the return of film in 2015? by Jared Bengtson

where have all the good films gone? it seems that the last 5 years have been dominated by excellent television. perhaps television isn't even the right name anymore now that netflix and other online streaming services have been investing into their own content; perhaps simply 'series' then. box office success has been dominated by remakes, rehashes, retellings, adaptations, sequels, prequels and other unoriginal content. for some reason people are still not superheroed out. batman came back, superman came back, and spiderman came back. yay. 

along the way still no real representation of women. the bechdel test is one test we've consistently failed even since awareness has risen. the bechdel test simply sees if in fiction, atleast two women atleast talk to each other and do so about anything besides a man. sometimes it adds that they have a name. looking online i only found 9 films that passed this in 2014. 

a decade ago for an actor to go from film to television was unheard of. it was where careers went to retire and where failed leads had a home. it was where bland stories flourished, long-winded plots unfolded and laughter tracks roared. but something changed and we have seen series upon series of high budget, thought provoking and edgy material with A list stars from True Detective, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and Boardwalk Empire to name a few. many of which with award winning directors.

but why did this effect film? why did the film industry go in the other direction with lazy and literally unoriginal content? last year's oscar winners like dallas buyer's club and 12 years a slave (okay fine it was based on a memoir) would say otherwise and it did give me hope that original stories would flourish last year. but looking at the box office, another x-men, another hobbit, another captain america, another hunger games, another planet of the apes, and another transformers were in top 10 of the box office. numbers 11,12,13 and 14 were also remakes by the way. despite films that pass the bechdel test consistently performing better, the trend to include relevant female characters is still not making a lot of headway. well, unless you watch french films. the reason films like the ones mentioned that reach the box office do well and perhaps the rest do not may be because the only thing that will drag people out to pay the rather high ticket prices are visually stimulating. well certainly a lot more than ones on your tv. people are getting their drama, thriller and comedy fix more online and on tv and seem to be using theatres for adventure and sci-fi to justify the trip and price.

so new year. 2015 let's do this. what have we got? so far I have seen some exceptional films. birdman, nightcrawler and foxcatcher have stood out so far. the first two pass the bechdel test by the way. birdman is based on a short story and foxcatcher on a real story so not quite original there but the creativity in them seems to redeem them for me. i still think these count as original as they are not based on previous films, shorts, tv series or graphic novels but I will concede that that shit still not original.

so what do you get when you search for "best films of 2015"? well, another terminator, another mad max, another jurassic park, another hunger games, another star wars, another avengers, another fast and furious, another hot tub time machine, another mission impossible, another fantastic four, another taken, another ted, another magic mike (XXL LOLZ), another paul blast: mall cop, and another cinderella to name a few. but who knows, maybe we'll get a few more films as original as boyhood and nightcrawler. chappie looks fun...ughhhhh, it's doomed isn't it?

 

an exciting look at the 59 club by Jared Bengtson

one of the best feelings in the world is cruising on a hog with the wind on your face. there certainly has been a resurgence of motorcycle obsession which seems to have started with the clothes, hair and culture and moved over to the motorcycles themselves almost secondarily. although i started riding motorcycles as a preteen i must confess, my own fascination is not derived from torque and pistons but rather the history and culture surrounding these two wheeled beasts. especially in england and america in the 60s. inevitably all counter-cultures become subcultures and some of those become the prevailing mainstream. this film helps add some context and can help those quarter-life crisis, tire kicking dweebz get closer to knowing what a cafe racer actually means. just kidding that was just fun to type. it is good to find films like this that would have been otherwise unaccessible so we can take in the grit, punk and flair of 1959 and beyond.