REVIEW: The Virgin Suicides [2000]

“Obviously, Doctor, you’ve never been a 13-year-old girl” With all the accolades bestowed upon writer/director Sofia Coppola these past two decades, only an idiot would question her worth by saying she’s little more than her Hollywood royalty name. Those who said it back in 1999 as her debut feature The Virgin Suicides made the festival […]

REVIEW: Irma Vep [1996]

“Have you sex with girls?” If you’re going to poke fun at the film industry, you might as well go for broke. Take Olivier Assayas‘ Irma Vep for example. Hot off the success of his acclaimed Cold Water, he was recruited for a project about foreigners in Paris with Claire Denis and Atom Egoyan. When […]

REVIEW: The Killing [1956]

“Just a bad joke without a punch line” After test screenings left audiences confused and frustrated, writer/director Stanley Kubrick and producing partner James B. Harris decided to return to the edit bay and turn The Killing‘s overlapping, repetitious structure into a more linear A-to-B narrative. You can’t blame the former for wanting to do everything […]

REVIEW: L’eau froide [Cold Water] [1994]

“Extravagant maneuvers” Originally envisioned as a 52-minute chapter of a television anthology series with strict thematic and contextual rules, Olivier Assayas‘ L’eau froide [Cold Water] eventually found itself as the much sought-after 90-minute Cannes debut that cemented the auteur’s style, acclaim, and promise without ever reaching American shores due to lapsed music rights. He would […]

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 […]