Home

Newest Article

The Mummy (2017)

The Mummy (2017)

What was once a man’s desperate quest to resurrect his lost lover ala Dracula has been turned into a petulant girl’s desire to reincarnate the god she serves ala Suicide Squad. Could there be a more fitting beginning to this venture? This is shaping up to be a cinematic universe in the same way that a mime doing the invisible box gag is shaping up to be an opera.
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

Mary Poppins Returns
When Mary Poppins pops out on stage in stockings and Mia Wallace hair I was reminded of some Mary Poppins-themed miniskirt ensembles I saw in a shop window in Disney Springs. From then on, I was half-afraid of the Banks home staging a rendition of the sexy maid porno situation. I’m fairly certain Andrews’ version would have scoffed the scanty
Click to Read Full Article
True Grit (2010)
The Western is a myth of values. True Grit is a story that appreciates these values without necessarily approving of them. This is a film made in the spirit of a long tradition, which is surprising coming from the usually more provocative Coen Brothers. But its subtle changes should not be ignored – they contain all its secret truths, and
Click to Read Full Article
Superman Returns
Superman Returns feels like a lot of charming people were motivated to do the film twenty takes ago; now they’re kind of wistful and waiting for a break. The script has the right beats but the film is filled with sleepwalkers.
Click to Read Full Article
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Cuarón colludes with us like one of Harry’s helpful army of British character actors whispering in our ear in a language we understand without knowing, or a clever dad with a dark and silly secret. This is the first Harry Potter film that feels like an open book. It’s the best teen film ever made.
Click to Read Full Article
Bugsy Malone
The film actually makes the fictional landscape of the gangster film more real, by taking its troublesome boys and distant, unknowable broads and making them children at an age when that’s just the way things are. The mysterious sexual tension is made strangely innocent, though the archetypes haven’t changed from when Bogart and Cagney inhabited them. Bugsy Malone is a
Click to Read Full Article
The Man Who Invented Christmas
A Christmas Carol is such a tired tale by now that the first task of this new film should have been to make old hat seem tailored for the first time. But as Dickens picks up well-known artifices of his story off the street, you become infected by that terribly un-jolly feeling that this is one of those movies –
Click to Read Full Article
Mandy
Mandy is an old myth of biblical penitence that explodes into manly revolt; it’s Tarkovsky filtered through pulp-madness, and frustrated nightmare desires. Many have considered that the film is like a heavy metal album cover but they underestimate just how much this is true.
Click to Read Full Article
Raging Bull
Thelma Schoonmaker took home the Oscar for editing and the fights testify to it: there is no method to these matches, no information on boxing, only adrenal pounding and desperate fear. Schoonmaker dredges the matches in momentary flashes of primeval instinct. When LaMotta feels suspicious of his wife, his opponents become dramatically-lit monstrosities shrouded in smoke and slow motion and
Click to Read Full Article
Watchmen
If this was the first time anyone had heard of Watchmen, they likely would be bedazzled by the techno-pornography but little else. As a companion to a book well-read, the Watchmen film is an accomplishment worthy of the director’s talents (and his faults – its airy manliness may be the only main attraction).
Click to Read Full Article
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Planes, Trains and Automobiles is special because it’s a comedy of errors that understands how that’s basically just a comedy of human nature. Neal Page (Steve Martin) doesn’t do anything stupid to bring down this storm of shit, and snow, and mean flight attendants, and car fires, and three hundred pounds of John Candy. His negative energy follows him around
Click to Read Full Article
Joe
Without Joe’s perspective of the world he hates, there’s nothing – not even resentment – with which we can empathize. Joe is left merely with things we can’t condone. This doesn’t prevent it from stopping your blood with its performances. The depth of Cage’s eyes describes hurt in ways that words fail.
Click to Read Full Article
Truth or Dare (2018)
Truth or Dare, at least the fifth film with that exact name, is wallowing in convention rather than reapplying it, hoping you’ll forgive it for not having any mirrors to see itself in while hiding the hammer that smashed them behind its back.
Click to Read Full Article
That Touch of Mink
Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much was Day’s proof of concept, which based on her further career everyone seemed to ignore. That Touch of Mink, a film that makes Cary Grant look like he’s not an actor, is just the kind of spineless jaunt that I hate to associate her with.
Click to Read Full Article
Fight Club
The aspect of rebellion in Fight Club makes it the anthem of a cinematic generation, who may not understand it at all. Remember, “the first rule of fight club is that you do not talk about fight club.” If you argued about its philosophy, its meaning, its impact, its significance, the movie would punch you in the nose.
Click to Read Full Article
The Scarecrow
For Buster, falling in love always amounts to running around. Of all his films, The Scarecrow conjures up the most idealized, literal Keaton. It is one of his shortest films, but remember: for Buster, this only means that he’s tuckered out sooner. So are we, in the best possible way.
Click to Read Full Article
Reservoir Dogs
Reservoir Dogs is the kind of art you don’t understand but “appreciate.” Unlike QT’s Kill Bill, which is too busy not apologizing for being a movie to have a sermon hidden under its jumpsuit, this one acts obnoxiously like it has something to say even though it’s up to you to figure it out.
Click to Read Full Article
Peter Rabbit (2018)
Peter Rabbit (2018) is awkward. It’s a heap of a film, and not at all because it’s different. Even the best satire is stuffed with sincerity, like a rabbit full of radishes he’s insisting just up and disappeared. Without it, there’s nothing but smugness.
Click to Read Full Article
The Disaster Artist
Franco performs Tommy with affectionate realism but directs him with too much ambiguous charity, as though The Disaster Artist is the film in which Wiseau finally gets to be the hero, even if no one can quite figure out why.
Click to Read Full Article

Recent Reviews