MMI: Cabin in the Woods
I love that in a movie full of parody and satire, we build to the ultimate satire: the god who had been controlling everything rises up and destroys everything. This is perfect to me because any writer is familiar with the phrase: deus ex machina, or "god from the machine". A deus ex machina is usually something that saves a character or characters when their back is against the wall. Think of the giant eagles used in Return of the King and The Hobbit. "How will Frodo get down off the mountain?" Oh, giant eagles. The phrase came into being because god-figures, in Ancient Greek plays, were lowered by way of a crane onto the stage. The god-figure always offered a way out of a terrible predicament. "Oh, you're dying? I'm a god! You're perfectly fine now!" For a top 10 list: click here
What makes this moment so cool to me is that the deus ex machina is used in a bad way. Not only does this deus ex machina not save the day, it destroys the entire world. If that isn't commentary on narratives that use the deus ex machina, I don't know what is. I applauded. To me, this is the equivalent of a rapper writing a sick diss track.
Cinema Beans: This is Not A Film
If I have any problem with This Is Not a Film, it's that the film's intentions are entirely too obvious. It doesn't have the chance to expand like Jafar Panahi's classic Crimson Gold, and instead sorta becomes this one-note experience about the artistically constricting nature of the Iranian government. But even with that in mind, This Is Not a Film is still a dynamite study in that single idea, literally confining Panahi to his apartment while chaos ensues outside his windows. And nothing is more tragic and telling about Panahi's dire state than the film's final frame, as he attempts to follow a young man into the courtyard with his camera, only to be denied left standing just outside his prison walls.