• Kandahar



    I can’t tell you how many times I must have skimmed past this on Cinemark’s website just assuming it was some Bollywood thing, only to look slightly closer and realize — surprise! — there’s a new Gerard “The Meat Man” Butler movie out! And it’s the first “Hollywood” production shot in Saudi Arabia in over 60 years, since Lawrence of Arabia! We are truly not worthy.

    Anyway, there’s a scene where Butler’s CIA agent character, whose marriage is on the…

  • The Exorcist

    The Exorcist


    The Sacred and the Profane: The Exorcist at 50

    In his audio commentary for the extended cut of The Exorcist, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, William Friedkin states that everything in the film is intentional. He’s referring specifically in the moment to the subliminal use of auditory callbacks sprinkled throughout the film, more subtle than the visual flashes of Captain Howdy that were eventually cut into the Version You’ve Never Seen. Regardless, it’s the sort of auteur-adjacent claim…

  • Master Gardener

    Master Gardener


    The inherent, possibly absurdist contradictions at the heart of the philosophy of “love is love” rears its head when Schrader grasps hold of those horns. How will the typical NY/LA Film Twitter audience member react when the love in question blossoms between an old white supremacist and a young black girl? It’s very much the sort of poking and prodding one could expect to have originated from your typical Paul Schrader Facebook post. Schrader is simply unafraid of asking questions.…

  • Tenet



    It’s within the twilight world of the idols, the hazy, purple cusp of day and night, light and dark, good and evil, where new foundations are born of old. Nolan’s obsessions with time and fate (or reality, as Neil calls them) converge in Tenet upon the very tenets or axioms that are unfurling our modern world — two philosophies moving forward and backward at the same time, one of rationality that decays into the ultimate expression of Mephistophelean nihilism, the other…

  • Gozu



    Gozu is a film obsessed with the excretions of life. The lubrication that serves as the recently-circumcised Minami’s slide into the bowels of hell include the salivary, the bloody, the seminal, the vaginal. As he desperately attempts to search the city outskirts for his missing Yakuza ‘Brother,’ Minami is asked early in the film a riddle — “What takes, but also passes?” He’s given thirty seconds, but the countdown stutters and skips and it’s more like twenty. Regardless, much like…

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3


    Setting aside the fact that he’s ultimately been hamstrung by decisions that were made for these characters outside of his own creative control, Gunn still bites off a bit more than he can chew here. You’ve got an intriguing Noah’s Ark of ideas floating upon the sudden flood tide of Rocket’s backstory, but it opens up the film to a rather muddled two-by-two procession, an odd mix of the unique and the too-unique with the rote mechanisms of the MCU…

  • The Patriot

    The Patriot


    Steven Seagal’s pandemic western, directed by the guy who shot The Road Warrior and Apocalypto, which helps it feel like an actual movie and not some insane vanity project. The Patriot tragically never made it into the lazy Saturday afternoon TNT line-up, which feels like a huge oversight. I’m also convinced it may have been a secret, subtle influence on Neil Druckmann’s writing for The Last of Us. Seagal is in truly rare form, surprisingly unironically good as a doctor who draws the…

  • The Phantom of the Opera

    The Phantom of the Opera


    Trapped between Apollo (Raoul) and Dionysus (The Phantom), the psychological warfare around Christine begins below the surface of Paris, within an allegorical unconscious, but floats out of the sewer grates like a fog lingers into reality. Symbols abound: the split black-white costume design brought to the sweeping Masquerade dance sequence is almost as physical as the sword fight that unfolds atop the frosted ground of Christine’s father’s crypt. As the virginal innocent, Christine is destined to be the object of…

  • Beau Is Afraid

    Beau Is Afraid


    Aster’s final short film, C’est La Vie, ends with an acutely deranged homeless man lecturing the audience about precisely the very thing Aster’s entire early oeuvre centers itself upon. “You know what Freud says about the nature of horror? He says that’s when the home becomes unhomelike.” Unhomelike is a crude English translation of the German unheimlich, or uncanny. But, for some reason, unhomelike actually feels accurate. Aster has made a career thus far of exploring the unhomelike, the inverse…

  • Evil Dead Rise

    Evil Dead Rise


    Cronin very wisely takes a step away from the cabin-in-the-woods context of the Evil Dead series and plants his film firmly into the perils of modernity. Instead of a group of silly kids from the city barging into nature and unleashing hell, hell finds its way into the city and constricts the familial unit into a reversion of nature. The beauty of motherhood is mangled and contorted here into an unrelenting nightmare. The impending pregnancy that looms over our protagonist,…

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King


    Extended Cut. 

    Each volume of The Lord of the Rings is clearly and broadly defined by three modes of western archetypal storytelling, specific especially in Tolkien’s purposes to the Christian tradition — birth, death, and redemption. The Fellowship of the Ring finds the spirit of heroism achieving selfhood in camaraderie and courage. The Two Towers, the darkest of the three parts, sets its sight on the death of fellowship and the isolation our heroes and our villains must face amidst…

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four

    Nineteen Eighty-Four


    A self-serving, shallow reading of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four will simply work to reinforce your own preconceived political biases and preconceptions of man’s nature. Radford in his adaptation thankfully strays away from the popular misgivings and bids for relevance that any other filmmaker during the Thatcher era would have jumped for and instead conjures something fairly close to the Orwellian revelation, something both alien and familiar. Those who read Nineteen Eighty-Four purely to stick it to the perceived fascism of the right…