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Pinned reviews

  • Winterbeast



    Winterbeast’ is an absolute blast. It somehow stands as evidence of both an abandoned live-action horror film shoot and what can happen when an animator, in an effort to salvage years of work, takes a Ray Harryhausen obsession as far as their creativity can go. The film is about forest rangers investigating several disappearances in the woods of New England. But the story doesn’t matter much. ‘Winterbeast’ is all about its set pieces. Throughout the course of the movie, we…

  • Messiah of Evil

    Messiah of Evil


    When asked what attracts people to 'Messiah of Evil' in an interview on Code Red’s Blu-ray release, Willard Huyck says it’s an “odd film,” which he believes allows audiences to interpret what it’s “about” in a variety of ways. But its appeal for me is actually the opposite — the “about” is the least important part. In its released form, the story of 'Messiah of Evil' is, by any Screenwriting 101 professor’s account, a total mess. But the lack of…

Recent reviews

  • Apart from That

    Apart from That


    Whether it's caught up in the dullest or most perplexing experiences of its characters’ lives, 'Apart from That' finds a vitality in every moment. Something is always in the making as the film burrows into its small community in central Washington. 'Apart from That' arrived at the tail end of an era in American filmmaking where seemingly every movie was attempting profundity by tying large ensemble casts together in grandiose fashion. But Shainin and Walker locate small, yet striking, connections…

  • Cure



    The first time I saw 'Cure' was the night I came down with Covid for the first time. The symptoms started to kick in right at the beginning of the film. I began slowly fading in-and-out, sweating, and becoming hazy with a fever. During the major interrogation of Mamiya with all the dripping water and shadows forming, I remember thinking, with embarrassing cluelessness, "Wow, this movie is really doing something to me..." The Covid haze definitely accentuated certain aspects of…

Popular reviews

  • Safe



    There is an interview with Guy Maddin on the ‘My Winnipeg’ Criterion disc in which he compares melodrama to Werner Herzog's ecstatic truths. Maddin defines melodrama as "life uninhibited,” a style where characters can turn their insides out by articulating their deepest emotions in their fullest and most expressive forms. In ‘Safe,’ Haynes does something unique with melodrama, because he treats the film’s most ecstatic moments like they are being yelled through gritted teeth. There is a disharmony between the…

  • The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

    The Killing of a Chinese Bookie


    With the exception of Mabel in 'A Woman Under the Influence,' I don’t know if Cassavetes ever gave us a better "self-portrait" — with so many of his personal insecurities and struggles on display, as well as his singular drive for creative freedom — than he did through the characters of Cosmo and Mr. Sophistication in 'Killing of a Chinese Bookie.' Cosmo finds freedom through putting on his act. As he says, he only feels like himself when he is…