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Monday , July 24 2017

Category Archives: Film Essays

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My Favorite Film of 2016: La La Land

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Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  5    In perusing the year-end lists and reviews, I noticed a trend whereby professional and non-professional cinephiles alike seem to register a measured – if not, suspicious – appreciation for writer/director Damien Chazelle’s awards-bound musical, La La Land.  Chazelle certainly offers up plenty of familiar ... Read More »

My Favorite Film of 2015: Ex Machina

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Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?): 9    I resisted designating Ex Machina as my favorite film of the year, seeing as how I had picked its kinder gentler sister (Her) for the top spot only two years ago, but resistance is futile … “When God created the first man alone, God said ‘It is not ... Read More »

Counterpoint: Mommy (2015)

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Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3    In Mommy, a widow named “Die” (Anne Dorval) retrieves her 16 year-old son, Steve (Anton-Olivier Pilon), who has just been ejected from a juvenile center, and informally enlists the help of her neighbor, Kyla (Suzanne Clement), to cope with his volatile behavior.  As the ... Read More »

A Non-Believer’s Musings on Stations of the Cross (2015)

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Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3    To be sure, at this moment in history, the obvious choice for examining religious fundamentalism would be Islam (see, e.g., Timbuktu (2015)) – that is, notwithstanding the efforts of regressive liberals in the West to insulate that particular faith from critique, the undeniable fact ... Read More »

A Non-Feminist’s Musings on The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)

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Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?): 3 Truth be told, we non-feminists find most self-proclaimed feminist cinephiles to be alienating –  perhaps deliberately so, considering the tendency to use terms like “institutional” in such a manner and to such a degree that one would get the impression that we live in a world where ... Read More »

A Nightmare on 8 Mile Road: It Follows (2015)

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Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  8   * * * “[N]ightmares exist outside of logic, and there’s little fun to be had in explanations; they’re antithetical to the poetry of fear.” – Stephen King, “Why Hollywood can’t do horror,” ew.com (7/7/2008) * * * Writer/director David Robert Mitchell’s sophomore feature announces its ... Read More »

Revisiting Gimme Shelter (1970) and the End of an Era

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Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  8 “Time: the final month of the decade that spawned that unprecedented and probably insupportable contradiction in terms, mass bohemia, popularly known as the counterculture.  Occasion: On America’s ultimate frontier some three hundred thousand bohemians come together with their chosen images, five formerly lower- to middle-class ... Read More »

Revisiting The Thin Blue Line (1988) and Its Missing Pieces

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Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  7 I loved university life – an intellectually welcome space where one could study the bounds of knowledge and experience.  Eventually, however, I was expected to go forth into the “real world” and be productive.  I went right to work in a cubicle as a “professional,” ... Read More »

American Sniper (2014): Pandering to a Chickenhawk Nation

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Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  7    On April 7, 1775, English writer Samuel Johnson reportedly uttered the words, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”  Put in the proper historical context, Johnson probably meant the other guy’s brand of patriotism.  And of course, Johnson was posthumously diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome – a ... Read More »

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