• Dune

    Dune

    Dune: Part One is the first act of a coming-of-age story that emphasizes the myriad number of ways someone’s life can go. In real life, that idea is usually quite ethereal, but Dune portrays it literally through Paul’s visions of the future, visions that shift like the sands of Arrakis. They are potential outcomes, rather than definitive prophecies. Paul has to accept the burden of his birthright—his dad a Duke and his mom one of the Bene Gesserit—as well as…

  • Ride Lonesome

    Ride Lonesome

    Ride Lonesome is about how we find meaning and catharsis in an ever-changing world. The dauntingly boundless American landscape becomes an important character in the film, reflecting each characters’ sense of waywardness and isolation as they run from their ghostly pasts towards a more hopeful future. This creates a disorienting sense of limbo, where the present—long stretches of brown nothingness that are hauntingly visualized by Boetticher’s minimalist yet constricting aesthetic—is populated with the ghosts and demons of their past. Those…

  • Jurassic Park

    Jurassic Park

    Jurassic Park uses the idea of chaos theory—unpredictability in complex systems—to make a point about cutting edge science, emerging technology, and capitalism. Malcolm sums this up with the famous line “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Greed is the film’s major villain; the dinosaurs are just hungry. The capitalistic urge is to think about money before morality and responsibility. When you do that with forces you…

  • Madame Web

    Madame Web

    Madame Web’s main character, Cassie, is haunted by her past. While Ezekiel, the main villain, is haunted by his future. So our relationship with time is a big part of the film. Neither character can enjoy the present because they’re still burdened. That’s a very relatable experience for a lot of us. Who doesn’t want to let go of what has held us back? As Santiago explains, “When you take on the responsibility, great power will come.” Cassie finally confronts…

  • There Will Be Blood

    There Will Be Blood

    Through the characters of Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday, There Will Be Blood looks at the masquerade of business and religious institutions in America. We see how performative both are and the promises, to better the lives of those who buy-in, that go unfulfilled. Neither seems to truly care about the human cost associated with progress. Because under the showmanship is a greed and self-interest that is ultimately something monstrous. Whatever humanity and capacity for love that Daniel possesses can’t…

  • The Godfather

    The Godfather

    The Godfather is all about the struggle to self-actualize, from both an individual and cultural standpoint. On a broad scale, the central character isn’t a single person but an entire immigrant faction struggling to find success in the United States of America. The inviting presence of the American Dream drove people to this country, presenting a structure that rewarded hard work and perseverance. But the intoxicating allure of achieving progress and finding prosperity reveals the ironic misfortune of the American…

  • Dumb Money

    Dumb Money

    The term “dumb money” refers to your average everyday at-home investor—a stark contrast from the professional “smart money” investor who understands how to manipulate and profit hugely from the stock market. But 2021 during the GameStop trading frenzy, these average Joes shook up Wall Street by skyrocketing the company's shares. This is the dynamic capture by Dumb Money—a David-vs-Goliath tale where small-time traders banded together online to shake up the stock market status quo. Through GameStop, they democratized the financial…

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Into the Spider-Verse is about finding your spark. Which is essentially self-confidence. In Mile’s regular life, he feels overwhelmed by his new school and the next stage of life as a teenager. The doubt he feels leads him to self-limit and self-sabotage. His journey as Spider-Man mirrors this. The confidence to wear the mask, to be the “one and only” Spider-Man, translates to his regular life. He finally starts to excel. It serves as a message to kids that life…

  • Shutter Island

    Shutter Island

    Shutter Island initially presents itself as a cautionary tale about paranoia relating to government, psychology, and the powers that be. That all changes once you realize that Teddy Daniels really is Andrew Laeddis, has been a psych patient at Ashecliffe for the past 24 months, and is in extreme and aggressive denial about what happened to his wife, Dolores, and their kids. At the end of the movie, right before the lobotomy, Shutter Island reveals its true thesis. This happens…

  • American Fiction

    American Fiction

    American Fiction is a tale of two stories. The A plot is Monk’s literary career. The B plot is everything else in his life. The two combine to make a statement about Black stories in the landscape of American fiction. Specifically, American Fiction is a satire of the way the literary and film institutions promote works that reinforce stereotypes around drugs, poverty, and violence in the Black community. As opposed to what we see in the B Plot—a very relatable…

  • The Favourite

    The Favourite

    The Favourite might take place in 18th Century England, but its exploration of power, identity, and deception in a royal setting serves as a timeless depiction of the manipulative tactics used in politics. Our three main characters, Queen Anne, Sarah, and Abigail, are caught in a cutthroat chase for power, twisting arms and playing mind games to climb the ladder or trip someone else up. Yorgos Lanthimos’ story uncovers the way personal drives and conflicts can drive people apart and…

  • Anyone But You

    Anyone But You

    Anyone But You joins the likes of She’s the Man and 10 Things I Hate About You as modern retellings of classic Shakespeare comedies. This time it’s Much Ado About Nothing. The present day lens turns Benedick from a soldier into a “fuckboy” investment banker and Beatrice into a portrait of mid-20s “what do I want to do with my life” anxiety. Themes include letting go of the past in order to better see the present, being able to fix…