Panos Cosmatos’ “Mandy” will be a film that not everyone will click in to. What could be a typical revenge thriller about a man avenging his wife is transformed in to a brilliant and mesmerizing trip in to insanity and literal hell. We know so little about Nicolas Cage’s character, but once he’s lost everything in his life, he descends in to a madness and hellfire that’s both horrifying and awe inspiring. Every single frame of “Mandy” is a mind blowing moving painting, one filled with vast colors and shades. The world Red and Mandy share is so vast, but is set just for them and them alone.
It’s amazing how prophetic Satoshi Kon’s “Perfect Blue” was back in 1997. Even though it was released at the beginning of the internet age, “Perfect Blue” is a very strong and still very relevant tale about rabid fandom, gate keeping, obsession, and the struggles to maintain one’s own sense of self and agency in a world where growing in one’s career means relinquishing our dignity and discretion. In a time where actresses are being chased and harassed off of social platforms, “Perfect Blue” conjures up so much interesting and familiar imagery and plot beats, and ultimately is about the cost of rabid fandom.
Written and directed by Justin McConnell, Lifechanger is an exploration of mortality, letting go, love, and what people are willing to do to keep going without changes and what they are willing to accept to keep their lives on their preferred path. While the film is a horror film at its core, the story is about much more than the simple kills and shapeshifting, it’s about taking over lives, making one’s own life. The way this is approached creates a story that is easy to follow even with the switches in lead person and the multiple storylines. The film keeps everything in order and easily understandable. As the story advances and the lead narrates the story, the reasons for it all become clearer and they are not just for survival.
A man stumbles upon a time travelling amulet and uses it to attempt to get himself out of trouble and get his dream girl. Things do not go according to plan and things just get more complicated each time he travels back in time, causing a second, third, fourth, etc copy of himself that need to go back where they came from.
While on a shoot with a German director, actress Mabel tries to better her craft and herself while also attempting to connect with her co-star, a disfigured man who has a very different outlook on life and acting.
Newly married Elizabeth and Henry arrive at home to a decadent house where he woos her. As time goes by, she meets the house staff and becomes curious of her surroundings and husband. Being locked out of a single room raises her curiosity until she decides to investigate.
Following a mysterious death, a scientist is brought in to hopefully rule it as an accident. As he does his research, a police detective desperately wants to rule it as a homicide. Mixed up in the middle of it all is a teenager with what looks to be psychic powers and her friend who has disappeared. What will they all find once all is said and done?
Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, the film makes a case for the viewer to see Marie Antoinette in a better light than what they have learned in history class. Here she’s painted as a teenage girl sent to marry a man she’s never met, pushed to produce heirs to the throne, while given a lavish and decadent lifestyle which led to her life feeling unfulfilled and thus making her do all she could to make her life as interesting as she could with what was offered to her. Here the take on Marie Antoinette is almost friendly, showing her as a complex person who was raised in luxury, married into more luxury, and thus completely disconnected from the French populace that ultimately took her and her husband down. The film approaches this without judgment and an interest in humanizing without glorifying a woman who’s often only known for a single quote.