All posts tagged: Reviews

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 …

“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 …

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 …

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 …

‘Jobs’ Disappoints, but Kutcher Doesn’t

This week I wrote a review of Jobs for Critics Associated. Read it here, or check out the original. Though unintentional, Jobs provided a number of laugh-out-loud moments. It’s ironic that a film about a well-known perfectionist can be so unbelievably far from perfect. Though against all odds, it seems Ashton Kutcher is not at fault for this week’s box office bomb. His performance as Steve Jobs is good, particularly in his physical recreation of the Apple tycoon, but it’s certainly not great. Problems with Jobs are abundant and obvious, specifically in regards to the writing. Basic conversations are cluttered with “Steve’s,” – each character throwing around the name as though it’s a form of product placement. The film’s dialogue would seem significantly less contrived if the actors only said the name in moments it was naturally necessary. Hearing “Hey Steve,” “Bye Steve,” and “Thanks Steve,” every few minutes or so forces the already poorly written dialogue to appear blatantly artificial. Jobs may leave you wondering: Is this a joke? Ultimately, the issues with Jobs lie in the writing …