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  • Knock Knock

    Knock Knock

    ★★★★★

    "Horror [. . .] is an intrinsically subversive art, which seeks the face of reality by striking through the pasteboard masks of appearance."

    - Douglas E. Winter, “The Night Journeys of Stephen King,” Fear Itself: The Horror Fiction of Stephen King

    Eli Roth is one of the few filmmakers keeping real antagonism alive in contemporary American horror cinema. This is hugely disruptive and complicated, with a trio of remarkable performances at its center.

  • Bloodline

    Bloodline

    A film structured around twisted thought-loops and cyclical repetitions of violence.

    Overall, this is better than a lot of 2010s synth & neon surface-throwback junk (an aesthetic trend that has long since overstayed its welcome). Henry Jacobson makes some nicely gonzo formal choices (e.g. the De Palma-esque split diopters/split-screen and the montages lifting from Darren Aronofsky and Jay Rabinowitz). The script is periodically sloppy and dumb, but it also offers some disturbing psychoanalytic reflections on its compulsive serial killer: in particular,…

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  • Kaili Blues

    Kaili Blues

    As I was walking out of the theater, I heard a man say to the woman beside him, "Y'know, this was directed by the same guy who made 'Uncle Bowie.'"

  • mother!

    mother!

    I think we need a term (say, "Bluff Cinema") for films that play at lofty allegory through muddled and opaque execution. A film that's built on this kind of contradiction is infuriating not because it's "challenging" in any meaningful sense, but because it attacks the audience while shielding itself from critique. Defenders can ride on claims that detractors "didn't get it," because the film's delivery is airy and vague enough to validate virtually any reading.