The delirious excess and unstable allegories of Darren Aronofsky’s mother! make it both a work of auteurist genius and a second-year term paper by someone who just discovered Borges. Its uncompromising commitment to fever dream logic places it high on the list of Aronofsky’s most essential deep-dives into shallow pools, while also courting charges of both insulting obviousness and self-adoring incomprehensibility.More
In Kelly Reichardt’s masterful 2013 meditation on terrorism Night Moves, we’re slowly introduced to a trio of disaffected young people staging a dramatic intervention: the explosion of a dam. Memorably, and in true Reichardt fashion, that explosion, which by all standard narrative conventions should occupy the film’s central spot, registers in the narrative instead as a muted, distant noise.More
IT has broken every record in the book, except maybe something related to professional curling, or to sequels (which it — It — will remedy next year, where I have it on good information that the entire second half of Stephen King’s adapted magnum opus will involve the grown-up children of Derry, ME becoming curling champions battling Pennywise, The Metaphysical Curling Clown in its final moments, and maybe securing their victory with the help of also the Curling Turtle Who Curls).More
In the original text of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, first published privately in Italy in 1928, the word fuck appears 26 times.
He first comes on the scene as one of the upper-class Lord Chatterley’s friends entertains the company by explaining, while denouncing sexual prudery and praising free love (with restraint), that he doesn’t “over-eat [himself] or over-fuck [himself]”; he makes his curtain call in the final moments, when the titular lover tells his now-divorced, disgraced beau that they “fucked a flame into being.” (“Even the flowers are fucked into being,” he goes on, “between the sun and the earth,” at the very least displaying a poor knowledge of seed germination.)
In the 2015 BBC film adaptation of the novel, our featured star makes no appearances.More
Much has been made of the unconventional, even “game-changing” financing model that Steven Soderbergh employed to get his new Logan Lucky out to the world. And much more will be written about whether or not it “worked,” whether its success revolutionized the film industry — saving the mid-budget movie by wresting profits and control from the suits and placing them back in the hands of the creators — or if its failure spells doom for the model.More
“All this optimism, all this booming and soaring… Things happen like (snap) bang, this and that, simultaneous. I put out my hand, and what do I feel?” Jay Baruchel delivers these lines at the beginning of Cosmopolis, and it prepares the viewer for what will follow.More
Ah, the week of August 6th through 12th, the glory days of film-streaming in our new economy that is working out terrifically. What have you got for me, corporate overlords?
Netflix is very proud, I assume, to announce its quadruple punch of Black Site Delta, Diary of an Exorcist – Zero, Naked, and White Gold, which sounds like a terrible, kind of sticky evening at a Manhattan cinemateque circa 1977.More
Christopher Nolan is known, celebrated, and critiqued for two things: rigid attention to the clockwork nature of his spectacles, and a particular coldness to character. In Dunkirk, he splits the difference.
From Memento on, Nolan’s films seem much more enamored of mindfuck narrative structures than the people who populate them.More
In a rather hilarious reflection on Josef von Sternberg’s The Scarlet Empress, the sixth of his seven films starring Marlene Dietrich, historian Alex von Tunzelmann is unimpressed with the history on display.
The reign of Empress Elizabeth (1741-1762) didn’t include nearly so much torture as the first few frames of The Scarlet Empress would indicate, and the Iron Maiden wasn’t even invented for another 100 years!More
For tonight’s matinee, we showcase three films exploiting what might be called Architectural Horror, which is a term I just made up right now and immediately decided to copyright so please don’t use it or I will have to talk to the lawyers.More