Throughout the first and second seasons of Charlie Brooker’s anthology series Black Mirror what became expected of the show was for each individual episode, no matter what the setting or premise, would end with a dismal note on how humans use technology to exploit others or to heighten some of our worst habits. The series opener “The National Anthem” and “White Bear” showed the hostility with which technology can be used to punish others with the latter detailing how extreme this can be taken with the complete loss of identity within the protagonist’s confused mindset. Some of this is not dissimilar to the Netflix era with the season three episode “Shut Up and Dance” following a similar narrative trajectory but with the most realistic use of technology the series has arguably ever used. But unlike these episodes, "San Junipero" actually shows how technology can bring people together instead of tear them apart with obsession like in “The Entire History of You” or make them cling onto people who are no longer there in the mournful “Be Right Back.” San Junipero has deservedly been showered with praise for its open LGBT representation with the focus being on two romantically involved female protagonists who are not limited into ridiculous caricatures or pave into some fantasy depiction of queer women. Instead Kelly and Yorkie are real people who both share understandable problems and insecurities. As characters they are perhaps the most striking in that they’re so different from any other Black Mirror protagonists (aside from the protagonists of the thematically similar “Hang the DJ”) not because of their sexuality but due to the fact that they are not in any way portrayed as victims which is what a lot of other episodes fall into even in their various narrative twists some of the messages can seem repetitive due to the format of the show.
SundanceTV’s underseen but incredibly prestigious (metascore of 99 for its stunning final season yet not popular enough to be gratified by the primetime Emmy awards) series Rectify could have easily become a typical procedural or an overwrought melodrama with its essential premise being set on a man’s release from death row after spending close to twenty years there in confined conditions and the emotional effect this has on him and the people he is surrounded by. However, with the show’s poetic writing, well-chosen melancholy visuals, and incredible performances from all those involved, Rectify transcends typical Southern Gothic trappings to display such truths about us as people and the way that human interaction is so vital yet can be so bittersweet in their intricacies and complexities. This is often achieved with a tentative focus on what is not said in conversation as opposed to dialogue heavy scenes, choosing to provoke our emotions with hesitant, revelatory pauses and nuanced expressions in an introspective, slow-burn, and serene character study that offers sobering questions to our methods of rehabilitation for people who are convicted yet may still be innocent. Yet there are no obvious answers to whether or not Daniel is guilty as through the severe trauma he has suffered throughout his time in death row his memories from over two decades ago are deeply suppressed and arguably unreachable.
Indie realist pioneer Sean Baker has accomplished what most film-makers struggle to do with his most recent release- The Florida Project- in that through cinematic means he has captured the very spirit and essence of childhood. His protagonist Moonee- portrayed by complete unknown Brooklynn Prince-views her world as any other 6-year-old would, as a gigantic playground for her to set herself upon. The bubble gum coloured hotel in which her and her mother reside in, The Magic Kingdom, she sees as the castle it tries to emulate being in the tourist district surrounding Disney World. Pastel colours and low angles make what would otherwise be ordinary cinematic and earns our reminiscence of our childhood- accomplishing Baker’s aim to humanise these characters on the outer edges of life. What Moonee does not realise as her volatile mother has worked so hard to protect her; is that she and other children of the district are poverty-stricken and simple self-maintenance are a challenge. Moonee does not understand why her mother must resell mainstream goods or why the hotel owner (a restrained, nuanced Willem Dafoe, providing a father figure even though he's too stoic to admit it) continually knocks on their door in order to hide their residency. There's even a scene where a couple arrive to the hotel believing it to be the real Magic Kingdom in Disney World but instead are confused to have booked themselves into a "slum motel." This slight goes unrecognised by the innocent young children who go along about the day with the joy of any other child their own age.
There is an increasing trend within film and television in displaying a broken relationship in cold distant camera shots showing the separation between the leads form before us.
Avengers: Infinity War's arguably most memorable moment, that even detractors of the MCU agree on, sets the film apart from a very overcrowded market of superhero films with endless origin stories and anticipated cross-overs of big stars taking part in light, crowd-pleasing entertainment for the masses. Now, I’m not someone who particularly loves superhero films, but I don’t hate their existence either. I enjoy them as a nice break when I’m stressed or as an easy way to meet up with friends for an agreeable activity. I even think that regardless of genre Black Panther and Logan are pretty great films and the recently announced popular film category is a painfully patronising invention when big budget blockbusters can provide great cinematic achievements.
In my newly found solitude, the day begins. I stare at my own dissatisfaction reflecting back at me, a face fractured with the first signs of age, grey roots that fend off my lacklustre attempts to restore youth upon myself to mask my middle age. Silence stretches across every room now that I am alone; it is a great contrast from the endless raised voices of numerous pathetic arguments where we tore each other down until no feeling was present anymore. We became skilled at prying each other apart, so good that nothing could be said without offense being caused out of spite for the other. We forgot who we were underneath the blind-siding rage that filled us. We became despondent to the person we thought we loved, to the person we wanted to be eternally surrounded by. Empty affections were uttered out of obligation on the rare occasion we found ourselves in conversation, pauses lengthening in the empty air, widening the already hefty void between us.