All posts tagged: Review

I’ll Blog For You, Too!

This summer, I’m looking to spread my freelance wings and fly! If you’re searching for an experienced writer to produce high-quality articles for your blog, contact me so we can discuss your site’s needs! I have experience with formal academic writing, as well as short-form blogging. If you’re interested in reading a writing sample of my scholarly work, please let me know. Otherwise, here’s a taste of what I’ve written for the web, both on my own blog and elsewhere: ‘Boyhood: In Defense of My Dissenting Opinion’ for Catch-all ‘A Response to Michael Eisner’s Comment That Beautiful, Funny Women Are Hard to Come By’ for Catch-all Jobs review for Critics Associated  Fruitvale Station review for Critics Associated Magnolia Character Analysis for Mr. Rumsey’s Film Related Musings Topics I’m especially interested in writing about include, but aren’t limited to: General film and television criticism and analysis Gender and diversity in Hollywood General pop culture criticism and analysis Feminism and women’s issues Veganism and the environment Various social and political movements Lifestyle and self-care Please email me at vanvalkenburgj@gmail.com or fill out a …

Unsettling & Beautiful: “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”

I’m not one for reviewing movies, so lets call this a brief one-sided discussion in which you are welcome to join in the comment section below. A few weeks ago I watched Lily Ana Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night because it was available on Netflix and I remembered reading such great things about it after its 2014 Sundance premiere. The reason I wanted to write a bit about Amirpour’s film is because it felt so new and original to me that it demanded a post of its own. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night takes place in a close-to-empty Iranian town called Bad City. The film’s tone is new wave cool, with a spaghetti western vibe and a vampire-horror theme. Although her style of filmmaking is clearly influenced by many genres, I believe Amirpour’s film transcends all genre stereotypes. With A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, I felt like I was watching something important unfold before my eyes. It’s one of those films, like 8 1/2 or Mulholland Drive, that’s iconic the very moment it’s completed. I want to hear from you! What did you think about A …

“Boyhood” – In Defense of My Dissenting Opinion

I’m very opinionated about what I like and dislike, but I’m also keenly aware that my opinion is simply that – an opinion. Just because I don’t like a film does not mean it’s objectively bad. Art is subjective. Filmmaking is art. There was a point after graduating from film school that I considered becoming a critic. Criticism of any medium creates a platform for individuals to examine and analyze media – a practice that I believe is an essential part of any thriving society. What we create, whether it is music, film, or literature, is a direct reflection of our culture. By examining creative forms of expression within our society, we are better suited to understand who we are as a people. Film criticism not only allows critics to respectfully discuss what they enjoyed or didn’t enjoy about a film or television show, but the practice provides the opportunity for all audience members to engage and critically evaluate media. After graduating from college I was (and still am) willing to give anything a shot, …

Roger Ebert Reviews – A Few of My Favorites

I may not agree with Roger Ebert’s ratings of all of the following movies, but I thoroughly enjoy reading his analyses none-the-less. Be sure to click the titles of each film to read the full reviews! Citizen Kane “Rosebud is the emblem of the security, hope and innocence of childhood, which a man can spend his life seeking to regain. It is the green light at the end of Gatsby’s pier; the leopard atop Kilimanjaro, seeking nobody knows what; the bone tossed into the air in “2001.” It is that yearning after transience that adults learn to suppress. “Maybe Rosebud was something he couldn’t get, or something he lost,” says Thompson, the reporter assigned to the puzzle of Kane’s dying word. “Anyway, it wouldn’t have explained anything.” True, it explains nothing, but it is remarkably satisfactory as a demonstration that nothing can be explained. “Citizen Kane” likes playful paradoxes like that. Its surface is as much fun as any movie ever made. Its depths surpass understanding. I have analyzed it a shot at a time with more than 30 …

Fast Company

I haven’t posted a “Recommended Reading” since this past summer, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about another publication I have recently subscribed to and love: Fast Company. I rarely buy anything placed near the register at a grocery store, but a few months ago I was intrigued by a magazine cover that read “A Billion Fans Can’t Be Wrong: How YouTube is banking on stars like Bethany Mota to recharge Google’s future and fight off Disney and Yahoo.” So I bought it, was hooked, and quickly became a subscriber. Fast Company is a technology, business, and design magazine that was developed in 1995 by previous editors of the Harvard Business Review. The publication focuses on innovation in business and design, featuring articles about up-and-coming companies and old-standbys. Fast Company celebrates creativity, risk-taking, and thinking beyond traditional boundaries. In my first issue I learned about Google’s purchase of YouTube, how YouTube content creators are spilling over into the mainstream entertainment industry, and read about James Cameron’s latest documentary where he completed a record-breaking dive to …

All This Mayhem

Like many 10-year-old boys in the early years following Y2K, skateboarding got into my blood. Halcyon days spent outside sliding on curbs and flying off ramps were what awaited me and my friends after school. We all wanted to be the next Tony Hawk. The dream of two young Australian skateboarders, Tass and Ben Pappas, was to beat ‘Hawk’. All This Mayhem encapsulates the youthful ambitions of the infamous Pappas brothers, whose dreams of becoming the most iconic skateboarders in the world were torn asunder. When competing at the highest level, the brothers became disillusioned, alienated, and eventually exiled due to the corporate sponsored underworld of skateboarding, and a few youthful mistakes sprinkled in for good measure. Consequently, the audience is hurled with great alacrity into the cyclonic lives of the ill-fated brothers. Both invigorated by the possibilities of what the passion of their lives might bring about for them, their love of skateboarding is at first brimming with promise, but ultimately leads them to corners darker than comprehensible. The story descends into an adrenaline and drug-fueled …

Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’

Negative criticism is fun to write. It leaves us with an air of self-satisfaction, and from the safety our position accords, it allows us to poke fun at someone else’s vision; an opportunity we grasp at as critics. But to fall in love with a film is the greatest treasure offered by cinema. It’s the mesmerizing and enchanting feeling that leaves us spellbound and in awe, and is what drives us to continue to watch films. No such negative criticism should be embellished upon Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age drama, for it’s a peerless effort that stands alone. Boyhood follows the story of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from age five to eighteen, where we live and breathe his experiences from boyhood through adolescence. We see him bicker often with his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), and join him right through his relatable teenage episodes that seem as real as the grooves in the palms of your hands. Filmed over twelve years, and lovingly sutured together, Richard Linklater’s vision transforms into reality. It’s almost as if we are offered snippets of Ellar Coltrane’s life …

Roger Ebert & ‘Life Itself’

I don’t want to review a film when I know I won’t do it justice. I particularly don’t want to review a film when I know I won’t do it justice and it’s about the most well known film critic in American history. So just heed my advice and go see Life Itself. Somehow, being the emotional individual that I am, I found myself teary eyed within the first 30 seconds. It’s truly a wonderful viewing experience. Go. If Life Itself isn’t playing at a theater near you, it’s now available on iTunes.

Check it Out: Bitch Media

Although the newspaper and magazine industries have taken a hit in recent years, I still find that there is nothing more enjoyable than waking up and reading something palpable with a hot coffee by my side. Magazines have a certain feel to them; their pages are cool and crisp, with easy to grab edges that turn with a swooshing sound that reminds me of my adolescence. When I am reading a magazine I feel as though I’m taking part in something that may no longer exist during the third act of my life. That is a sentiment that I hope is extraordinarily false. Magazines have a very specific formula that allow them to be appealing to the general masses and even more scholarly sorts. They are usually short enough that they can be consumed quickly, but often include long articles that may take time to fully digest. Sometimes, when a writer has created something that is truly an amazing experience to take in, I must read it twice. To me, that’s journalism at it’s finest. It’s entertaining, educational, and has a voice associated with the …

My Favorite Video Games Of My Youth: Part I

Before I do a list of my favorite childhood games, a few things need to be stated. I am a Sony fan boy, therefore PS1 and PS2 titles dominate this list. I did not own an N64 growing up, and because of that some people may not like my selections. However, I did have a Gameboy and a computer, so a few non-Sony games made the list. Also, the order to which I have ranked the games does not necessarily mean one is technically better than the other. Creating this list took an incredible amount of thought, as it is amazingly difficult to rate nostalgia. This list will always be incomplete and full of impossible decisions, so let’s just get to it. These lists/reviews will be broken into three parts, based on ranking: Part I: 15 – 11 Part II: 10 – 6 Part III: 5 – 1 15. Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage The Spyro franchise thrust Insomniac games directly into the limelight for the PS1. Spyro The Dragon is an amazing game, however I cannot talk …