Tag Archives: film review

The Boomstick Film Club: Watership Down and The Secret of NIMH

Stream it with us: Watership Down, The Secret of NIMH

The late 1970s and early ’80s was a great time for animated adaptations of high fantasy literature. Rankin/Bass studios adapted fantasy classics like The Hobbit and The Last Unicorn, and Disney turned out more mainstream, kid-oriented films like The Black Cauldron. In the midst of all this, two fantasy classics that had previously been thought unadaptable finally got the film treatment they deserved: 1978’s Watership Down and 1982’s The Secret of NIMH. Both feature talking animals, both tackle conservationist or animals rights concerns that were way ahead of their time, and both are just a touch scary—or at least I thought so as a tiny child. My younger self was impressed with the films’ fantasy landscapes couched in an atmosphere of danger. Revisiting them both as an adult, I still love them; now I find myself empathizing with each film’s reluctant leader while also squirming at the damage wrought by humans. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under The Boomstick

The Boomstick Film Club: The Summit

Watch it with us: Netflix

I admit my love for movies about mountaineering disasters is a little strange. Not only do I not climb mountains myself, I actively avoid it. I’m not a thrill-seeker, and I hate being cold. I think this love comes from the same place as my love for horror movies: a sort of “thank god I’m safe and this isn’t happening to me” feeling, combined with a prurient fascination with other people’s misfortunes. If that sounds remotely like you, The Summit, the story of the deadliest day in K2’s history, should give you plenty to be fascinated and horrified by. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under The Boomstick

The Boomstick Film Club: Fish Tank

Watch it with us: Tubi.tv

Fish Tank is a real punch in the gut, in a good way. I went into the film looking for answers to two questions. First, what did director Andrea Arnold accomplish by casting Katie Jarvis, a teenager with no prior acting experience, as her lead? Second, what’s the significance of the title? I think I found answers to both, but like all great works of art, Fish Tank leaves room for interpretation. It’s not an easy sit, but it’s riveting in the moment and tough to shake afterward.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under The Boomstick

The Boomstick Film Club: And Then There Were None

Watch it with us: Amazon Prime, Tubi.tv

The Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None was simultaneously one of my best and worst reading experiences of all time. I was thirteen and it was my first murder mystery—I had purchased it through my school’s book order, if I remember right. I settled in to read it before bed and ended up staying awake until 2 a.m. so I could finish it, completely out of my mind with terror. It was such an unnerving experience that I didn’t go near a murder mystery again for a couple of years. The premise is uniquely effective: ten people arrive at a mysterious house on a deserted island, and one by one they begin dying off. Now that it’s been twenty-plus years and I have somewhat recovered my wits since that night in seventh grade, I couldn’t wait to see how René Clair’s adaptation of this pivotal (for me) novel capitalizes on the book’s structure. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under The Boomstick

The Boomstick Film Club: Always Shine

Watch it with us: Letterboxd

One of the great things about Letterboxd (which I am not shilling for, I just love their site and wish everyone would use it so I would know what all my friends are watching) is its list functionality—users can make lists of movies on any topic. When I logged Always Shine (2016) this morning and saw that it appears on the list “movies where female friendships are the scariest concept on earth,” along with forty other movies, I was surprised more by the frequency with which female friendship is the center of a film than by the fact that it turns toxic so often. There’s something inherently dangerous about women becoming close friends, and filmmakers love to let their imaginations run wild with the myriad ways these friendships can combust. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under The Boomstick

The Boomstick Film Club: Safety Last!

Watch it with us: Filmstruck or iTunes

In addition to my usual indie discoveries, I’m going to start tackling some classics here. Not that they need me to bring attention to them, but when a film endures this long, it’s usually because there’s a lot to talk about. I tried to go see a Harold Lloyd movie at the Film Forum a few years ago but was stymied because, I shit you not, the theater caught on fire about twenty minutes in and had to be evacuated. So Safety Last! was my maiden voyage with Mr. Lloyd, and what a treat it turned out to be. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, this is a perfect place to start. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under The Boomstick