The Pale Blue Eye
Scott Cooper’s sense of place and his sense of dread go hand in hand. He was born in Abingdon, Virginia, a city with a population under 10,000, and the place’s melancholy struck him like lightning. Every one of his films is concerned with the impossibility of calling somewhere home, and he shows that even places meant to hold promise are forbidding and corrupt. From the dying factory town of Out of the Furnace to the blood-soaked frontier in Hostiles to the addiction-ravaged backwoods of Antlers, nothing can make Cooper’s America feel anything but haunted. And that's the case in his latest, The Pale Blue Eye. Continue Reading →
Babylon is a frenetic crash course in Hollywood history that plays fast and loose with most of its facts. However, it still paints a vivid portrait of Tinseltown from its birth to the behemoth it is today. You won’t find the meticulous and mind-boggling commitment to detail of Mank (most of Margot Robbie’s costuming looks more 2010s than 1920s). Still, director and screenwriter Damien Chazelle is less interested in getting everything right than translating that history into something an audience can feel in their bones. Continue Reading →
A little over 24 hours after seeing it, there are two sequences in Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans that I've run on repeat back and forth. One dramatic, the other comedic—both illustrate the strengths of Spielberg's semi-autobiography. Continue Reading →
Park Chan-wook fans can rest assured that the director who gave us the twisty, blood-soaked passions of Oldboy, Stoker, and The Handmaiden has returned with another romantic crime-fueled drama. His latest, Decision to Leave, is high-grade neo-noir, the newest installment in Park’s ongoing exploration of the genre. Continue Reading →
I Love My Dad
For writer/director/star James Morosini, I Love My Dad acts as therapy. The self-reflexive comedy-drama finds Morosini telling a story of a father catfishing his son to get back into his good graces, a true-ish story from his own life. Morosini is joined by Patton Oswalt, playing his pseudo-dad named Chuck, in one of the veteran comedian’s meatier roles of the last decade. Oswalt has the unenviable job of being distant yet hoping to remain close, of playing the roles of Franklin’s (Morosini) online girlfriend and absent father. He performs it with gentle, manic, absurd brilliance. Continue Reading →
Justin Kurzel’s Nitram rarely features violence. Instead, it’s often subdued in anger, existing in long stretches of loneliness and isolation. The tone follows its lead, played by a phenomenal Caleb Landry Jones. He wanders through a small Australian town without friends or steady way to spend his time outside of fireworks. He exists in a muted state of prolonged sadness, taking enough medication to dampen his emotions. He's unable to make any lasting relationships. Kurzel’s film, based on the 1996 mass shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania, simmers towards an inevitable conclusion, constructing and examining the events leading to a tragedy, frightening in its intimacy. Continue Reading →
A look at some of our favorite movie & TV characters who used body & brains to get what they want -- even if it killed someone.
Last year for Valentine’s Day we talked about our favorite horror-romance movies. Now we’re writing a love letter to some of pop culture’s greatest femme fatales, those one of a kind women who use their sharp wits and killer bodies to get what they want from dumb-with-lust (or just dumb) men. Sometimes they have a specific end game in mind, sometimes they just do it for fun. Whatever the case, they do it with style, purpose, and while fully in charge of their own sexuality, and those are all admirable qualities. It’s a shame that sometimes people end up dead because of it.
Alice Morgan, Luther
Because every Holmes needs a Moriarty, it felt right that Idris Elba’s detective John Luther would need a corresponding criminal mastermind. Played with a dangerously cool allure by Ruth Wilson, Alice is brilliant and beautiful as the stars she studies, and just as cold and empty. These two are perfectly matched in every way, attracting where they should repel. In one memorable scene, Alice describes a black hole to John in a way that Hannibal Lecter might describe the curve of someone’s thigh: “It consumes matter, sucks it in and crushes it beyond existence. When I first heard that I thought that’s evil at its most pure. Something that drags you in, crushes you, makes you...nothing.” His greatest enemy and closest confidant, Alice is the only person who truly understands John, and vice versa. The lines get so blurred between hunter and hunted they disappear altogether. The fact that John is still standing at the end proves the old adage that you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Continue Reading →