Home

Newest Article

Baby Driver

Baby Driver

Baby Driver wouldn’t have to be good to soar: watching Baby at work would have been reward enough. It gets so rewarding it starts to feel like we cheated our way into another theater, in a place where the movies are still fun despite being exciting. It’s a place we haven’t visited in a while.
Read More

Latest Features

The Fight to Be Fathered: False Politics in Black Panther

The Fight to Be Fathered: False Politics in Black Panther

This is a film made with the intention of proving that black actors should not be typecast as thugs, yet part of its comedic scheme is the counter-marginalization that all white people are colonizers. Black Panther admirably opposes prejudice when it’s directed at certain groups, but I would have preferred it, especially if its goal was “elevation,” to oppose all prejudice equally.
Read More
Ghostbusters (2016) and the Sony Problem

Ghostbusters (2016) and the Sony Problem

This below-average comedy becomes a disreputable slog by whoring out its cast for a studio’s marketing angle. It becomes socially harmful in the guise of good, a defiler in prophet’s clothing, when it promotes the fair representation of young girls in a film whose feministic prowess never exceeds petty and ill-conceived passes at men, whom Sony counter-marginalizes as comeuppance, as though the playground is the most intellectual arena to which feminism has ever gained access.
Read More
The Fault in Our Selves: Peter Rabbit and the Innocence Problem

The Fault in Our Selves: Peter Rabbit and the Innocence Problem

Art isn’t just a product: it’s a testament to the beliefs that made it. What beliefs does Peter Rabbit celebrate? A belief in art or analytics, in magic or in marketing? I remember thinking the same of Kangaroo Jack, of which Peter Rabbit is more a successor than to Potter. At least it’s so disparate from itself that it says nothing about her and everything about us.
Read More

Recent Reviews

Boogie Nights
Nowadays, a lot of our low-rent Friday night openings could be called socially pardoned porn. The odd thing about Boogie Nights is how strictly like old Hollywood it is—it is not itself a porn film at all. Sex is so commodified in Boogie Nights that Anderson has abstracted it beyond sexiness.
Click to Read Full Article
The Fly (1986)
Perhaps The Fly dreamt it was a romance and a horror film and a science fiction film and before it was made, loved living this triple life. Watching them collide with each other is entertaining: this is a really squirmy movie, as difficult to convince yourself to watch as to put down.
Click to Read Full Article
The Godfather Part II
The film is essentially about how Michael has failed to be his father, to garner real respect, and even to be truly Italian. The failure is a well-made sequel but was it necessary? It distorts the whole picture, as though Vito Corleone died for nothing.
Click to Read Full Article
My Neighbor Totoro
The climax of My Neighbor Totoro doesn’t involve the Volvo-sized hamster of the title, nor does it involve a sick mother who can only be cured by magic – it involves only a five-year-old girl who is lost and scared because she thinks that she can. Like childhood the film involves a lot of running around and laughing and getting
Click to Read Full Article
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
If Raiders was a backyard adventure where we put on our explorer’s hat and went bucket-and-shoveling out into the woods for buried treasure, The Last Crusade is like watching a home movie of it. It’s still got the same gee-whizz endearment but in a “boy, don’t we look silly” kind of way.
Click to Read Full Article
A Fistful of Dollars
The result is a fantasy of movie logic that contains within it some special mystery, some lavish neo-chanbara (“sword-fighting”) crossed with that appearance of frontier Americans that young boys saw within the Wayne construct (but which, I’d venture a guess, it would not have been American for him to acknowledge).
Click to Read Full Article
The Departed
Eighteen minutes and thirty-four seconds in, “The Departed” splashes up on the screen to hard Irish rock and you know someone’s probably going to survive this movie, to refer to those who won’t as the dearly dead.
Click to Read Full Article
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Gene Wilder is Willy Wonka. Depp’s oddball Michael Jackson impersonation never achieves the same eerie uncertainty, an odd discovery given that the new version seems to pride itself in replacing musical camp with veiled horror.
Click to Read Full Article
Jack and Jill
This 2011 double-Sandler performance accentuates his impenetrable laziness, even more so that he performs twice and acts half as much. Those familiar with how much work his work has become for him, should know the drill: the crotch-shots, the desperate laughter, the screaming, the falling down, the farting, the falling down and farting, the marginalization humor and innocent sex ploys.
Click to Read Full Article
Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo has a brilliant way of keeping this theme in the shallows of its action, always present but rarely addressed directly in the ecosystem of all its wonderful ocean stuff.
Click to Read Full Article
Paddington 2
We’re too full of wonderment to make it back around to sarcasm, which is just cynicism in a more thoughtful form. Paddington 2 is like its main character. It doesn’t know how else to view the world but genuinely.
Click to Read Full Article
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
No one said Pirates movies were cinematically healthy, but up till now there have been defenders of each film at least regarding tastiness. Dead Men Tell No Tales is like Davy Jones in previous films: chained to the job he was hired to do despite having no heart.
Click to Read Full Article
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
O Brother, Where Art Thou? isn’t an enduring testament to the road picture. It doesn’t enhance your memory of them. Quite oppositely, it’s the best of them, and no better than them.
Click to Read Full Article
Catch Me If You Can
With the suspense of the chase blown, Spielberg sets up a dramatic con without the pretense that you’re wondering what will happen in a story adapted from a real and well-known memoir based on true events. He punks us with its trueness.
Click to Read Full Article
Rio Bravo
In Hawks’ film, death threats roll off Wayne’s boy scout smile like rain off an imperious old duck; characters are named Feathers, Stumpy, Colorado and Dude. Rio Bravo doesn’t have the best upbringing, but nothing can stop it from being the best “hangout” in all the movies.
Click to Read Full Article
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry possesses none of the fairytale virtues: no great strength or speed or cunning. When they were handing out panaceas, the poor kid must have been grounded. His destiny follows him, as other people make it. (“She knows more about you than you do,” Ron says.” Harry’s reply is from someone losing to his identity crisis: “Who doesn’t?”).
Click to Read Full Article
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Amirpour relishes in not giving us the whole story. The Girl talks about The Beatles like she remembers them but she never mentions how. In cross-examining the image of the chador with this new wave rebel feminist, Amirpour crafts a startling image of repressed terror.
Click to Read Full Article
The African Queen
Movies of this kind had a habit of staging an adventure but keeping emotions safe and detached, with characters that went through the bother of dressing in jungle wear but without the bother of acting beyond their British parlors. But here Huston aims at unprecedented realism in confecting a gritty jungle for his two stars to get entangled in, particularly
Click to Read Full Article

Recent Reviews