For our Spring 2021 issue of Jet Fuel Review (cover art byDeedee Cheriel), we devoted a special section to golden shovels. If you are unfamiliar with the form, it is an interesting take on acrostic poetry where a poet chooses a line and puts each word from that line at the end of each of their new lines. Terrance Hayes created the form and based his poem “The Golden Shovel” on Gwendolyn Brooks’s “We Real Cool.” (In Hayes’s poem, he explores his childhood and memories of his father).
We felt that it was necessary to take this golden shovel form beyond the confines of our journal. Like previous issues that had special sections, we would often have a call-out throughout Lewis University in order to foster community engagement and celebration. This time, unlike our 19th issue that focused on collaborative poetry, we chose the golden shovel form. To celebrate the successful launch of our 21st issue, and to witness a mosaic of creativity at the end of the Spring 2021 Semester, we asked students, faculty, and alumni to join together to create golden shovels. These shovels could be from a line of poetry or music that inspired the community member to write.
Presented below is an excerpt from the Special Section’s introduction written by JFR Assistant Managing Editor, Jo Spangler, that discusses the form in more detail. Located underneath the excerpt from our journal, there is a collection of fantastic golden shovels written by some of our own editors of Jet Fuel Review as well as some faculty and alumni of Lewis University. In summation, each of these golden shovels represents communication between the original author of the line and the poet using it. This community project is one that connects to the theme of our special section and gives a glimpse into the creativity and talent of our community. I hope you love Jet Fuel Review‘s 21st issue and also enjoy reading some golden shovels from the Lewis community.
Thank you, and I hope the blog has served you well during this difficult semester!
“There Will Be Blood: The Voice of Gods” a film analysis by Lorenzo Ferro.
The emotional feeling of being in control is one that is defined by the power, influence, and direction over people’s behavior or a series of events (“Control”). The struggle for control, or even better described as the struggle for power, is an immediate ignition for tension. The idea of a fight for control is one that can be expertly used to form tension in cinema. Pulling from real life, as is so common in art, directors use tension and power to create in-depth characterization; but, depicting dominance in a film can be a difficult task to perform subtly. In the movie, There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson uses parallelism between the two characters, Daniel and Eli, to form an intricate battle between two similar minds. Anderson does not use any single tool to form a fight for power, but he does use one tool in particular which is key to There Will Be Blood: aural composition. Being the catalyst for the entire movie’s plot, overlying vocal control—which is the strive for “power, influence, and direction over people or a series of events” by means of using the voice—between the two characters is a constantly changing scale that alters the way each scene plays out. In There Will Be Blood, the aural compositions, specifically the use of a god-like voice-over mixed with diegetic vocal performances, especially of characters Daniel and Eli, allows the audience to audibly—as well as visually—understand the mental power dynamic between characters on and off screen.
“The Exorcist: Lighting the Darkness” a film analysis by Chris J.Patiño
There are many ways to paint a picture of fear. For some filmmakers, it’s all in the monster, in showcasing the boogeyman at the center of the story. Others rely on suggestion and mind games to get inside peoples’ heads. Whichever way you cut, it’s all theatricality, and presentation goes a long way into how an audience will react. The Exorcist stands as one of the greatest horror films because of the filmmakers’ mastery over the language of film. Perhaps the film’s strongest element is its depiction of demonic possession. Director William Friedkin’s grounded documentary approach lends the film a sense of realism that is uncommon within the genre. He pays careful attention to making sure the world and the people in it feel authentic and believable. But that does not mean the film lacks artistry. As it happens, it’s the combination of the real with the imaginary that sells the film’s realistic vibe and accentuates the horror of it all. Of the filmmakers’ many technical wizardries, the cinematography, specifically the lighting, captures the character’s internal landscapes of fear as they contend with great evil. It lends to the film’s overall themes of faith and uncertainty. In The Exorcist, expressionistic lighting is tied directly to the human psyche, portraying the inner turmoil of doubt in the face of evil.
Welcome to yet another dinner party from hell, which could very well be the tagline for Karyn Kusama’s 2015 film The Invitation. This film is the definition of a slow burn because whenever you think something violent is about to happen, it pivots in a new direction. However, this doesn’t mean it’s void of tension as it’s always there simmering beneath the surface. Every sound from the clattering of wine glasses to the constant beeping of a car engine is articulated to the point where audiences are left waiting for a release that will never come (until the last 30 minutes of the film that is).
Karyn Kusama’s 2015 film The Invitation is worth watching but not for the reasons you might think. It is best to approach the film without grand expectations and with the realization that it is not your typical horror movie. It is better described as a psychological mystery/drama.
The general narrative structure is straight-forward at best and highly predictable. The mystery of the invitation is revealed early on, despite the attempt of hiding it with the uncomfortable atmosphere of the dinner party. Still, there are some redeeming qualities that make this film worth watching at least once.
I’m never going to a dinner party in the Hollywood Hills, no matter how good looking the people are.
Subdued, meticulous and distinctive in tone, The Invitation is a film whose horrors lie in human behavior rather than supernatural forces. Director Karyn Kusama taps into the primal nature of paranoia and suspicion to craft an engrossing psychological thriller that will do everything it can to spike your anxiety up into the stratosphere. The film also serves as a poignant study of grief and the lengths a person will go to free themselves of its pain.
The strength of The Invitation comes from its unpredictability: it keeps the audience second-guessing every visual cue and character action. The sense of unease stems from dissonance among the characters. Their situation continually gets weirder as the film goes along, but the nature of social etiquette keeps everyone quiet. The filmmakers keenly exploit people’s innate impulse to side-step public displays of strangeness to conjure up an excellent sense of sustained tension. The film is a series of tensions and diffusions. Carefully placed diversions keep us and protagonist Will (a tour-de-force Logan Marshall-Green) on edge, constantly rethinking and reanalyzing the situation.
Found below are three different perspectives of David Gordon Green’s 2018 horror film, Halloween. Reviews are written by Lewis University students Chanon Penvari, Lucas Mickelson, and Braden Bentley.
Chanon Penvari: Halloween (2018)
This film is not a remake film of Halloween (1978); instead, this is the story that takes place 40 years after. Since Michael Myers was first introduced in Halloween (1978), Myers has become one of the most iconic serial killers of all time. And, because Halloween’s (2018) timeline is 40 years after the first Halloween (1978), this means Michael Myers has killed five people, and it has been established that Laurie Strode and Michael Myers are not siblings. Michael Myers in Halloween (2018) is hungry for blood after being locked up in the hospital for 40 years.
Halloween (2018) utilizes many close-up shots to help make the viewer uncomfortable, and it also contains a long-take scene that is both thrilling and beautiful. In Halloween (1978), Myers’s signature act was standing still in the background, waiting patiently for the right time to kill. For this particular scene, the director, David Gordon Green, uses rack focus to increase the excitement for the viewer when they see Michael Myers blur in the background, then disappear.
During the silent film era, early filmmakers had to rely primarily on cinematography and mise-en-scène to establish setting and mood in order to engage the audience. Naturally, with the advancement of technology, films became more developed and complex, adding dialogue and making actors’ delivery and performances more important. But through all the developments of the film industry, one factor remains the same: a film must have great cinematography; and, a good cinematographer can make, or break, any film, especially on the independent circuit. John Carpenter knew this when gathering his crew for a small independent film titled Halloween, now historically preserved as one of the greatest films in history, and he chose a man who would end up changing not only his own career but Carpenter’s as well—that man is Dean Cundey.
For our Spring 2019 issue of Jet Fuel Review (with cover art by artist Delano Dunn) there is a special section that presents collaborative writing, which is writing that multiple artist’s crafted. As a way to celebrate the successful launch of our 17th issue, we’ve asked some of students, faculty, and alumni to join in and construct a piece, or multiple, that they created with their peers.
Presented below is a segment of the Special Section’s introduction as written by JFR Managing Editor, Zakiya Cowan, and a collection of fantastic collaboratively written pieces by some of our very own editors of Jet Fuel Review as well as some members of the Lewis University community. In summation, each of these pieces remain as a showcase of the bridge of collaboration and we are excited to present this talent.
Found below are two reviews of Jennifer Kent’s 2014 film, The Babadook, written by Lewis University students Margaret Gotsch and Elise Rosenberger.
Margaret Gotsch: The “Black Dog” in The Babadook
Research shows that mental illness remains one of the strongest taboos and that people with mental illness face wide-spread stigmatization and discrimination. Mental illness is often described as a black cloud. Portrayals of mental illness frequently appear in films and the media; for instance, the 2010 film by Darren Aronofsky, which detailed a dancer’s struggle with schizophrenia, was entitled Black Swan; and, Winston Churchill – reportedly a manic-depressive – called his mental illness the “black dog.”
In director Jennifer Kent’s 2014 film, The Babadook, the black dog of mental illness is depicted as a large, amorphous black shape. In the film, Amelia is reeling from the loss of her husband, the demands of single parenthood, and the troubling behavior of her only son, Samuel. At first, it appears that Samuel is the problem, but like a canary in a mine, it becomes apparent that Samuel’s misbehavior merely foreshadows greater problems within this nuclear family. Samuel has violent outbursts and is expelled from school for hurting a classmate. Samuel blames Mr. Babadook, a character from a book, for his misdeeds. Babadook – “a bad book” – predicts that Mr. Babadook will come to a child and ask to be let in and will then ask the same of the child’s mother.