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  • Universal Soldier: Regeneration

    Universal Soldier: Regeneration

    Hyams may be the only Carpenter student to really learn his rhythm: he doesn't stop at 2.35: 1 & synth fetishism and instead works towards a similar dynamic of compositional tension and steadicam movement. His innovation here is a complimentary matching of this form with his physical players. Chaining the momentum of a steadicam track to Andrei Arlovski, he gives formal expression of the man's strength and danger, as well as of his depersonalized, instrumentalized headspace: evocations of The Shape aren't…

  • Alone

    Alone

    Nice to be reminded one needn’t settle for Collet-Serra. At its most rote it’s basically theater with its survival/trauma plot, but the pleasures come from watching a skilled formalist ply their trade. Creative use of rack focus, digital light (those flashlight beams), the always pleasing tracking shots through trees, and a generally intelligent sense for the 2.35: 1 frame. The opening act makes great use of the loneliness of backroads and the tunnels of headlights at night. And, to top it off, it concludes with a hyper-physical Hyams fight sequence. Good, sturdy genre cinema.

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  • Zombie Flesh Eaters

    Zombie Flesh Eaters

    Post-narrative. This is not to confirm the common (mis)conception that Fulci is narratively inept (this idea is directly contrasted earlier in his career: Don't Torture a Duckling is a fluid network narrative decades ahead of the vogue; Beatrice Cenci cogently layers differing flashbacks, investigations, and personal reflections). Rather, Fulci here begins his radical stage (culminating in the films he'd make in the 1980s) of dismantling linear plot in order to explore ideas or aesthetics.

    Fulci, however, does not fully abandon…

  • Transformers: Age of Extinction

    Transformers: Age of Extinction

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

    There’s something uneasy about describing Michael Bay as “experimental.” A critic’s moralism protests: it’s not right, he’s not right (or too right). Despite the coterie of statuesque models, there’s nothing sexy about his cinema for the culturally high-minded -- these are films, as the man himself said, “for teenage boys.” They’re adrenal above intellectual, ironic before spiritual, and violate every value André Bazin held dear.

    And this is fair. Unlike a card-carrying avant-gardist, Bay’s not pushing for new avenues; his…