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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, April 14, 2024

Miranda Feinberg


'Scream' and the remake's dilemma: legacy vs. imitation

“What’s your favorite scary movie?” asks the iconic question from the original "Scream" (1996), which is answered by itself; the satirical horror classic has become a staple in the genre, kickstarting the popularity of meta-horror comedy. "Scream" is not just a good movie but a bloody love letter to horror as a genre. No other horror satire had hit quite the same as the first "Scream" movie and, despite the newest installment's heavy-handed attempt, no other movie has since. "Scream" (2022), directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, is marketed as an ode to Wes Craven. While the majority of the film is genuinely fun and scary (really milking its R rating for all it’s worth), it is hard to talk about without first discussing the problem within the movie’s very core. As ironic as it sounds when talking about this movie in particular (especially within the larger franchise’s canon), this newest "Scream" remake is too focused on being its predecessor. It is obsessed with telling its audience over and over again, through visuals and dialogue and references and character names, that this movie is meta enough to contend with the original.


'The Tragedy of Macbeth': Something wicked (so wicked) this way comes

Joel Coen’s "The Tragedy of Macbeth" (2021) — a modern cinemascape of the iconic Scottish Shakespearean tragedy — is told in vivid pools of light and sharp-edged voids of shadow. Every point within and throughout the film opposes all other points; it is so expansive and amorphous and yet full of clean cut lines and sharp pointed corners. “Macbeth,” which follows the titular newly appointed Thane of Cawdor as he loses himself to his hunger for power, has been released in theaters and is available to stream through Apple TV Plus. The iconic story has had countless adaptations across film and theater, and here Coen and his team blend those two mediums to create a unique and singular atmosphere which shrouds the story in visual markers that match the emotion and madness central to the story. 


'Red Rocket': The impossible icky-ness of the mundane

Sean Baker, king of the beautifully mundane, returns to the silver screen following his hit "The Florida Project" (2017) with "Red Rocket" (2021), a raunchy, fun, balls-to-the-wall joyride on a one-speed bike. It tells the tale of porn star Mikey Saber (Simon Rex) as he returns to his old hometown and reunites with his ex and her mom following a stint of hard times (or, as Variety more aptly puts it, limp times.) As he tries to look for work, an effort thwarted by his narcissistic tendencies, he meets 17-year-old Raylee “Strawberry,” and he falls head-over-heels on a mission to use her as a way to get back to his life of acclaim. The film becomes an odd sort of character study which examines an unlikeable narcissist who, while obnoxious and off-putting, begs you (over and over) to love him.


'Mayday': The girlbossification of escapism

"Mayday" (2021), director Karen Cinnore’s dreamy new steampunked-up feminist escapist fantasy, follows main character Ana (Grace Van Patten) as she stumbles into a chaotic world of female rebellion and redemption. While the film creates an alternate land to which our protagonist can run (or swim), one that is clearly meant to empower and strengthen the protagonist, the film is somehow hollow at its core, as themes of power and control corrupt the freedom, connection, unity and escapism it is trying so hard to portray. While largely entertaining and emotive, the film undermines its message for the sake of plot and narrative foils, a move which greatly wounds the final production.


'Shiva Baby' gives its take on Jewish humor in stress-inducing film

The film works as an experiment to discover just how anxious a filmmaker can make their audience; there’s good reason for why the film has earned the comparison to another recent anxiety-inducing film with Jewish characters, the Safdie brothers' "Uncut Gems" (2019). One Twitter user’s comparison has been used as a trailer epigraph, describing the film as “'Uncut Gems' for hot jewish sluts.”


Sundance switches it up for COVID-19

While regular fest-goers and journalists were disappointed at the loss of the iconic destination and its atmosphere of shared excitement and cinematic joy, this switch to a virtual platform opened the festival up to a wider audience for the 2021 films.

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