If you have finished watching the film War of the Worlds (2005) and are looking for other movies like it, here is a list of options to consider.
Both the main characters in Michel Franco’s Memory are struggling to deal with the echoes of their past. Sylvia (Jessica Chastain), a recovering alcoholic and single mother to 13-year-old Anna (Brooke Timber), desperately wants to forget the unspoken traumas of her childhood. Saul (Peter Saarsgard), on the other hand, can’t grab a hold of his past. He’s powerless as early-onset dementia slowly but inevitably steals it from him. After their high school reunion, he wordlessly follows her home and spends the night standing outside her building. In turn, she visits him at the house he shares with his brother (Josh Charles) and niece (Elsie Fisher). Then she takes him for a walk and accuses him of participating in a rape that she endured at the age of 12, a crime that he has no memory of committing. Continue Reading →
Even before the internet, certain movies had reputations they didn’t quite live up to. Some, like Salo or 120 Days of Sodom, earn their mythical status as movies designed to make your skin crawl and your stomach clench. Others, like the Faces of Death series, while unpleasant to watch, were just empty, acting as a controversy delivery devices and nothing more. Others still, like William Friedkin’s Rampage, never courted outrage. But unlike those others, whatever reputation it earned before the public got a chance to see it didn’t much help. As a result, at least partially, it remains one of the more obscure releases in Friedkin’s filmography. Continue Reading →
Landscape with Invisible Hand
Cory Finley is obsessed with money. His characters have nice things or want them. They live in beautiful houses or enviously plot to get them. Even in the year 2036, with aliens living on (or, more precisely, about two miles above) planet Earth, people still fret over money and try to make scads of it. That’s the state of things in his latest, Landscape with Invisible Hand. It’s a title with the same bespoke aestheticism as the stuffed ocelots and oversized chess pieces his characters own. It feels seemingly designed to scare off less curious viewers. While the film has an awful lot of plot, the undergirding is the same. As in his 2017 debut Thoroughbreds, his follow-up Bad Education, and even his episodes of the abysmal miniseries WeCrashed, the drama comes from the idea of what money does to the soul. Continue Reading →
In a media landscape with fewer and fewer options actually targeted toward adults (often tied to the death of the mid-budget movie), audiences take the scraps they're given and make the best of them. This is the space that Jules occupies, a sci-fi fairy tale about the specific loneliness of senior citizens who feel isolated, ignored, and afraid. It’s also a thin, often ham-fisted take on a tale that could have had real legs in more capable hands. Continue Reading →
The Purge: Election Year
When The Purge film series began, it attempted to create a heightened, ultraviolent version of the future that was both laughably over-the-top and an accurate reflection of the current political climes. They created a dystopia that was vaguely familiar but could still leave you rolling your eyes at its implausibility. For those unfamiliar with the franchise, the concept is as follows: On one night each year, the US government legalizes all crime, including murder, in the hopes of providing an outlet for Americans’ rage. It ultimately leads to an overall decrease in crime and an (ostensibly) utopian society. Continue Reading →
A look back at the use of chimpanzees as clowns & sidekicks for humans, & how it relates to a strange & haunting subplot of Jordan Peele's hit sci-fi horror.
Note: this article contains spoilers for Nope. Please read Jon Negroni’s spoiler-free review here.
If you haven’t seen Nope yet, you might be a little puzzled by references to a character named Gordy, especially once you learn that Gordy is a chimpanzee. It’s understandable: there’s not so much of a glimpse of a chimpanzee in any of the promotional material for Nope, and nothing that happens in its trailers seems to suggest that a chimpanzee will play any part in it. Continue Reading →
Around the halfway point of Roland Emmerich’s new sci-fi disaster flick Moonfall, our protagonists find themselves in a hell of a predicament. It seems like the world is about to end, the most important people have given up on doing anything about it, and the only ones that have a chance of saving the day are the underestimated, the uninspiring, and the over-the-hill. Despite this, they manage to dust off an abandoned space shuttle, squeeze themselves into some old astronaut suits, and blast away to prevent disaster, and maybe, just maybe, become heroes in the process. Continue Reading →
KinoKultur is a thematic exploration of the queer, camp, weird, and radical releases Kino Lorber has to offer.
I’ll admit it. I believe in sea monsters. We know more about space than we do about the Earth’s watery, cavernous depths. I don't know what's out there! But what I do know is that the monsters in my mind, like all-natural monsters throughout history, embody all that is awesome and terrifying about Nature.
Deep Rising (1998) and The Strangeness (1985), two films recently released on home video by Kino Lorber, render such monsters on screen. They play on our deepest fears about the unknown natural world as well as our precarious place within it. Though opposites in terms of budget and financing, both of these pictures touch on similar themes and deliver similar results. Tangled together, these two tentacular tales teach us both about movie making and the deep anxieties lurking beneath the surface of our culture. Continue Reading →
One of the best pieces of recent film writing (other than what can be found at The Spool, of course) is R.S. Benedict’s “Everybody is Beautiful and No One is Horny,” about how superhero movies feature actors ripped and sculpted to within an inch of their lives, and never doing anything else with those amazing bodies except punching villains. There’s been a curious desexualizing of film in general over the past few years, with most of the graphic stuff reserved for whatever sad white people miniseries HBO Max happens to be playing at the moment. Even the chemistry between actors is muted, platonic, as if filmmakers are going out of their way not to offend anyone. Continue Reading →