At the end of MIDSOMMAR, our much put-upon heroine, Dani (Florence Pugh) smiles. It’s her first real smile of the film, and how she got there is a tale of bucolic splendor, ecological harmony, and psychic terror. Brought to us by Ari Aster, the iconoclastic mind behind HEREDITY, it finds in parable and metaphor the… Read More »
THE DEAD DON’T DIE takes the tropes, idioms, and beloved foibles of low-budget zombie flicks and, with a skillful flick of its auteur’s cinematic wrist, recontextualizes them into a stylized gloss on the new normal of 2019. Certainly the “Make America White Again” ball cap sported by the most reviled citizen (Steve Buscemi) of sleepy… Read More »
There is much to unpack in Jordan Peele’s deeply disturbing, darkly funny horror film, US. As it twists and turns through its doppelganger premise, the scariest part of the action isn’t the fear of home invasion by strangers out for slow, painstaking revenge.
We learn many things in M. Night Shyamalan’s GLASS. We learn that the Philadelphia police department has an abysmal response time. We learn that a fully staffed psychiatric hospital has only two orderlies its employ. And we learn that James McAvoy still cries more manfully than any other actor working today. Possibly ever. He is… Read More »
The decline and fall of franchises is a phenomenon that is all too common, and yet still heartbreaking in its own way. For every James Bond or Star Wars, there are countless other series that started strong, usually with a film that was a one-off, the success of which led to studio bean-counters to push… Read More »
The only thing wrong with HEREDITY is that is bound to spawn increasingly inferior installments in a new franchise that is as inevitable as its protagonists’ descent into madness. That aside, this deeply disturbing horror film does not need the supernatural in order to worm its way into the darkest recesses of your psyche where… Read More »
Why lob blood and guts when a lamp being knocked over can make you jump out of your seat?
For me, the single most disconcerting image in a Steven Soderbergh film is from CONTAGION. It’s not a panorama of people dying from the pandemic that threatens to end civilization as we know it, instead it’s the silent, dispassionately clinical shot of Gwyneth Paltrow’s head being autopsied. There are people I know who reference the… Read More »
The refrain of “I’ll kill you” or “My mom (dad) is gonna kill me” are a familiar part contemporary familiar discourse in even the most loving of homes. Writer/director Brian Taylor has taken that commonplace and spun a tale that is both wickedly twisted and unnervingly satisfying. The exactly proportions of those two feelings may… Read More »
From his debut feature, PI, Darren Aronofsky’s work has never strayed far from the metaphysical. There was the overt Kabbalah that infused NOAH, and even REQUIEM FOR A DREAM was as much about the psychic destruction of souls as it was about any physical degradation of the protagonists. And so it is with MOTHER!, an… Read More »