• My Bloody Valentine

    My Bloody Valentine

    ★★★

    With his pickaxe lodged in the corpse of the local bar-owning doomsayer, the exertion of effort expressed by The Miner's body dragging away his victim called to mind one of Robin Wood's "return of the repressed" archetypes. Wood names the proletariat or laborer as a threat that horror films repeatedly unearth as slasher-killers or monsters. Examples would include Michael Meyers donning the jumpsuit of a blue-collar mechanic or the longshoreman slasher in I Know What You Did Last Summer.

    But…

  • Old

    Old

    ★★½

    I really wanted to just write something pithy, like "Old is everything a French author fears when they hear an American will adapt their work," but I read the graphic novel this film is based on earlier today and M. Night Shyamalan's version is actually rather faithful.

    Comparing the two works ended up leading me to a new thought. Old falls into a category of film adaptation that I am intrigued by: comic book films that downplay their comic book…

  • Images

    Images

    ★★★½

    When I'm alone, I think.

    I do that. That's when I really get afraid.

    To select only one set of echoes from the painstakingly staged series of mirror images, reflections, refractions, and inversions that Robert Altman and cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond orchestrate in Images is foolhardy. Yet, here I go.

    Repeatedly, Zsigmond and Altman turn their own lens on the counterpart lens of an SLR camera owned by the husband of Susannah York's Cathryn. In the film's closing moments, Cathryn's own…

  • No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★★½

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

    But in my humble opinion, the world doesn't change very much.

    For Daniel Craig's 007 it began with two kills. Shot in cold monochrome, that opening sequence from Casino Royale set the tempo for the actor's record-breaking time as Bond, James Bond. His version was always more assassin than spy, carrying the weight of every successive death a little more with each entry. Like the nanobots central to this film's plot, that amount of blood could never be washed off…

  • Titane

    Titane

    ★★★★

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

    I'm here.

    Striding into an auto convention, Alexia puts her wounds on display for Julia Ducournau's spectatorial camera before she puts her body on display for the conventioneers. Sliding a knitting needle (a dual purpose tool, as we'll find out) into her pulled back hair, Alexia reveals a scarred-over mass of surgical tissue resulting from the titanium plate operation she underwent as a child. A result of a car accident caused by her father lashing out at her aberrant behavior,…

  • Starman

    Starman

    ★★★½

    Love is. . .it's when you care more for someone else than you do for yourself. But it's not just that. It's when someone is a part of you.

    We meet Jenny Hayden in a wine-induced haze, grieving the man she loved by rewatching Super-8 home movies. As Scott in this footage, Jeff Bridges emphasizes the character's personality through particular gestures - raised eyebrows or a shifting of his baseball hat - that Karen Allen's devastatingly sorrowful eyes linger on…

  • Sweetie

    Sweetie

    ★★★½

    Are you having sex?
    Not really. We're out of that phase.
    Oh, no dear. You're never out of it.

    In Kay's black and white nightmare (the ice skating fantasies from In the Cut feel more of a piece now), grainy, Lynchian cross-section footage of plant roots bursting through soil hint at the signification underlying Kay's symbolic fear of trees. Linked from the opening narration, tree roots and Sweetie's unpredictable brand of chaos are seen as anathema to the rigidity of…

  • In the Cut

    In the Cut

    ★★★½

    What is "disarticulation" exactly?

    Being frightened by an attraction, finding attraction in being frightened. A teacher of English and linguistics, Meg Ryan's Frannie Avery (never more drably made-up, never more stunningly watchable) finds herself entangled by the latter manifestation of semiotic "play." As she says at one point, she's "scared of what she wants," drawn to Mark Ruffalo's Detective Malloy because he can do things to her body she never thought possible, but who may also do things to her…

  • Cry Macho

    Cry Macho

    ★★★

    I don't know how to cure "old."

    Three times before Cry Macho audiences have thought Clint Eastwood was saying goodbye to the silver screen. Nearly thirty years ago, Unforgiven was his funeral dirge for the Western, then came Gran Torino (which we all knew was going to be his last starring role), and only two years ago he seemed to bow out once again with The Mule. With Cry Macho the ninety-one year old has once again called our (Coogan's)…

  • Nenette and Boni

    Nenette and Boni

    ★★★★

    I'll eat her up.

    All of Boni's fantasies are about domination. He strokes his coffee maker and Nénette's child with the same level of satisfaction because, for him, they fulfill the binding sentiment at the heart of all his sexual daydreams - control, ownership. He imagines scenarios where women are pliable to his will, like the pizza dough he kneads with increasing aggression or the sister whose bodily choices he seeks to mandate. Visions of the couple from his corner…

  • Prom Night

    Prom Night

    ★★½

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

    Prom Night opens on a canted shot of a cracked mirror; post-coitus, a teen discovers the lenses of his glasses were crushed; the killer murders two victims with a mirror shard; paramountly, the film's inciting incident involves the accidental death of an adolescent girl who falls through one window only to land in the piercing fragments of another. These are reflective surfaces that have been fractured, causing the reflection to distort, spread across numerous tiny mirrors displaying the image from…

  • Candyman

    Candyman

    ★★★★

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

    When a story is told long enough, it might just become true.

    The story Nia DaCosta's Candyman is concerned with starts forming early. White police trolling around the Cabrini-Green projects hold up a wanted poster depicting the cartoonishly exaggerated face of a screaming Black man. Assumptions about the story are already being made, shaping Sherman Fields - who in reality is an innocent disabled resident of the projects - into an "Angry Black Man." When those same profiling police beat…