Netflix’s original series BoJack Horseman is the kind of show that sneaks up on its audience, playing with the expectations raised by its core conceit then furiously plucking at the viewer’s heartstrings when it’s least expected. BoJack Horseman was never going to be lighthearted—its eponymous lead character’s drug-addled fall from grace assured that—but the show’s anthropomorphic characters and heavy use of whimsical wordplay seemed to suggest that, though dark, the show would remain comedic in essence. And yet, over time, BoJack Horseman has cemented itself as perhaps the single most harrowing portrait of mental illness currently on television. In its fourth and best season, the show continues to deftly straddle the line between clever farce and tender tragedy as it explores in further depth the manifestations of melancholia.
Jupiter Ascending hit somewhat of a rocky road in the time leading up to its release. Originally scheduled to be released on July 25, 2014, it was pushed back a week to July 18, 2014, and later, February 6, 2015, supposedly to allow time for completion of several special effects shots. It becomes clear when watching Jupiter Ascending that special care was put into meticulously crafting its gorgeous, creative, and detailed aesthetic, as is standard practice for Hollywood auteurs Andy and Lana Wachowski. Unfortunately, it appears that the usual visual ambition of the visionaries behind The Matrix is once again matched with their usual lack of ambition when it comes to Jupiter Ascending’s clichéd and overstuffed screenplay.
I’m late to the party, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t post my twenty favorite films of 2014.
Last night, after countless weeks of putting it off, I finally sat down and watched The Babadook with my brother. Both of us were itching for a good horror film, and of the last two we watched, Rosemary’s Baby turned out to be more of a drama with some horror elements, and 13/13/13 was just flat-out hilarious (we sort of expected that with the latter). Generally, the modern horror movies that I enjoy the most are the ones that are darkly comedic, like You’re Next or the Final Destination films, which are more fun than outright scary. The ones that go the more straightforward route are often ugly, cheap, and lazily thrown together. Such is not the case with The Babadook. Within the first ten to fifteen minutes, my brother and I were simultaneously captivated and anxiety-ridden.