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  • The Owls

    The Owls

    ★★★★★

    Expands on the complex polysemic frame of SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM while finding plenty of space in a one-hour runtime to interrogate modern constructs of queer identity, community, and desire. Honestly it floored me.

  • Border Incident

    Border Incident

    ★★★½

    A DOJ recruitment ad much like the Air Force would later endorse, but one can see how Mann and Alton would be attractive spokespeople for the cause. Sarris perceptively cites Ray and Antonioni and something of their brooding fragility is very much in operation here; pointing ahead, I can see the other Mann and his detail-oriented crime sagas over the horizon. Luckily Alton’s lunar shadows cast an appropriate spell of menace, so it’s more SIDE STREET than STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND, but I…

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  • Ready Player One

    Ready Player One

    "I hate myself

    I hate myself

    I hate myself

    For loving you"

    The text people are searching for to decode this bizarre film is Hiroki Azuma's critical theory book Otaku: Japan's Database Animals. I first heard of the book through McKenzie Wark, who, following Azuma, posited that Japan had begun grappling with post-modernity several decades earlier than the rest of the world. This I think is true, because what began in Japan can be seen emerging in the United States…

  • The Favourite

    The Favourite

    Just no good at all. Aesthetically inept, politically boneheaded, and a full-bore slog to sit through.

    Lanthimos is working at cross-purposes by applying his lifeless style to costume drama. If the intent was to produce some kind of friction, it doesn't register; if he meant to "revitalize" his chosen genre, the exact opposite is achieved. It's truly amazing how none of his formal choices cohere, or even betray the attempt to. His actresses bob in and out of pointless shots,…