Pate Duncan

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Favorite films

  • Theorem
  • Querelle
  • Totally Fucked Up
  • Will-o’-the-Wisp

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All
  • Hanging Out Yonkers

  • Tokyo Story

    ★★★★½

  • Badlands

    ★★★★½

  • Peeping Tom

    ★★★★★

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  • Oppenheimer

    Oppenheimer

    ★★★★★

    Nolan has delivered his opus, his characteristic play with syuzhet, fascination with time and science (fiction), and rattling on the cage bars of a prima facie stable masculine subjectivity all landing in a fusion that feels like one of the most important films in a long time.

    There have been many pixels spilled discoursing about this thing: whether it’s leftist or not (how facile a heuristic for such a multifactorial product), how much sympathy is appropriate to extend to the…

  • The Doom Generation

    The Doom Generation

    ★★★★★

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

    Araki’s endings used to be the thing that made me fairly cool on him. The famous ‘90s run of The Living End, Totally Fucked Up, The Doom Generation, and Nowhere all feature fairly abrupt climaxes characterized by senseless violence that tends to turn on an initial romantic or sexual liaison: sexual assault, suicide, castration, and even the complete, explosive destruction of the body end these films. I said a bit more about this in an earlier review for a rewatch of…

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  • Hanging Out Yonkers

    Hanging Out Yonkers

    Kristin Thompson’s Breaking the Glass Armor: Neoformalist Film Analysis has been my Bible lately regarding how I approach film. It’s not been a particularly popular book in the field, especially with her partner David Bordwell’s project of historical poetics addressing similar questions, but I still find Thompson’s model more compelling. This is in part due to it coming earlier in the cognitive turn in film studies (Bordwell’s Narration in the Fiction Film and Ozu study are similarly compelling for me because of…

  • Peeping Tom

    Peeping Tom

    ★★★★★

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

    One of the knottier, more perverse films ever made. Its actual violence is somewhat secondary in this respect to its assertive, horrific dramatization of childhood abuse and traumatic repetitions echoing outward from that. A harrowing film all these years later.

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  • All of Us Strangers

    All of Us Strangers

    ★★★★½

    Had multiple times during this where I legitimately considered running out of the theater bc of how much of it hit close to home. One of the most touching examinations of internalized homophobia I’ve seen in ages, treating the milestone of adult gay dating with the same gravity that coming out/coming of age dramas treated that specific queer milestone.

    There’s something very compelling here about how the film handles unrealized potentialities, the supernatural conceit here working in a therapeutic mode…

  • Saltburn

    Saltburn

    ★★½

    Hopelessly middlebrow but quite horny to compensate. Unfortunately, it seems content to coast on that merit alone.

    Fennell’s script brings in some salient references, but they fail to cohere into any real character psychology regarding sexuality, aggression, envy, yearning, or anything more three-dimensional than the crassest of class analysis. How unfortunate it is to see all the seeds of a film that seemed seriously concerned with depicting sexuality grow into something so banal. Keoghan, Elordi, and Pike are all blameless,…