• Drive My Car

    Drive My Car

    Following his wife’s death, the protagonist Kafuku (played by Hidetoshi Nishijima) constantly listens to a tape of his wife reading the lines of Chekov’s Uncle Vanya. Before her passing, he would use the tape to learn lines and gain a fuller understanding of the play that he’d be directing and starring in, but while the ostensible motivation is the same, there is something different to the way he fixates on the tape following her death. There are rarely moments of…

  • Silence

    Silence

    The 2010’s had its fair share of films concerned with modern applications of Christian faith. Paul Schrader’s harrowing First Reformed (2017), John Michael McDonagh’s odd-but-effective Calvary (2014), and Malick’s contemplative The Tree of Life (also 2011) all hit screens within the decade, to name a few. Among these also stands Martin Scorsese’s Silence, which I saw in theaters back in 2017 and have never really stopped thinking about since. I have always had a fascination with films that move a…

  • Noah

    Noah

    When people talk about the films of director Darren Aronofsky, they tend to bring up his edgy arthouse hits like Black Swan or Requiem for a Dream; generally unmentioned: his largest box-office success by far, 2014’s Noah.

    When people talk about the great films about faith, the usual touchstones are Biblical epics like The Ten Commandments or postwar European dramas like Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (or, depending on the Evangelicalness of the audience pool, modern “faith-based” film industry hits…

  • The French Dispatch

    The French Dispatch

    It’s pretty easy to dismiss director Wes Anderson’s work as window dressing or dollhouses with lots of intricacy but not much depth. But that would be misreading a lot of his work.

    A lot of his best recent work — Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Grand Budapest Hotel and his latest, The French Dispatch — are all attuned to a melancholic nostalgia for a rose-colored past. Whether that’s a fair assessment of time or not, these films feel reflective…

  • Labyrinth of Cinema

    Labyrinth of Cinema

    Fast forward 40 years to Labyrinth of Cinema, a 2019 release that is receiving a rare level of attention and (limited) theatrical distribution in America this year due to it being Obayashi’s final film. Labyrinth of Cinema is one of those movies that is easily described as a career-capping magnum opus: it’s 3-hours long, it’s a highly experimental work by a filmmaker who had been experimenting with form for half a century already, it’s a metafictional movie-about-movies that spans a…

  • Cry Macho

    Cry Macho

    Cry Macho is nothing new in Eastwood’s career. The premise is similar to Honkytonk Man, one of his earlier directorial efforts, and it’s embedded with a lot of the same tones and plot beats as The Mule. It follows a former rodeo star who travels to Mexico in order to return a delinquent teenage son to his long lost father but ends up bonding with the young boy and his pet rooster over the course of their shared journey. It…

  • Vagabond

    Vagabond

    A world of unadulterated freedom can be difficult to conceptualize. In her 1985 film Vagabond (Sans toit ni loi), Agnès Varda actualizes the life of a woman who decides to live her life drifting on the road with no home or job. The film follows Mona, a former secretary who becomes fed up with everyday life. The film proceeds with tales from those she interacts with during the days leading up to her death. Many of those that she interacts…

  • O Vigilante

    O Vigilante

    No one wants to believe that they live next to an overwhelming evil. Conflicts with your neighbor are a universally accepted struggle, but only up to a certain threshold of deplorability. In O Vigilante, a feeling of evil is palatable among the population of a proverbial village, but spectators merely watch from the sidelines under the excuse of merely minding their own business. This coping method of burying your head in the sand in the wake of extremely vile behavior…

  • F9

    F9

    I went to see F9 in the cinema because I didn’t care if I lived or died. It sounds worrying and disconcerting when I articulate it directly. It wasn’t an active desire to be dead, but a general sense of apathy towards existence. It was difficult for me to see things to live for at an extremely difficult time in my life. It seemed hopeless to imagine the possibilities of a long-term future or to reckon with things outside of…

  • Space Jam: A New Legacy

    Space Jam: A New Legacy

    It’s tough to say if the narrative behind the new Space Jam sequel and its star – Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James – quite mimics that of its predecessor. While on the court, James has actively elicited comparisons to Jordan for his consistent dominance, I would wager to say that James lacks the clout of 1996-era Michael Jordan. Not only that, James doesn’t have the worldwide notoriety that Jordan did – and even still does.

    READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE: www.cinematary.com/writing/2021/7/26/space-jam-a-new-legacy-2021-by-malcolm-d-lee

  • Pig

    Pig

    People can spend their whole lives searching for a reason to exist. Are we all really just meat puppets floating in space on a big blue marble, or is there something more? The first ever feature by director Michael Sarnoski tries to answer this question by showing how people can connect to small things and how those connections can give that person a purpose.

    The film stars Nicolas Cage as Rob, a former (and formerly famous) chef who lives a…

  • All Light, Everywhere

    All Light, Everywhere

    A work of film criticism, as a general rule, tends to assume the posture of an objective observer: the job is to describe the film as accurately as possible, to get the reader to see the film for what the critic believes it is. Passing judgement on the film’s goodness or badness only comes after breaking the film down into its component parts and assessing whether and how those parts work. All Light, Everywhere, however, resists this approach, as it’s…