Category: 2021 Film Essays

Drive My Car Movie Review - 2021 Ryûsuke Hamaguchi Film

‘Drive My Car’: Hamaguchi Takes the Wheel

“For all the viewers who give themselves over to Hamaguchi’s meticulous attention to detail and powerful expression of character, the entire movie flies.”

Guilty or Not Guilty: On Mrinal Sen’s ‘Kharij’

“‘Kharij’ is a scathing expose of societal problems that — truth be told — aren’t exclusive to Indian society.”

Memoria Movie Review - 2021 Apichatpong Weerasethakul Film

This Is the Sound: Apichatpong Weerasethakul Contemplates ‘Memoria’

“Reading ‘Memoria’ as metanarrative unlocks only one layer of joy — Weerasethakul treats Jessica’s quest with complete respect. The source of the sound is eventually revealed. And with that revelation, the filmmaker just GOES FOR IT.”

Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost Movie Essay - 2013 Anup Singh Film

A Yearning for Selfhood in Anup Singh’s ‘Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost’

“By grounding ‘Qissa’ in naturalism and avoiding melodramatic tropes, Singh creates a uniquely beguiling viewing experience.”

Licorice Pizza Movie Review - 2021 Paul Thomas Anderson Film

Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Licorice Pizza’ Has All the Best Toppings

“Both ‘Licorice Pizza’ and ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ nail the anything-is-possible look and feel of Southern California dreaming.”

Where Is Pinki? Movie Essay - 2021 Prithvi Konanur Film

Buried Secrets and Hidden Lies: On Prithvi Konanur’s ‘Where Is Pinki?’

“‘Where Is Pinki?’ speaks to the soul with its incessant probes into the human spirit and the degradations brought by unforeseen circumstances.”

70s Britain Cinema Essay - O Lucky Man! Movie

No Future for You: The Cinematic Image of 70s Britain

“The 70s were a tumultuous and often bleak decade for the British film industry, and this pessimism bled into its output.”

Michael Glawogger Essay - Workingman's Death Documentary

The World Is Working: Michael Glawogger’s Trilogy on Poverty and Labor

“The real horrors of Glawogger’s films are the moments when people, having been given an opportunity to open up, are crushed by their own words.”

The Addams Family Movie Essay - 1991 Barry Sonnenfeld Fillm

Embracing the New Normal: ‘The Addams Family’ Is Timeless at 30

“‘The Addams Family’ is a beacon of hope for weird kids everywhere, since Wednesday and Pugsley are never forced to change who they are to fit in, nor do they care what anyone thinks.”

Titane Review - 2021 Movie

Julia Ducournau’s ‘Titane’: Influence, (Sur)Realism and the Avant-Garde

“Ducournau’s approach to cinematic lineage and influence in ‘Titane’ is a complicated one, as she develops her singular filmmaking style into something even more evasive and intricate than in ‘Raw.'”

Martha Marcy May Marlene 2011 Movie - Film Essay

A Star Is Torn: ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ at 10

“‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ opines that it’s sometimes better to give up trying to fix somebody, rather than forcing them into a breakdown, particularly in instances when the source of their trauma isn’t completely clear.”

The Guard 2011 Movie - Film Essay

On ‘The Guard’ and the Built-In Charisma of Brendan Gleeson

“There is no analytical framework to guide audiences towards a hollow understanding of raw talent. Gleeson’s charisma is built-in, like all legendary performers, and this is most evident when his characters behave despicably.”

Gully Boy 2019 Movie - Film Essay

The Grit of an Underdog: On Zoya Akhtar’s ‘Gully Boy’

“‘Gully Boy’ has as much heart as it does energy, and skillfully manages to avoid being a formulaic tearjerker about a poor boy from the slums.”

Red State 2011 Movie - Film Essay

Fear God: Kevin Smith’s ‘Red State’ Hits Even Harder at 10

“‘Red State’ boasts a starry cast, but Smith’s story is ruthlessly contained, captured with a grainy texture, and presented like a true no-budget indie horror, with bursts of shocking violence punctuating the tense atmosphere.”

Promare 2019 Movie - Film Essay

‘Promare’ Perfects the Escapist Movie Experience

“‘Promare’ offers an electrifying amount of fun, and it’s perhaps one of the finest examples of escapist cinema during the COVID-19 era.”

Ignacio Agüero - I Never Climbed the Provincia 2019 Documentary

OVID Shines a Light on Chilean Documentarian Ignacio Agüero

Ignacio Agüero Essay: Vague Visages’ Q.V. Hough on OVID’s streaming celebration of the Chilean documentarian.

The Sorrow and the Pity 1969 Documentary - Film Essay

Memory and Style: The Threads of a Collective Experience in Marcel Ophuls’ ‘The Sorrow and the Pity’

“‘The Sorrow and the Pity’ is surgical and functional, yet unquestionably a reflection of the imagination of an artist.”

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back 2001 Movie - Film Essay

The Two Most Dangerous Men in America: ‘Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back’ at 20

“‘Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back’ is joyful and silly, colorful and wacky, with a surprisingly sweet core — broken down to its basest form, this is a film about friendship and, at a push, the importance of owning your IP.”

James Cameron Movies and Feminism - Aliens

WOMAN: At the Heart of James Cameron’s Filmmaking

“If you’re looking for feminism, don’t look at James Cameron — look at his films.”

No Place Like Home Movie Film

Cinema Rediscovered: ‘No Place Like Home’

“For a film completed in fits and starts over so many years, there’s a remarkable intellectual coherence to ‘No Place Like Home.'”