wild that this is considered lesser Carpenter (let alone a bad movie) when it furtively inverts the structure of the slasher and uses it to disassemble the mythologized and otherwise concealed nihilism that low-rent ghost stories, asylum horror, etc. tend to offer as a response to female trauma. that it manages to not only perform these acrobatic feats of deconstruction but also is so restlessly paced and economical in its delineation of spaces is a minor miracle, at least.
the anomie and self-destruction of the US in the aughts parlayed into the more abstract catastrophes of a looming climate apocalypse, which itself only stands for an even more totalizing and unintelligible rejection of humanity by nature. particularly notable in Shyamalan’s oeuvre for the way it juxtaposes some of his bleakest moments of comedy (“my firearm is my friend!”, Wahlberg begging a plastic fern to spare him) with an increasingly potent motif of desperate touch which always antecedes loss. isolated…
had no idea my dude Snyder could make something like this repulsive, thorny rejoinder to predominating cultural notions of how 'empowerment' and catharsis operate in genre, here imprisoning their subjects in a diegetically pseudo-pornographic fantasy which can ultimately offer those caught in its spell nothing but mindless passivity as an end. anyone who survives with their personhood intact in these patriarchal conditions does so by chance and tremendous sacrifice, alone. honestly surprised me, i resisted it the whole way but it ends up in a place that's surprisingly coherent and strangely necessary
a displaced man enters a movie theater (surrounded by Orientalist images) that only shows the cinema of Orientalist images. he is remade by these images even as he remakes them; the colonial subject is first fetishized and then dismembered, but she always drifts back to him, even in pieces. Raul Ruiz’s zombie movie, a film of rotting bodies shambling around through dreams and afterlifes (it remains unclear which is which). undeniably grotesque and monstrous, decomposing as it goes, and yet infinitely pleasurable in how the progress of decay becomes just another excuse for increasingly elusive Ruizian transformations
"this is my god"
even if ultimately this is just as despairing a vision of the economic realities of the American working class as Soderbergh’s original, the generally dour tone and piss-stained color palette have been exchanged for an ecstatically intimate view of himbo masculinity and candy-colored, sometimes gloriously abstract lighting expressly designed to make all bodies appear beautiful. gets a lot of mileage out of the reflexive examination of its own status as an attractive, decidedly unpretentious commodity which exists purely to service…
baffling, just barely skirts unwatchability most of the time but nonetheless Rollin intermittently wrings something incredibly moving and almost human from what would otherwise be little more than porn with numbingly elaborate justifications attached. identities and bodies crumble inside of sterile but fashionable interiors, which are supposedly insulating them from the barren, scarred urban wasteland which awaits outside. the eternal present-tensism is what really works here, though, with the constantly refashioned (and yet always disintegrating) selves clumsily stumbling towards warmth…
a delightfully “minor” work about the spirituality of broken people, one which takes their belief seriously (the little rustle of the bushes every time Hank is cast out, repeated so many times it goes from magical to mundane), even though it has no trouble laughing along with the sublime ridiculousness of faith, surrounded as it is by banality and cruelty. one of the loveliest films about how to keep living through trauma and fashion a life for yourself against the…
daylight’s fashionable glossy hyperreality is transformed into near-monochrome gothic fantasia at night. radical discontinuties of time, running too fast and too much and yet frozen by grief. Coppola exorcises the ghosts which narrative forms silence and brick over; the ground we stand on is revealed to be nothing but tombstones (Edgar Allan Poe stayed there once, didn’t you know?). abrasive juxtaposition (spatial, temporal, and tonal) tears at the insides of a tired genre exercise until it’s as bleeding and battered…
”are you consciously aware that that’s my intention? i hate sappy movies, i find them torturous”
the rare found footage film that deals productively with the tensions between the format’s pretensions to naturalism and its actual self-conscious theatricality, between digital’s capabilities for beautiful imagemaking and the unsettling coldness it tends to inflect images with. something of an ur-text (or preliminary investigation) for what Shyamalan was about to do in Split, insofar as he’s interrogating the way exploitation functions as an…
basically doesn’t function as a political text except in a few moments of appreciated clarity (the oneiric punctuation by Pierre’s ghost of the Marxist teacher’s failure to serve her political ideals, Morelli’s wife immediately retreating into the car as a sobering reminder of the Algerian people whose material presence is excluded from these intellectual spaces) and several more of unfortunately facile liberal humanism. however, this decidedly does work as an impossibly sensuous account of youth’s relationship to time, wistfully documenting…
the metempsychosis of a marginalized subject is not tranquil but repulsive, filled with the blood and suffering necessary for expurgation of material and political corruption. a man wanders through a world populated by ghosts and murderers, and yet a tenuous solidarity with the outcasts and downtrodden of the global south is formed. debts are accounted for and repaid, but Europe reasserts its self-destructive brutality once more.
"Remember me, and I promise to forget everything"
treat me like a doll
ill be super perfect
see the real me
buried in the plastic
whats this stuff
is it even flesh
is it even blood
is it even me
i built myself
from barely fitting parts
i still fall apart
fellas, it has the Wachowski touch: in recovering the (political and formal) clumsiness of blockbuster cinema from the corporate anonymity of Marvel and the overstylized deconstructions of Snyder and Rian Johnson it also finds a renewed emotional immediacy in a surprisingly tender account of embodied femininity. slice your tears in two