Blake Stachel

Blake Stachel

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Favorite films

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Recent reviews

  • The Devil All the Time

    The Devil All the Time


    Some of the themes and concepts I found to be
    compelling: violence begetting violence; eternal recurrence; the fatalistic structure of the plot; and the powerlessness of being a slave to some divine blueprint. The film tries so hard to replicate the magic of Miller’s Crossing and the Coen formula. Ironically, it probably would’ve worked better if it had been more like its inspirations and doubled as an absurdist comedy. Its nihilistic tone felt flat without any semblance of dry humor to augment the violence.

  • Zama



    The first time I saw Zama was part of a “Women in Cinema” class for my undergrad, and I admittedly  fell asleep. The second time I made it 45 minutes in and then gave up because I couldn’t figure out what it was trying to do. The third time I got a bit further along, thought I understood it, and ultimately abandoned it because of my obstinance. All the while, I knew that it was something to marvel at and…

Popular reviews

  • Double Indemnity

    Double Indemnity


    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    You know a film is good when throughout the entire runtime that slight, almost catatonic smile never leaves your face. All you can do is sit there reveling in the drama and soaking up the images, as if they were being melted onto the screen. There’s so much atmosphere in the first few frames of Billy Wilders’ 1944 noxious noire classic, that you immediately become engrossed in the momentum of the film; and so that by the time the plot…

  • The Party

    The Party


    I usually love this kind of film; the kind of film where characters talk and they talk well. It’s the kind of film where the characters are flawed and actually pretty terrible people, though they somehow, through their authenticity and complexity, become likable, in spite of their corrosive hypocrisy. 

    Similar in some ways to Polanski’s Carnage, the contained narrative allows each moment to seem  important. Unfortunately, unlike Carnage, Sally Potter’s black and white, one room theatre piece doesn’t quite have the same…