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Monday , May 27 2019

Author Archives: Steven

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Expressing an appreciation (or lack thereof) for all sorts of films for over 25 years.

The Seven Deadly Sins in Cinema: La Grande Bouffe (1973)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  7 One common cop-out to avoid any serious philosophical discussion of the seven deadly sins is to bring up the e-word – excess – as in, “well, these behaviors are only ‘sins’ if committed in excess.”  But sometimes it takes only one act of lust, greed, ... Read More »

The Seven Deadly Sins in Cinema: There Will Be Blood (2007)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  8   As the enigmatic character Gordon Gekko famously declared, greed clarifies.  Indeed it does – too much so.  Greed is necessarily premised on the need to keep score when it comes to power – whether it be financial, political, religious, or otherwise.  For many, it’s a ... Read More »

The Seven Deadly Sins in Cinema: Bitter Moon (1994)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  7   To be sure, each of us is capable of harboring lust for a number of different “things” (e.g., all of the numbers of pi), but sexual desire underscores a unique aspect to this particular sin – the futility of the pursuit itself.  People want sex ... Read More »

Calvary (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3   From its opening frame, Calvary jumps right into the void with an unseen male parishioner’s confessing, “I first tasted semen when I was seven years old.”  “Certainly a startling opening line,” remarks Father James (Brendon Gleeson), immediately setting the stage for this self-referential, black comedy.  ... Read More »

Life Itself (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3   “I don’t know Pauline Kael.  Fuck Pauline Kael.”  It’s the kind of comment that a serious film critic may find downright “unseemly,” but that’s kind of the point.  As delivered by a long-time friend and colleague of Roger Ebert in the documentary Life Itself, it sums up Ebert’s place, relatively speaking, ... Read More »

Devil’s Knot (2014)

Spoiler scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4   Nothing undermines art like reverence.  And biopics are no exception to this rule.  Over the last 20 years, four feature-length documentaries have covered the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, the resulting trials and conviction of the so-called “West Memphis Three,” the growth of their celebrity and civilian supporters alike, and ... Read More »

Little Spiders, Big Spider: Untangling Enemy (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  9   Adam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a college history professor, who by a chance movie viewing, discovers his doppelganger, Anthony (also Gyllenhaal) lingering in the background.  Adam tracks Anthony down, only to confirm that, physically speaking, Adam and Anthony are exactly alike.  But in all other respects, they could ... Read More »

The Rover (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4   With the opening intertitle for The Rover (“Australia, ten years after the collapse”), one immediately expects the normal thematic baggage that comes with post-apocalyptic genre films – all adding up to the obligatory warning that this is where we could all be heading if we ... Read More »

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilerly is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4   Let’s talk about Bad Movie Endings (BMEs).  BMEs are as old as popular film itself.  Although I am a curmudgeon when it comes to BMEs, I must admit that one of my favorite films, Psycho (1960), suffers from what has come to be known as one of the most ... Read More »

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