favourite 100 Films of the Decade (2010-2019)

I should preface that I absolutely love reading ranked lists of practically anything but despise making them myself. There is no way I could quantify and rank my love for these next 100 films. At some point in time, most of them were my favourite films at the time of their release. Nonetheless, I tried my best to curate a unique and engaging list of some of the best feature-length films which were released in the past 10 years. I pride this list as it not only showcases the diversity the 2010s film landscape but also because of its distinction from many other top films of the decade countdowns. This list has several hidden gems, non-English language films and blockbuster hits I simply believe were overlooked as actual works of cinema. I hope my justifications for selecting these next 100 films demonstrate my unique love for each of them and possibly direct you to new films you weren’t aware of. Happy New Years everyone and enjoy!

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Introducing Filmagra

For anyone still out there, if you remember me, I am back once again to take another swing at the blogosphere.

4therace was truly my home in my later years of high school. When I started this website as an incredibly anxious and lost 15-year old, I simply wanted a space to spew my energy and make the human connections I was struggling to create in the “real-world”. 4therace is where I learned, for the first time, I wasn’t the only anxiety filled teen out there – and that meant the world to me. As minuscule as it sounds, this site is where I could release the chaotic state of emotions stirring inside me after the separation of my parents. It was my first true therapists. It’s where I built my strength and confidence as a writer. It’s where I began to share my love with movies with the world.

And although, at the age of 21 now, I still find myself to be that same anxious teenager who was confused and did not know himself yet, I know for sure that it’s time for this site to grow into who I am today. 4therace, thus, has transformed into Filmagra.

As a site which will never forget the diverse content which once featured on 4therace, short stories, discussions of mental health, and long essays will continue to have a special place here- Filmagra will strongly focus on film and television.

Please stay tuned for my favorite films and television series of the decade posts which I am extremely eager to share.

‘She’s Gotta Have It’ [1986] Breaking Black Stereotypes in Film

Black people can be superheroes — thank you T’Challa — they can be love interests or the leading actor of a major blockbuster flick. Black characters can be layered and complex as exemplified in Spike Lee’s first feature-length film, She’s Gotta have It. 

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