As we go about our modest lives, in this bizarre economy, just trying to get by, it’s easy to feel like the idea of “getting ahead” is unattainable. The fact that we bust our butts with multiple jobs, pay off every useless student loan, and still have just the bare minimum to get by, makes it feel like a comfortable sustainable lifestyle will never sustain itself. And in this uncertainty, it’s hard not to feel a mild, if nonetheless constant, amount of despair. Continue reading
I’ve already come to the conclusion that Masseduction, St. Vincent’s latest, is a very good album. But that kind of goes without saying, since St. Vincent at this point has entered the small pantheon of modern artists who can be depended on to do something interesting with each new album, but while also being undeniably themselves. But is this the best St. Vincent album yet? That I’m not sure of, though it’s probably the most accessible St. Vincent album yet. Which I’m not trying to use as a backhanded compliment, since it still manages to be accessible in surprising and unconventional ways. Continue reading
So we’ve finally caught up with ourselves, not just with a film that came out this year (in the U.S.), but also one that was released by Criterion about a week ago. Personal Shopper was one of those Shocktober films that I wasn’t really expecting to be much of a horror movie, since it comes from a contemporary artsy French director, Olivier Assayas, who I’d heard of, but never knew to be much of a genre director. Surprisingly, Personal Shopper does have its share of thrills and shrills, but while also retaining the air of a contemplative character study. Continue reading
Yes, that’s right. Another Cronenberg movie. Though I suppose Dead Ringers is a natural conclusion to the string of films directed by David Cronenberg that we’ve reviewed. Because even though I already professed to being far from an expert on the director’s work, from what I can tell, this is about the point where Cronenberg started to stray from the horror genre entirely. And at this point, it’s probably safe to say that he doesn’t seem intent on returning to the genre he made his name on any time soon. Continue reading
A lot of the times, both in the movies and in life, you find that the scariest things out there aren’t bogeymen or Frankensteins or guys dressed in masks, but just normal dudes. The Vanishing explores this idea – the idea of an ordinary guy with a heart of darkness lurking underneath, and how that darkness can manifest in disturbingly inhumane ways. It also explores how one reacts to a moment in time that seems fleeting at the time, but will come to haunt you for years to come. But most of all, its defined by its peculiar structure, and the way it’s used to wring tension out of a very real kind of horror. Continue reading
One of the more potent topics in all of movies, and one in which I’m guessing the argument is pretty slanted in one direction is “is it ok to kill a dog in a movie?” The obvious answer is almost always “no”, because why on Earth would someone want to watch a dog die onscreen? They’re one of the most unabashedly affectionate creatures on Earth, even if some of them seem to misplace their ragged-eared enthusiasm in the form of ripped up newspapers and traumatized mailmen half the time. White Dog, however, aims to point the argument in the other direction, even as hard a task as that may be. Because, yes, dogs are great. But they also tend to reflect their masters, so what do you do when a dog becomes the walking embodiment of man’s worst instincts?
David Cronenberg is a director whom I’m not sure if I’ve decided whether I like or not. For one, that’s because other than today’s entry, the only film’s of his I’ve seen are Videodrome and The Fly, both of which were a while ago. But also, I think this is kind of the way Mr. Cronenberg would like to keep his audiences. He seems to always be keeping you at a distance, due to the often grotesque nature of his films, but also the way they can veer from somber human drama to gory freak-out, often within the same scene. Continue reading