Category: 2018 Film Essays

The Deer Hunter Movie Essay - 1978 Michael Cimino Film

This Is This: The Manifold Masculinity of Michael Cimino’s ‘The Deer Hunter’

“‘The Deer Hunter’ encapsulates a commanding representation of a precise period in American history, a precise location and precise types of men — somewhat clichéd, yes, but remarkably representative.”

Choose Your Own Bleak Adventure in ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’

“To use a gaming term, it’s got replay value, but it might leave those looking for a cohesive, more-traditional narrative choosing a different path.”

‘Vox Lux,’ 21st Century Trauma and Healing Through Pop Culture

“In ‘Vox Lux,’ pop music is an emblem of pop culture and the distractions we use to soften the growing trauma of the nation. It also plays into the main question that Corbet raises: just how long can we cling onto pop culture before society gets so bad that nothing will help?”

‘Collateral Beauty’: The Sinister Holiday Fable We Deserve

“This truly does feel like a religious fable farmed out via an automated word generator, one funded by corporate studio execs and programmed by Madison Avenue hacks and Instagram influencers.”

Zama Movie Review - 2017 Lucrecia Martel Film

‘Zama’: Lucrecia Martel Gets Delirious

“Liminality is the coin of Martel’s realm in ‘Zama,’ and she manages to make the excruciating uncertainty of the long pause an engrossing experience for the audience…”

Monsters and Hockey Masks: Primal Evil in Slasher Films

“In their own ways, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger all go beyond the real world, and beyond mortality.”

Exaggerated Confrontations of Human Behavior: How Yorgos Lanthimos Is a Master of Horror Realism

“Lanthimos is a master at challenging the notions of what a horror film can and should be, simply because he elicits the genre’s most key component, fear, out of his viewers.”

A Whiplash of Multidimensional Creativity and Inspiration: ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

“With all its supporting superheroes and hints of story threads, ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ is bankable for sequels and spin-offs. As long as there’s creative juice for this world, any follow-up would feel inspired.”

‘The Mule’ – Not Enough to Be Clint Eastwood’s Last Stand

“‘The Mule’ will not be remembered as one of the Eastwood classics. In all likelihood, it will be boxed in with two superior Eastwood films as part of a collector’s pack.”

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms: On Transcendental Style and Paul Schrader’s ‘First Reformed’

“The power of ‘First Reformed’ is rooted in Schrader’s ability to take a number of clear forbearers — Bresson, Dreyer, Pialat — and twist them into a style that feels wholly unique and rooted in a personal set of values and obsessions.”

Zack and Miri Make a Porno Movie Essay - 2008 Kevin Smith Film

Sweet, Satisfying and Sex-Positive: ‘Zack and Miri Make a Porno’ at 10

“‘Zack and Miri Make a Porno’ is a lot like a modern ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ for broke 30-somethings rather than wealthy, super-hot business types.”

‘Scrooged’ Is Still the Most Modern ‘Christmas Carol’

“‘Scrooged’ carries on Dickens’ themes and message in a way that speaks the most directly and urgently to its audience, teaching that “the miracle” of giving can happen to all of us, at any time. Provided, of course, we can turn off the TV for just long enough.”

Knife + Heart 2018 Movie

Love Me or Kill Me: Sex, Death and Desire in Yann Gonzalez’s ‘Knife + Heart’

“Sex and death may be inseparable, but, to the commune of queers and pornographers of ‘Knife + Heart,’ so are sex and life.”

Can You Ever Forgive Me Movie Review - 2018 Marielle Heller Film

Ballad of Lee Israel: Marielle Heller’s Excellent ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’

“‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ is simultaneously suspenseful and laidback.”

‘Hospitality’ Review: Emmanuelle Chriqui Needs More Thriller Roles

“Chriqui proves that she’s ready for the next phase in her career, whether it’s in westerns or thrillers. Take heed, Quentin Tarantino.”

The Harmony of ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ and ‘Loving Vincent’

“Both films are not only shaped by artists that understand van Gogh as an artist, they’re shaped by people that understand distinctly how van Gogh’s art made him human.”

In Praise of ‘Krampus’: Celebrating the Pinnacle Anti-Christmas Film

“‘Krampus’ is the pinnacle anti-Christmas movie in the way it thrives on the sheer awfulness of the holiday. It is ugly, it is unpleasant, and it is still utterly festive in the fact that it embraces the nature of the season as it has always been.”

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood Movie Review - 2017 Matt Tyrnauer Documentary Film

‘Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood’: A Legendary Hustler Shares His Stories

“‘Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood’ presents Bowers as a credible authority, but the breadth and depth of the anecdotes leaves it all up to the viewer to accept or reject.”

The Inescapable Magic of Bi Gan’s ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’

“In a way, the premise is just the antechamber that one has to see before entering the main room.”

Leave Them Kids Alone: The Subversive Commentary of ‘The Faculty’

“‘The Faculty’ adds a wrinkle to its parasitic creature that sets it apart from most alien assimilation stories, one that is closely tied with the film’s setting and teenage viewpoint.”