Monday, September 18, 2017

Review: ‘Mother!’

Mother! takes place in a world seemingly divorced from time. With the exception of a single scene where a cell phone is used, technology doesn’t even play a part. Our main character’s husband is a writer, yet only writes with ink on page, with his final product being a single square sheet of canvas. The story painstakingly follows Jennifer Lawrence as she rebuilds her husband’s gigantic house out in the middle of nowhere.

Isolated from civilization and other people for so long, when a stranger knocks on the door looking for a place to stay our main character’s husband (The Poet) invites him in for as long as he’d like. Much to the chagrin of our main character. On a side note, I am not using character names because most of the characters don’t have names. They are referred to with titles such as him, her, little brother, the Poet and goddess. Things quickly spiral out of control and this man’s entire family ends up inviting themselves over and JLaw seems to be the only person reasonable enough to wonder why she’s the only one that has a problem with this. Now, after the first party of people is dispatched the story really goes off the rails here and things go off the rails in a way seemingly unique to Aronofsky.







Once the Poet finishes his piece and JLaw becomes the “Mother” in question, the visions that we are lead to believe are simply symptoms of whatever ailment she has come to life. The heart of the house, which Mother taps into multiple times during the story, is slowly shriveling in sequence with her decaying relationship. As the heart or soul of the house slowly dies, more and more insanity (i.e. the public) is allowed to enter and change the characteristics of the house itself.

To me, this entire story is symbolic of storytelling, and what happens to stories once they get so popular the creators don’t even really control them anymore. Look at any of the major mega franchises in the world like Star Wars or Game of Thrones. George Lucas hasn’t been the shepherd of the Star Wars franchise for decades, long before he sold the rights to Disney. Just like how the house, which is the Poet’s heart and soul, is taken over and irrevocably changed by his adoring fans. This is perfectly highlighted in the wake scene where Mother comes out of her room to find much of her house repainted with fresh paint. She rushes downstairs to find houseguests she doesn’t know repainting her home in a different color than she had chosen in a previous scene. The say something to the effect of “you’ve been so generous with us, we thought we’d give back a little.” To me, this is like when anyone but the original writer writes another entry in a well-established franchise. Look at all the Star Wars book that came out, or even the new movies. Sure, the framework we all know and love is there, but there is a new (different) coat of paint. And it will never be the same.

The Poet’s work is so transformative that even he doesn’t own the work itself anymore, the house is destroyed along with the heart of soul of his creativity (that glass heart) but an endless cycle of destruction and creation begins again. Symbolizing the spark of creation when an artist begins working on a new piece, eventually growing into maturity and letting it go out into the world to live on its own. This also reflected in the speech the Poet gives at little brother’s wake and even more brutally reflected in the scene where the legion of follows literally devour the joint creation of Mother and the Poet, their child.

Of course, all of this bonkers stuff really gets going once Mother gets off her meds, leaving an out that this is really all in her mind… or was it?


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by Christopher Moore
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Season Review: ‘The Defenders’

The Defenders is a culmination of Marvel and Netflix’s partnership to create a more gritty, street level world to the MCU. Since the release of the first season of Daredevil in 2015, Netflix has created its own smaller, bloodier pocket of the MCU to play around in. They used a tried and true formula, once spearheaded by Marvel’s connected film push. Give each Defender their own show, similar to how most Avengers get their own movie. Sprinkle in a few crossover moments and a threat to bring them all together and vualla, you’ve got a Netflix/Marvel small scale Avengers. On paper, this is a not brainer. Three of the four shows leading up to this teamup have been ranging to good to great. The notably exception being Iron Fist, lead by Finn Jones who seems unwilling or unable to do his own stunts in both his own series and now The Defenders.

Truly, the greatest flaw of this team-up series is making Danny Rand the most important character. Marvel knows they screwed up with his series and there are a few scenes throughout this series that seem to be forcefully crammed in to help put a different spin on the character. Beyond Rand, the show had a few great moments of a reluctant team coming together to do good. A great difference between the Avengers and the Defenders is that the Defenders are real people with real lives. Sure we see Tony Stark talking with Pepper Potts and Ant Man has a family to care about but we really haven’t seen anything close to a character like Jessica Jones on screen before.

During the build up to our team coming together we get a frantically fast paced narrative that has to give equal time to all the four teammates. This leads each episode to feel both rushed and lacking forward moments at the same time. I watched the show over a few days but would love to see how someone would react watching one episode a week.

For me, Daredevil is the king of these four shows, both from a writing standpoint but also from a cinematography standpoint. They should have co-opted that crew because other than a few fight scenes nothing feels as kinetic and heavy as the fight scenes in Daredevil proper.

With the Hand dispatched at the end of the season and a few loose strings, it will be fun to see the fallout from these events in each of these character’s next seasons of their own shows. Let’s just hope The Punisher can get in on the fun next time.


Quick Thoughts:

  • Are our Misty Knight cyborg dreams really going to come true?
  • I dug seeing all of the side characters come together and there were a few fun scenes of them complaining about their super powered friends.
  • This is the second time Marvel/Netflix has pulled this villain twist. Something makes me think they can’t afford A-list actors.

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by Christopher Moore
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