Persistence of Time: A Review of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk begins an existential nightmare and ends as nihilistic commentary on time and fate. But really, what war film doesn’t? And what could Nolan’s Dunkirk stand to teach us that Patton didn’t? That Saving Private Ryan didn’t? Or The Longest Day? The Thin Red Line? Atonement? I’ve been a nut for World War … Continue reading Persistence of Time: A Review of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk

Requiem for Nightmares: “Black Mass” Review

Black Mass is not the typical glorified gangster film of mob bosses living lives of splendor and decadence while wielding exceptional power. Rather, it is a cold and distant examination of violence and manipulative cruelty. Based on the book of the same name, Black Mass transports us to the snow-strewn and crumbling streets of Boston’s … Continue reading Requiem for Nightmares: “Black Mass” Review

Isolating Tensions: Foreground & Background in “Children of Men”

The world in P.D. James’ novel The Children of Men differs vastly from the onscreen realm that we see in the 2006 film adaptation. The basic premise remains the same: widespread infertility has halted the birth of human babies for nearly twenty-five years and Oxford professor Theo Faron, along with the rest of humanity, calmly and apathetically … Continue reading Isolating Tensions: Foreground & Background in “Children of Men”

What We Talk About When We Talk About Theatre: “Birdman” Review

But how can we talk about Birdman? It, like Raymond Carver’s elusive love, cannot be talked about but only around. It can only be seen in contrast to what is not seen, its presence detected by way of what it moves, and creates, like wind in the trees or antibodies in the blood. In contrast to … Continue reading What We Talk About When We Talk About Theatre: “Birdman” Review

Answered Prayers: “Foxcatcher” Review

In the closing moments of Bennett Miller’s 2005 film Capote, director Bennett Miller tells us that “More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.” Foxcatcher tells a similar tale. It is cold in the same way that Miller’s Capote is cold, a pensive progression of events that will soon go awry in the pursuit of answering prayers. … Continue reading Answered Prayers: “Foxcatcher” Review

(Don’t!) Let the Beat Drop: “Whiplash” Review

Like the title suggests, Whiplash is a jarring and explosive event, striking with a force and power that stuns and reverberates for moments to come. Director Damien Chazelle doesn’t direct a film so much as he conducts an orchestra, leading with a barrage of percussion and brass then, deftly, employs gentle finely-tuned writing to create … Continue reading (Don’t!) Let the Beat Drop: “Whiplash” Review

Steady Hands. No Fast Pans. Don’t Use the Zoom. “Nightcrawler” Review

Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler wants to be noir in the same way that Lou Bloom wants to be a cinematic auteur, clinging with tight desperation to an idea that can never fully come to fruition. Instead it lurks in shadows and creates a quiet, pensive beauty grown from a horror that should deeply disturb us but … Continue reading Steady Hands. No Fast Pans. Don’t Use the Zoom. “Nightcrawler” Review

Paradise Bound: Interstellar and the Quest for Dimensional Transcendence

In the beginning, God created Adam. Then, because Adam was lonely, God made Eve. When Eve fell, she led Adam to fall with her and God expelled them both from the garden of Eden. In the 17th Century, English poet John Milton provided his own take on the story of Adam and Eve in his epic poem Paradise … Continue reading Paradise Bound: Interstellar and the Quest for Dimensional Transcendence

Gone Girl: Media Gaze and the Feminine Spectacle

[Spoilers Within] In David Fincher’s Gone Girl, the media is a character in and of itself. It acts with considerable agency, guiding our thoughts and perceptions, casting autonomous judgement with an unquestioned air of authority. From an early point, the film wisely encourages us to ask “Whose story is this?” and as the tale unwinds … Continue reading Gone Girl: Media Gaze and the Feminine Spectacle