Monae’s Room

By Colleen Rowe

Raeshelle Cooke’s 20 minute short film, Monae’s Room, exposes the definition of closure after a woman falls out of the binds of a serious relationship. The darkness of Monae’s room itself exemplifies the seemingly chaotic turmoil that sits within Monae (Delea Mowatt) as she continues to isolate within her room. With a somewhat snobby sister, Kelly (J.D. Achille) enjoying the pleasure in life, with silly phone calls that Monae can’t seem to grasp under the wave of an all-encompassing depression, Cooke’s short touches upon the reality of heartbreak and how words by others cannot simply be the best medication.

The focus of the telephone within the film is important. Its classy grooves stand as a representation for loneliness, as the focus of Monae is, at times, less apparent within her darkened room. The telephone seems to be haunting her, and her inability to lose grasp of her previous relationship, along with the constant talking to herself within her own mind, might make viewers question if she is really as crazy as Kelly claims her to be.

The lighting within this film is also one of the most important of its attributes. Monae sits in darkness and uses her heartbreak as her muse, sitting tirelessly among the rubble of overused cups. Is this rubble chaining her to depression? Is there ever any solace in messes that we can’t clean up, figuratively and literally? Where do our hearts go once they are crushed and stretched out in overplayed songs that dance like evil angels on our shoulders? Monae’s Room gives some insight on a broken relationship through the blackness of wanted phone calls that, once received, we really don’t want anymore. After a certain passage of time, depression falls away and the focus of a telephone becomes less of an option, and more of a reason to put the past behind you. Monae allows this past to shift away from her inner rubble, giving her the perfect opportunity to pick up the phone when someone is actually listening.

The concept of this film is a relatable to the point where you feel yourself sitting in your own quiet room, with music that seems to bounce off the walls in short waves of depressing hope. For at the end of every terrible relationship, there is still a new one to ponder over, to make sense of the past, and with that Monae’s Room gives viewers hope in a hopeless territory.

Kill List

By Christopher Matos

Before going into a horrendously structured analysis of, Kill List directed, and written, by Ben Wheatley with Co-writer Amy Jump, I need to preface the following article with some honesty. My background in writing is not film; I’ve only ever enjoyed watching movies. My background is in Literature where, with a goal in mind, I had aimed to prove something to someone. I’ve always loved film more than literature, and in many ways my love for the art is why I kept so far from raking through it with a fine-toothed comb.

I’ve always viewed film critics as idiotic, or snobbish individuals whose ideals far exceed what was necessary, who pompously overlooked what the average person may find appealing. In my opinion criticism in general is rife with such flaws, often drawing conclusions founded in broken dreams, or missed opportunity. My main goal writing these articles is to be honest, to try to be fair, and present the perspective of your average movie-goer. So…

Have you seen “The Kill List?” This “Horror film” available on Netflix was in my opinion an interesting look inside a dysfunctional family. A pained family, that brutalized what it meant to be unemployed, and what some must do in order to survive which of course means murder people! Yay! In sitting down to view this film I had no expectations because realistically English indie horror films don’t often flash through my viewfinder. What I received was a movie that had peaks, and valleys, and to a guy whose hair stands up at the mention John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982), I was somewhat disappointed with this billed horror film.

As a suspense thriller? In that respect it was average. Everything about this movie said, “that’s interesting, but why is it so familiar.” At times it was beautifully shot, taking me to Sheffield, South Yorkshire a decent suburb of England’s Humber region that, realistically, I couldn’t find on a map if you paid me. Holding your attention with the stark contrasts between the brutality of the unfolding story, and the quaint peaceful setting, you’re along for the somewhat predictable ride, which can be entertaining.

The introduction to the plot, and the character development, in some ways, helped the overall movie, however once it gets on the road I felt like I had seen some of it before. The “Former Hit men looking for a way to make money” plot takes us on a path that is both interesting, yet somewhat predictable. Its attempt at generating mystery causes subtle interest, as violence allows the main characters to take ownership of their lives. Poignant moments give us reflections of humanity, displaying how a disenfranchised man can artfully be fed up with the way things are, and that is what saved this movie for me. Insert your hit-man code of ethics, and comradery, and now you love these characters.

Certain themes throughout where beautifully articulated. The display of the broken home portrays the strength of the actors, and allows the script to truly shine. There are moments where, as an audience member, you are allowed to think slightly deeper than what is in front of you. You may begin to realize that to live “sins” or past regret is to be tortured forever for being human, whether a hit-man, or not. The thematic realization that we are a cog in a giant machine with only one goal: to destroy itself. This plays well here, and foreshadows the gripping ending.

The final scenes, and the overarching final descent into chaos was, by far, the best, or most suspenseful scenes despite, at times, being choked by its own script. I felt feeling uncomfortable and uneasy by the end, but the attempt at a hard shock was obvious, and somewhat unoriginal. The acting was good, the photography was good, and the story was okay. Obviously, a suspense film needs to keep you on your toes, keep you uncomfortable, and fearful of what’s to come. The Kill List had its moments.