Goodfellas

Film Title

Goodfellas

Synopsis

The Godfather of all gangster movies

Director

Martin Scorsese

Cast

Ray Liotta
Joe Pesci
Robert De Niro
Lorraine Bracco
Paul Sorvino
Frank Vincent
Frank Sivero

I recently watched Goodfellas for the third…and final time, not because I intend to retire to eremitism, join a cult or end my life soon, but—to see how it held up. Seeing it first in 2004 while a twenty-year-old, English-as-a-second language twit enamored with mob flicks centered around New Yawk, big-city, third-world, streetwise culture; and, […]

Tenet (2020)

Film Title

Tenet

Synopsis

The word “tenet” must save the world

Director

Christopher Nolan

Cast

Robert Pattinson
John David Washington
Kenneth Branagh
Elizabeth Debicki

As has become customary of late, the sound mixing in Nolan’s much anticipated, much delayed film was a topic of contention, and though intentional, it seriously interfered with desired immersion. Decrypting whose desire it was optimized for—the audience’s or Nolan’s—just may yield the most succinct review possible. I could go one further and declare it […]

Raising Arizona

Film Title

Raising Arizona

Synopsis

An ex-con and an ex-cop decide to end their childlessness and kidnap a quintuplet that will never be missed. Hilarity ensues.

Director

Joel & Ethan Coen

Cast

Nicholas Cage
Holly Hunter
Trey Wilson
John Goodman
Francis McDormand
Randall 'Tex' Cobb
Sam McMurray

In just a third of their output, the tapestry of locales and personas from vast walks of life in the Coen brothers’ cinematic universe reads more like an illustrated road atlas of the US than disparate stories. After just six films—Blood Simple, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading, and […]

Velvet Buzzsaw

Film Title

Velvet Buzzsaw

Synopsis

A satire set in the contemporary art world scene of Los Angeles, where big money artists and mega-collectors pay a high price when art collides with commerce.

Director

Dan Gilroy

Cast

Jake Gyllenhaal
Rene Russo
Zawe Ashton
John Malkovich
Tom Sturridge
Natalia Dyer

When not engaged in auto-fellatio, one can imagine high brow, hoity-toity circles—art, fashion, and I shudder to think cinema is a third possibility—to instead partake in a close alternative; self-fucking. Sure, many a casting couch allegation attests to the coercive Weinstein Way, but I speak of complementary players being in bed with one another for […]

Coming to Trump’s America

Within three weeks of our arrival to the US, Robert Kraft was busted having a masseuse play tug with his shaft, R. Kelly was made to face the music for real this time, and New Zealand had its infamous mosque shooting.

The Neon Demon

Film Title

The Neon Demon

Synopsis

Jess is an aspiring actress who makes her move on Los Angeles

Director

Nicholas Winding Refn

Cast

Elle Fanning
Carl Glusman
Jena Malone
Bella Heathcote
Abbey Lee
Desmond Harrington

Coming from the position of not knowing his earlier output, this take might be limited but better to have tried and failed, right? Nicolas Winding Refn occupies a unique place among active filmmakers, but also a precarious one. Revered without being critic-proof, his films decidedly garner polarizing sentiment. As a whole his later filmography forms […]

The Witch (2015)

Film Title

The Witch

Synopsis

A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.

Director

Robert Eggers

Cast

Anya Taylor-Joy
Ralph Eneson
Kate Dickle
Harvey Scrimshaw
Julian Richings
Sarah Stephens

Sitting through The Witch, and long after it finished, I grappled with my reaction hoping to articulate it into a verdict, weeding out customary knee-jerk biases only for resignation to eventually set in. A second viewing was in order. Although it was one more borne out of pure enjoyment, rather than a needy reassurance, for […]

Under the Skin (2013)

Film Title

Under the Skin (2013)

Synopsis

Mysterious woman seduces lonely men.

Director

Johnathan Glazer

Cast

Scarlett Johannsson
Paul Brannigan
Lots of other dudes

While accurate, to dismiss Jonathan Glazer’s unorthodox alien sci-fi as enigmatic is a simplistic exercise in reductionism, but it is also the easiest to do. Though tangential, comparisons to 2001: A Space Odyssey were inevitable, they would prove only insofar as creative intent. What Kubrick sought to ask would ultimately eclipse what his epic attempted […]

Nightcrawler

Film Title

Nightcrawler

Synopsis

When planning your work is not enough

Director

Dan Gilroy

Cast

Jake Gyllenhaal
Michael Papajohn
Marco Rodriguez
Bill Paxton
James Huang
Rene Russo
Riz Ahmed

Despite being categorically different in tone, Nightcrawler is similar to Carancho in featuring cottage industries named in generic, often pejorative fashion. Except an honest assessment of Nightcrawler would do well without two things, to be fair: heaping plaudits on the performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, and; partaking in fanboy fuckery extended to a character that no […]

A Wolf At The Door

Flashes of brilliance, some poor choices.