Critique is so limiting and emotionally draining.
I’ve always wanted to do something long-form, beyond opinion.
Dip my toe into an exploration of origin and essence.
A metamorphosis of spirit into reality.
I’ve… I’ve never had the vehicle until now.
Regularly I’m asked to watch a low-budget film and to give my opinion about it. And once in a while, I’ll accept such a favor. But when someone asks me, to watch a horror movie every month, and then report on it, I can hardly refuse it. It’s a win-win situation. I’m simply a mega fan of horror. And the one who asked me to do it is someone terrified to watch a horror movie. And when asked which horror I should watch this month, I got the answer “Velvet Buzzsaw“. Well, time to carry out this task so they won’t be disappointed.
Horror? Get out of here.
I can already reassure the person who asked me the question. “Velvet Buzzsaw” is far from frightening or creepy. The number of jump scares is frighteningly low. I’ve only discovered one. And that was only because a cat suddenly jumped into the picture. So, I think the horror label is a bit misplaced. The most creepy aspect of this film is how supercilious, pedantic and arrogant art connoisseurs and artists in the world of modern art are. What frightened me the most, was the realization that it might actually be that way in real life. And the further in the story, the more ridiculous it all gets. The film became funnier instead of creepier.
Is Gyllenhaal in it? Bring it on!
Initially, I was very excited to see this film. And all because of the fact that Jake Gyllenhaal (as art critic Morf Vandewalt) and John Malkovich (as the inspiration-seeking artist Piers) play a role in it. Two top actors who each have their own unique way of acting. If there’s something I enjoyed the most in this film, it’s the acting of Gyllenhaal. A respected, but also feared, art critic. He struggles not only with his sexual orientation but also with the question of whether he still has the ability to judge and criticize art. He succeeds in convincingly putting up a picture of this closed world, full of people who are convinced that they have incomparable knowledge of art. An image of these art-loving people as I’ve always imagined them to be.
It’s just a pretentious bubble.
Just like Gyllenhaal here, those artificial individuals speak in such terms that you actually have no idea what they are talking about. It seems as if Gyllenhaal’s dialogues are just a combination of pseudo-intellectual terms. In normal human language: he shakes countless intellectual sounding quotes out of his sleeve which are meaningless at the same time. Morf is someone who has an opinion about color, shape, and correlation with the environment for each object he sees. Whether it is about a randomly placed chair in a hotel room or the clothing of an employee. Even the color of a coffin gives him reason to criticize. And this shallow attitude also applies to gallery owner Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo), artist Piers (John Malkovich), employee Gretchen (Toni Collette), art connoisseur Jon Dondon (Tom Sturridge) and every average gallery visitor. All of them pretentious and weighty characters who, if you study them further, are uninteresting and not sympathetic people. The scene in which Jon Dondon sees a stack of garbage bags and thinks it’s a work of art, is a clear proof that the world of modern art is no more than a bubble.
Making a profit kills.
It is only when Josephina (Zowe Ashton) discovers that her upstairs neighbor was an obscure artist, who tried to destroy his works of art because he thought it’s possessed by a supernatural force, the mood gets morbid. The deceased artist Vetril Dease appears to have experienced a disturbing past where there was physical abuse, murder, torture and shocking experiments in a psychiatric institution. All this is reflected in his controversial paintings that arouse emotions with those who admire it. And the people who want to make a profit from it, are confronted with the murderous aspect of Vetril’s artworks. Is it because of a demonic nature? Or is it just coincidence?
There’s more to find on Netflix.
No, “Velvet Buzzsaw” is certainly not horror. It’s a successful parody of the art world. A world where the emphasis is not on the artistic level or creativity, but more on investment value and profit margins. Artists deliver tons of artworks in order to obtain a well-stocked catalog. In the past, these works of art were exhibited in crowded galleries. They now disappear into anonymity after being included in the private collection of wealthy art collectors. As Rhodora puts it: “So much easier to talk about money than art“. However, do not expect frightening or creepy situations. The film immediately reminded me of “Deep Dark“. Not directly comparable. But it’s also a film about absurd artworks and might give you the shivers. “Velvet Buzzsaw” can be seen on Netflix. But believe me. There are other Netflix products that are much better.
My rating 5/10
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NFT: The New Next-Gen
We live in a world dominated by virtual consumption. Whether you are into gaming, movies, or knitting, it is hard to avoid contact with some form of a digital community. Planet Earth is consumed by this form of technology which has no end in sight. When it comes to gaming specifically, there are a number of factors that drive gamers: adventure, relaxation, stress-relief, and an avenue that has real estate of its own – collecting.
The standard “gamer” actually does not exist – shooters, role players, platformers, nostalgia seekers, or Fortnite celebrities – gamers often transcend the boundaries of genres. We see undying allegiances to gaming companies such as Nintendo or Sony and inexplicable emotional ties to games from decades past. Whatever the case, there lies an audience of consumers who may not even fit the true bill of what a “gamer” is.
Collectors are seen in the world over in every light and hobby known to man – and video games are no exception to this rule. We’ve seen entire YouTube channels dedicated to nostalgia, where a well-known “gamer” shows off not only a Dragon’s Quest 11 gameplay on the PS4 but his collection of Dragon’s Quest 1-10 and replicas of the Hero Sword to millions of viewers. Sometimes, collecting can even turn into its own form of gaming – and this is where the market for coveted gems gets driven up even more.
So, without further ado, welcome to the world of NFTs, or non-fungible-tokens. NFTs are digital goods that exist on a digital ledger called blockchain. Each NFT represents a distinctive digital item, deeming it non-interchangeable. NFTs can represent a wide array of materials such as art, video, audio, and video game items. Each NFT is unique and its ownership can be precisely tracked.
For years people have had such an emotional attachment to physical entities, be it a Mickey Mantle baseball card or a one-of-a-kind piece of art. The market for rare items has survived in a world of physical seclusion, and this is now being turned upside down as the world faces a conversion to virtual materiality. Physical isolation in the age of COVID has only accelerated the transition to virtual existence. Digital media has never had much assignable value because it was always so easily duplicated. In allowing people to enumerate an official copy of a piece of art, NFTs finally give value to digital goods that used to have none.
Digital technology has had its fair share of criticism over the years, and NFTs have been closely associated with Bitcoin, the system used for cryptocurrency. But the $1.5 billion NFT transaction volume in the first quarter of 2021 alone speaks volumes about its transition to the mainstream.
Games that are using NFTs are not very large in abundance currently, but with the craze ascending on a near-daily basis, it seems unlikely that the market will stay small for long. The video game industry in the US alone accounted for over $60 billion USD in 2020. This signifies that not only is it beyond profitable but also that it begets growth beyond the norms of major consoles.
It’s not hard to conceptualize the full potential for a gaming-NFT intersection. One such instance of this is an NFT-based game, titled The Sandbox. Gamers can purchase plots of a virtual sandbox as an NFT in the game, allowing everyone to be the landowners they never were. The game sold $2.8 million worth of product just in the month of February alone and is said to be worth over $35 million by its creators. The growth of this market is rapidly expanding.
Collectors are driven by the rarity of an item and this is what truly gives such value to NFT items. Imagine having one-of-a-kind Legend of Zelda images or the original sketch of a video game character such as Cloud Strife. These things would hold immense value, and with a world that is diving headfirst into digital reality, it seems the reality is NFTs are the new way to level up.
2020 Year in Review
2020 has certainly been an interesting year and whilst there were a lot of exciting new movies that we were all looking forward to seeing in 2020, that we’re going to have to wait a bit longer to see, there have still been plenty of really good films that we were able to watch in 2020 and I’m going to take a look at some of the best films of the year below.
I’ve done my best to try and watch as many films from 2020 but obviously I haven’t been able to watch every single film that was released this year so there will inevitably be some films that I’ll have missed off this list so I apologise if some of your favourite films of the year don’t make it.
Top 5 Action films of 2020
The action-thriller film starring Chris Hemsworth that was released back in April was an exciting action-packed film that included a 12 minute long action scene that was done to look like one long shot that was truly spectacular which is why Extraction makes my top 5 action films of the year.
4. Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula
Peninsula is the sequel to 2016’s smash hit Korean zombie film Train to Busan and whilst the sequel was much more of an action film than a horror like the first, it had plenty of engaging and different action scenes. I had so much fun watching Peninsula although I do prefer Train to Busan. Full review here.
3. Wonder Woman 1984
After being delayed a few times, we’ve finally been able to watch the latest Wonder Woman film and it doesn’t disappoint. WW84 is full of vibrant, colourful action scenes that manages to top the first film and clocking in at 2 and a half hours, there’s plenty of time for action in Wonder Woman 1984. Full review here.
2. The Gentlemen
It feels like so long ago that Guy Ritchie’s gangster action-comedy film The Gentlemen came out but it was indeed 2020, albeit back in January. Whilst it feels like decades ago that we saw the film it was so much fun. It was full of laughs, swearing, action and it had a great cast too including Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant. Guy Ritchie’s best film to date.
Tenet was the first big blockbuster back in cinemas after they re-opened this summer and whilst many have complained calling it a bit confusing and quite difficult to hear what the characters were saying a lot of the time, I thought Tenet was phenomenal with some amazing action sequences. Whether it be the booming opening opera house siege, the plane crashing into the building or the grand finale with people going backwards and forwards through time, Tenet was absolutely incredible to see on a big IMAX screen.
Top 5 Comedy films of 2020
5. Happiest Season
Happiest Season came as a really pleasant surprise to me. I didn’t expect to like it that much as I’m not a big fan of Christmas movies or rom-coms but this film was just so funny and full of so much heart that I couldn’t help but enjoy it. Full review here.
4. The Half of It
The Half of It is a really charming coming of age comedy-drama film that was released on Netflix in May about a teenage girl writing a love letter for a jock who starts to fall in love with his crush. It probably leans a bit more to drama than it does comedy, I just had to include it in my list because it was a really good film.
3. Palm Springs
Palm Springs revolves around an infinite time-loop situation a bit like Groundhog Day or Edge of Tomorrow or Happy Death Day or so many other films but Palm Springs feels so original and fresh and funny. Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti are both great as the two leads giving the film so much heart.
2. Borat Subsequent Moveifilm
It was only in September that we first started hearing rumours that a second Borat film had already been shot and then when the film was released on Amazon Prime in October it brought so many great laughs. The first film came out in 2006 and even though it’s been a while since we last saw him, Borat worked so well in 2020 and brought some much needed humour in the run up to the US presidential election.
1. The King of Staten Island
The King of Staten Island is the semi-autobiographical comedy-drama starring Pete Davidson and directed by Judd Apatow about a Davidson’s Scott Carlin who has to get his life together after his mother starts dating someone who, like his late father, is also a fireman. The King of Staten Island is a really touching and emotional drama film but it also has a lot of funny moments which is why it’s my number 1 comedy of the year and one of the best films of 2020.
Top 5 films you might not have seen
5. She Dies Tomorrow
She Dies Tomorrow was a really interesting film released in the summer by Neon and it followed Amy who thinks she’s going to die tomorrow and this thought becomes contagious and more and more people start thinking that they’re going to die the next day. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I thought it was really good
Wolfwalkers was only released this December on Apple TV+ but it’s a really great film with some really incredible animation. It’s about a young girl who finds a mysterious tribe that turn into wolves each night. It’s a really entertaining, adventure film that’s just absolutely gorgeous to look at.
3. The Platform
The Platform/ El Hoyo is a Spanish sci-fi horror that was released on Netflix towards the start of the year. It’s entirely set in a vertical prison with many floors, each containing two people with one platform that moves down to each floor. The platform is initially filled with food at the top but as it moves down there’s less and less food on it for the people trapped below.
2. Another Round
Another Round/ Druk is a Danish film starring Mads Mikkelson (Casino Royale, Doctor Strange) and it’s about a group of school teachers that decide to test a hypothesis that human beings function better when they maintain a constant level of alcohol in their blood. Full review here.
1. Promising Young Woman
Promising Young Woman is one of those rare films that comes along and completely blows you away by how good it is. It’s also one of those films that it’s better to know as little as you can before you see it so I don’t want to say too much about it but if you do want to know more, you can find my full review here.
Top 5 films of 2020
Here are my top 5 films that were released in 2020:
5. The Trial of the Chicago 7
4. The King of Staten Island
3. Promising Young Woman
2. The Gentlemen
Hopefully some of your favourites made my lists but if not, drop a comment below to let us know what some of your favourite films of 2020 were.
Disney + | Every Upcoming Star Wars Project Announced
This will be the next Star Wars film to be released and will focus on the fighter pilots made famous in the Star Wars films. It will mark the first feature film in the franchise to be directed by a woman.
Series centers on the adventures of Ahsoka Tano. A spin-off from ‘The Mandalorian’.
Rangers Of The New Republic
Star Wars: Rangers of the New Republic is a forthcoming live-action television series. It was announced on December 10, 2020 and it will be executive produced by Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau. The series will culminate in a crossover event with The Mandalorian and Star Wars: Ahsoka
Star Wars: The Acolyte is a Star Wars television series currently being developed by Leslye Headland for Disney+. Headland will write, executive produce, and serve as the series’ showrunner. The show will focus on the emergence of dark side powers in the final days of the High Republic Era.
Star Wars: Lando is an upcoming event series. The story will be developed by Justin Simien. It was announced on December 10, 2020and will air on Disney+
Plot undisclosed. Stand-alone spinoff feature from the Star Wars franchise centering on Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Prequel series to Star Wars’ ‘Rogue One’, following the adventures of Cassian Andor during the formative years of the Rebellion.
The Bad Batch
Rex, Cody, and Clone Force 99 (an unorthodox, elite squad also known as the Bad Batch), look to recover the Republic’s strategy algorithm from Admiral Trench, but a haunting truth awaits.
The Mandalorian Season 3
A lone gunfighter makes his way through the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic.
Taika Waititi’s Star Wars Movie
A brand-new Star Wars feature with acclaimed filmmaker is in development. Get ready for an unforgettable ride!
A Droid Story
A Droid Story is an animated adventure series featuring R2D2 and C3PO set to be produced by Lucasfilm Animation and ILM. “As we continue to develop new stories, the intersection of animation of visual effects, offers new opportunities for us to explore,” Kennedy said (via Deadline). “This epic journey will introduce is to new hero guided by our most iconic duo… on a secret mission known only to them. What could possibly go wrong?”
Star Wars: Visions, an Original Series of animated short films, celebrates the galaxy through the lens of the world’s best Japanese anime creators. Coming in 2021 to
Wagman Studios | 2021 Summer Movies Mashup
Summer blockbusters are back! Take a look at this short mashup containing over 20 of the summer's hottest movies
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