REVIEW: La Ciénaga [2001]

“Get me some ice” The debut feature from Argentinian writer/director Lucrecia Martel is entitled La Ciénaga or The Swamp in English. That’s a name no American circa 2018 can read without conjuring allusions to the Donald Trump campaign motto “Drain the Swamp”. And it’s not a superficial thought either once you start to meet the […]

REVIEW: Sweet Smell of Success [1957]

“No. You’re dead, son. Get yourself buried.” The hook is simple: Steve Dallas (Martin Milner) and Susan Hunsecker (Susan Harrison) are in love, but big brother J.J. (Burt Lancaster) doesn’t approve. He hasn’t supported her with penthouses and fur coats to watch a young guitarist whisk her away, but he can’t be caught stopping them […]

REVIEW: La passion de Jeanne d’Arc [The Passion of Joan of Arc] [1928]

“His ways are not our ways” The history of Carl Theodor Dreyer‘s masterwork La passion de Jeanne d’Arc [The Passion of Joan of Arc] is almost too perfectly attuned to the subject matter itself. Here was a renowned director hired to craft a movie about France’s most famous Catholic despite being neither French nor Catholic. […]

REVIEW: In a Lonely Place [1950]

“There’s no sacrifice too great for a chance at immortality” Just because you might be innocent of one crime doesn’t mean you’re a saint who’d never commit another. We’ve seen this type of complex premise as recently as “The Night of”, a miniseries about racial prejudice and police neglect wherein the accused (and audience) is […]

REVIEW: Videodrome [1983]

“Better on TV than on the streets” To watch David Cronenberg‘s Videodrome today is to acknowledge his clairvoyance as far as technology’s capacity to control via (mis)information. He filmed this body horror classic about subliminal messaging in mass consumption in 1983: years before the political firestorm in 1992 revolving around ubiquitous violence in videogames via […]

REVIEW: The Killers [1946]

“Stop listening to those golden harps, Swede” “The Killers” is a dialogue-driven short story by Ernest Hemingway that describes the melancholic criminal comeuppance of a man long-removed from the deeds that signed his death warrant. It reads like a fast-paced and stripped-down script whose intrigue is built out of that which we’ll never know. Context […]

REVIEW: Billy Liar [1963]

“Today’s a day of big decisions” When you live in a small town where everyone knows your name, flights of fancy can prove your only escape. Not everyone imagines a whole country to forget him/herself in when times get tough, but Billy Fisher (Tom Courtenay) is a one-of-a-kind guy. You can’t even blame him since […]

REVIEW: David Lynch: The Art Life [2017]

“They got along like Ike and Mike” If you remember back to 2007, a documentary entitled Lynch came out portraying an all-access pass into the creative process of auteur David Lynch‘s final feature-length film, Inland Empire. There was a lot of smoke and mirrors surrounding its release from the use of a nom de plume […]

REVIEW: Bacalaureat [Graduation] [2016]

“Do what’s best for you” The amount of corruption to simply exist within the borders of Romania as displayed by Cristian Mungiu‘s Bacalaureat [Graduation] is insane. So much so that I feel bad admitting to what it reminded me of on a much more insidiously vile scale. Yes, it was nearly impossible not to see […]

REVIEW: Personal Shopper [2016]

“I just need to see it to the end, that’s all” At the heart of Olivier Assayas‘ Personal Shopper is an idea of fear. This isn’t surprising considering it’s a genre ghost story, but its target is. Lead character Maureen Cartwright (Kristen Stewart) isn’t afraid of ghosts, spirits, or the supernatural because she’s a medium […]

REVIEW: Córki dancingu [The Lure] [2015]

“Would you eat him?” Not all fairy tales must be for children as their lessons resonate with ages young and old. There’s a reason many original forms of such tales deliver more blood and horror than Disney counterparts—that sense of fear allowing adults to find dramatic value and kids a scare to remember the moral […]