Exploring an Auteur’s Short Films: Ari Aster – Special Features #53

I don’t normally write about short films unless it’s a special occasion. This is a special occasion. I recently watched and reviewed Ari Aster’s follow-up to Hereditary, the daytime horror fairy tale Midsommar. I have become a great admirer of Aster after having seen those two films, both of which I believe to be amazing works of cinema.

Since I saw Midsommar, I haven’t been able to get it off my mind. So, on Friday, I spent the entire day watching Ari Aster’s short films. Today, I want to talk about his flawed short films, some of which didn’t speak to me at all. In five separate sections, I want to describe the experience of watching Aster’s short films, as well as make some general observations as to what it is like to watch the raw material of a future auteur. Continue reading “Exploring an Auteur’s Short Films: Ari Aster – Special Features #53”

REVIEW: Midsommar (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – A24

The following is a review of Midsommar — Directed by Ari Aster.

As a Scandinavian, any film that revolves around Scandinavia or a specific part of Scandinavian culture, naturally, intrigues me greatly. So Midsommar already had my curiosity, but Ari Aster’s involvement pulled me in and seized my attention, as it were. Ari Aster is one of the most interesting new filmmakers. He is a gifted director whose first narrative feature — Hereditary — was one of the best and most disturbing horror films of the decade. With one of the decade’s best films in the genre under his belt already, his second feature film had a lot to live up to, and even though Midsommar isn’t quite as accessible as his directorial debut, Aster’s slow-burn second feature film showcases his distinct visual style, has thematical depth, and it proves that he is one of the most exciting new auteurs. Continue reading “REVIEW: Midsommar (2019)”

Best of the 2010s: Directorial Debut Films

There is something very exciting about a directorial debut. Obviously, the filmmaker is excited about their first chance to step behind the camera on a feature film, but, as an audience member or film writer of any kind, it is so fascinating to see the choices being made. Sometimes some of the boldest and most imaginative filmmakers present us with instant classics, other times newcomers deliver a product that may not be extraordinary filmmaking but which may still be a moving or exciting motion picture. In this month’s best of the decade list, I’m honoring the very best directorial debuts. Some of them are first works for potential auteurs, while others are impressive blockbuster entertainment from untested new filmmakers just learning the ropes. Continue reading “Best of the 2010s: Directorial Debut Films”

Top Ten Films of 2018

The BAFTAs are over. The Oscars are over. The book on 2018 films is about to be closed, but, wait, there’s more! Before we switch our focus completely onto the films of 2019 and the future awards season, I’d like to, as always, submit and present my own top ten films of the year-list. What was my favorite film of the year? What film got the honor of being my one and only honorable mention? It’s time to reveal the top ten films of 2018. Continue reading “Top Ten Films of 2018”

IJR Awards 2018: Film Nominations Announced

It is finally time for me to announce my own personal film nominations for the I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards of 2018. Sure, we’re in 2019 now, but I needed some time to watch some of the films that were released in January in Denmark.

There will be a couple of surprises here, and I’m not just talking about the nominees. Four awards that have not previously been announced will make their debut here with their own sets of nominations. Also, one award has had its titled changed to allow for more than a small handful of nominees. Well, let’s get to it. Continue reading “IJR Awards 2018: Film Nominations Announced”

REVIEW: Hereditary (2018)

Theatrical Release Poster – A24

The following is a review of Hereditary — Directed by Ari Aster.

You can always tell a horror movie is going to be the talk of the town once, at least, one of the three following things happen: when it receives critical acclaim, when critics are championing a central performance in the film, and when critics, fans, or filmmakers say or imply that the film isn’t really a horror movie. All three things happened with Hereditary. Continue reading “REVIEW: Hereditary (2018)”