There are two extremes when it comes to film criticism: Romance and Reason. Those of a leftist temperament almost always veer too far into emotional fancy; those of the right tend to get bogged down with intellectual analysis. The truth is that film, like most forms of media, is a rough and ready mixture of […]
Memento: Truth vs. Happiness (R)
After seeing Inception for the first time in the summer of 2010, Christopher Nolan quickly became my favorite director. Although my enthusiasm has waned over the years, as his films have grown less character driven and more spectacle oriented, I still have a certain fondness for earlier works like Memento.
Blade Runner 2049 (R)
Though it has now haunted me for nine months, when I first saw Blade Runner 2049, I did not find it very impressive. The Blade Runner of 1982 is a mad miracle of a movie and a hard act to follow. Though it would not likely be considered a very good film by most conventional metrics, it is […]
The Lady from Shanghai (Not Rated)
Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai begins with the sea, roiling and foaming beneath the opening credits. Many films noir are laden with existential anxieties; indeed, fatalism and cynicism are as commonplace in the genre as stylized lighting, bantering innuendoes, and convoluted crimes.
Macbeth: Post-traumatic Stress and the Pre-Christian World (R)
Shakespeare wouldn’t be Shakespeare if we did not have reasons to argue about him. Part of what makes his plays so enduring is their ability to tolerate the conjunctions “both … and …” However, it does make writing about him always a challenge, even though thousands (millions, if you include students) have done so before. […]
Black Mass: The Cost of Looking the Other Way (R)
Bostonians can rest assured that, unlike his earlier crime film Out of the Furnace, their home city is portrayed as being remediable. It does not even seem to be particularly corrupt. What it is, however, is tribal, with the Irish and Italians constantly at one another’s throats. It is a tribalism which not only defines allegiances in the criminal underworld but also among police and federal authorities.
What Kind Of A Man Are You? (R)
Speaking of his wife and her brawny boss who is over for dinner, small town barber Ed Crane looks at the two flirting in his kitchen and remarks dryly to us, “I guess Doris liked all that he-man stuff. Sometimes I had the feeling that she and Big Dave were a lot closer than they […]
Where the Violent Bear It Away: A Most Violent Year (R)
In a decadent society, decency is a sin, and it is one of the few that is unforgiveable. This is a lesson learned by Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac), the borderline hero and heating oil entrepreneur at the center of J. C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, although he insists on learning the hard way. Adversity is […]