The Hateful Eight opens with an overture, scored by the brilliant Ennio Morricone in his first western in decades. Then, after logos from the Weinstein Company and Cinerama, there is a single shot beginning on a wooden cross. It slowly zooms out and tilts to reveal a horse-drawn carriage, a pictorial excuse to let Morricone’s […]


Selma opens with a scene of the Kings (Martin Luther, played by David Oyelowo, and Coretta Scott, played by Carmen Ejogo) discussing whether or not his ascot tie is “right” for a Nobel Peace Prize acceptance ceremony. Armond White, in his otherwise brilliant review of Selma, argues that “to start with Nobel recognition keeps Selma […]

“The biopic is broken.” Every time a movie like The Imitation Game—that is, every time a biopic that is slated as a “prestige” or “Oscar bait” film, preferably about someone whose story is inspirational but tragic and not especially well known—is released, I hear something to that effect. These films, the detractors say, exist solely […]

Admittedly, there is not a single explicit reference to Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales in Two Lovers, but I could not help but see James Gray’s film as a sort of update and revision of Rohmer’s largely internal stories of men who fall for a woman, are tempted by a different woman, and ultimately return […]

The Color Wheel is precisely the kind of movie I normally hate. Depending on who you ask, it could be termed “mumblecore,” although the meaning of that word seems to differ from person to person. The kind of movie and story in general of which I speak, is oft-repeated by New York artists, a story […]

EDIT: Pardon the rambling nature of this one, as it was more an exercise in trying to discern the film’s ideology than a review so to speak. In any case, I figured it might be of interest to others, so here it is: Coming back to Antichrist a couple years and more than half a […]

Going into Heli, the one thing I had heard repeatedly is that it is very hard to watch. Reports of its difficulty have been greatly exaggerated. There are a small handful of violent scenes, but with the exception of two, all are well within the realm of what anybody who watches R rated films would […]

It’s the late evening, and Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) should be getting ready for one of the largest concrete pours in European history, but instead, he is in his car on the expressway to London to be with a woman he hardly knows as she gives birth to his child. Locke is happily married with […]

Laura Mulvey, in spite of all her other great writing, will always be known for her 1975 essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” a manifesto of sorts that moved film theory toward a psychoanalytic framework and declared that women in Hollywood Cinema were coded with “to-be-looked-at-ness,” an object of pleasure for male protagonists and male […]

Boogie Nights may borrow generously from Scorsese, Altman, Kalatozov, and others, but when borrowing is done this well, and touched up to fulfill the borrower’s own unique sensibilities, it’s hard to care. The first shot, which tracks from an exterior into a nightclub and then circles the room, briefly acquainting us with many of the […]