Midsommar trailer

Devindra witnesses Face/Off live on stage while David discusses the HBO documentary I Love You, Now Die. For the feature review, the cast is joined by Valerie Complex to review Midsommar, the latest film by director Ari Aster. Tune in to hear how sun-soaked imageries can manage to be completely terrifying.

Read Valerie’s writing on overused queer movie troupes and on harmful LGBTQ representations in film.

Check out Jeff Cannata’s D&D show Dungeon Run. Listen to David’s other podcast Write Along with writer C. Robert Cargill Devindra’s new podcast Know More Tech, answering your question on the latest gadgets. Subscribe to David’s Youtube channel at Davechensky.

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Midsommar catharsis

(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, political, and opinionated about anything and everything. In this edition: Midsommar is one of the most cathartic movies ever made.)

Cinema has always had a way of making the real world make more sense to me. Throughout the years, I’ve identified with the heroines of rape-revenge cinema and the women of Tarantino films. When reality prevents me from getting closure, I can sometimes find it in film. However, I didn’t expect to find catharsis in Ari Aster’s Midsommar, especially given how traumatic Hereditary was. I expected to leave the theater feeling disgusted and raw, but I left elated. By experiencing my own trauma again through the beautiful and twisted lens of Dani’s story, my years-old wounds were scrubbed clean. I left feeling as if I had just been through two and a half hours of intense therapy. 

Midsommar is a challenging film. It’s heavy – full of grief, death, pain, and genuine horror. There are moments of levity scattered throughout as the movie riffs on its own absurdity, but it isn’t an easy experience. Aster has said in interviews that the movie is protagonist Dani’s fairy tale, and in a way, it felt like my fairy tale. I identified with Dani (Florence Pugh) in several ways, and our shared name didn’t hurt. Like Dani, I have an anxiety disorder. I have a terrible fear of abandonment. At the age of twenty, I moved thousands of miles away from anyone I knew besides my then-boyfriend, whose behavior mirrored her boyfriend Christian’s enough to be eerie. It wasn’t Sweden, but it wasn’t home either. While our experiences obviously weren’t identical, the interactions between Dani and the people around her mirrored my own. Her trauma legitimized my own. (Spoilers ahead.)

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Stranger Things 3

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, watch as Stranger Things cast members break down a suspenseful sequence from the recent third season of the show. Plus, watch a perfect trailer mash-up of the camp comedy Wet Hot American Summer and this year’s cult horror flick Midsommar, and see if comedian Tig Notaro can figure out how It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Glenn Howerton is on Under a Rock. Read More »

Midsommar Bear in a Cage

How do you help sell a disturbing 2 hour and 30 minute horror movie to the masses? Toys! The skilled marketing folks at A24 have come up with a funny and somewhat ingenious tie-in to their latest nightmare, Midsommar. The Bear in a Cage toy features exactly what the name suggests: a bear in a cage. If you’ve seen Midsommar, you’ll find this rather amusing. If you haven’t seen Midsommar, you might be curious enough to learn more. In any case, the commercial A24 put together to sell the Bear in a Cage has to be seen to be believed.

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Spider-Man Far From Home Box Office

Marvel and Sony’s release of Spider-Man: Far From Home had no problem taking over the box office this past weekend. But rather than having a gigantic three-day weekend, the blockbuster release spread out the box office love across the holiday week thanks to an early opening on July 2. That allowed the movie to break several records that Avengers: Endgame was not able to shatter.

Meanwhile, on the indie side of things, A24’s release of the cult horror movie Midsommar debuted with the biggest indie opening of the year despite arriving outside of the top five on the box office chart.  Read More »

midsommar trailer new

Ari Aster’s directorial film debut, Hereditary, invited audiences into the home of the Graham family as its members spiraled deep into the dark corners of grief, loss, and depravity. His sophomore film, Midsommar, lures similar themes out of the shadows into the bright, sunny landscape of Sweden where a lovelorn couple attend a symbolically sinister festival. In order to capture the proper tone of juxtaposition and deeper themes within the film, folklore, and cultural traditions, Aster paired up with Swedish production designer Henrik Svensson.

A prolific musician and artist, Svensson’s extensive research and meticulous design methods enhance the characters’ pain, beliefs, and motives. An impressive first feature film as production designer, I spoke with Svensson to unveil his inspirations and design choices that made the village of Hårga a place you should think twice before visiting.

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Jack Reynor interview

At its heart, writer/director Ari Aster’s twisted new folk horror nightmare Midsommar is a relationship drama. Florence Pugh (Macbeth, Fighting With My Family) plays Dani and Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Free Fire) plays Christian, a couple who are slowly drifting apart and whose problems come to a head during a trip to an isolated Swedish commune. It’s a mesmerizing “break up film” that’s punctuated by occasional bursts of violence, and watching this couple work out their issues leaves you with some images you won’t soon forget.

I sat down with Reynor for in a spoiler-filled discussion about the movie, and he told me about the jaw-dropping scene that instantly became his reason for making the movie, the movie’s comedic elements, the shot that made him cry for real, and more.

Final warning: spoilers for Midsommar ahead. Read More »

Midsommar spoilers

On a special edition of /Film Daily, /Film senior writer Ben Pearson is joined by managing editor Jacob Hall and writers Hoai-Tran Bui and Chris Evangelista for a spoiler-filled discussion of writer/director Ari Aster‘s new film, Midsommar. Then, you’ll hear interviews with Aster and actors Will Poulter and Jack Reynor. Read More »

Ari Aster spoiler interview

Ari Aster left the world spinning with the gut-punch ending of his breakout debut feature Hereditary last year, and without spoiling anything (yet), the filmmaker certainly leaves audiences with lots to talk about with the ending of his new movie Midsommar. I’ve already published most of my conversation with Aster about the movie (including his teasing of a director’s cut), but we were asked to hold any truly spoilery parts of the discussion back until audiences had a chance to experience this movie for themselves.

Now that Midsommar is playing in theaters, let’s continue our chat with Ari Aster.
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Ben Pearson’s Top 10 Movies of 2019 So Far

Ben Pearson's Top 10 Movies of 2019

2019 has not exactly been a banner year for mainstream American films. I still have plenty of foreign titles to catch up on before the year ends, and thankfully I caught a few worthwhile indies at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to make this list a bit more interesting that it would have been otherwise. Here are my Top 10 movies of 2019 so far, with every title except one having already been released in U.S. theaters during the first half of the year (the one that hasn’t is currently slated for release this fall). Read More »