Category C Reviews

Riddles of the Sphinx (Laura Mulvey & Peter Wollen, 1977)

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 […]

Like Father, Like Son (Hirokazu Koreeda, 2014)

Hirokazu Koreeda’s Like Father, Like Son does exactly what you know it will, although for about 80 minutes, that isn’t always a bad thing. Several scenes find themselves relying on montage and small details to transform the mundane into the cinematic. Two families, the richer Nonomiya’s, headed by the somewhat neglectful but hard-working Ryota, and […]

Antares (Götz Spielmann, 2004/2005)

Like Amores Perros and 21 Grams before it (and Crash just a month after it), Antares is a film about interconnectedness that relies heavily on a car accident. Antares begins with its crash and then takes us to a time before it where Eva (Petra Morzé), a content nurse with a husband and daughter, begins […]

We Own The Night (James Gray, 2007)

Howard Hawks said that a good film has three great scenes and no bad ones. We Own The Night argues otherwise. A brilliantly directed car chase, a drug deal gone wrong, and a great finale provide delicious icing on a poorly baked cake, and no scenes are outright bad, but the film as a whole […]

The Dead Zone (David Cronenberg, 1983)

Shortly after David Cronenberg made the bizarre, social supertext Videodrome, he released a far more conventional thriller in the form of The Dead Zone, an adaptation of a Stephen King novel (and the eventual basis of a television show). Videodrome is arty and illogical, and, three decades later, stands up as the director’s best work. […]

Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski, 2013)

I reviewed Computer Chess for The Film Stage, check it out over there.

Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)

David Cronenberg made his name with the “body-horror” genre, one which he practically invented. Still, even after decades of his “weird” films garnering critical acclaim and a cult fanbase, Cronenberg decided to tread new ground with the 21st century, alienating some longtime fans but also bringing forth a new group with twin Viggo Mortensen-starring gangster […]

Unknown Pleasures (Jia Zhangke, 2002)

In my experience, watching a Jia Zhangke film is quite unlike watching any other filmmaker. With Platform (2000), The World (2004), and now Unknown Pleasures (actually released between the two), I see him in his own niche, somewhere definitely narrative but nonetheless containing a documentarian look and feel. They are intensely sociopolitical, and their neorealist […]

The Others (Alejandro Amenábar, 2001)

As it is hard to truly discuss The Others without spoilers, this entry consists both of a spoiler-free review and an analytical essay that contains spoilers. Review: The score is overused to the point of even being funny, the twist is predictable in spite of also being overused, many plot points are also overused and […]