Category: Film

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Made The Best Commercial of All Time in 2010

Back in 2010, before his "Birdman" won Best Picture and Best Director, Alejandro González Iñárritu directed a long advertisement that I consider the single most extravagant and wonderful commercial ever made for Nike's "Write the Future" campaign. It was produced to air (in abbreviated form) during that year's World Cup and featured soccer stars in […] 

Dreams of the Master

The late Phillip Seymour Hoffman had to be complex person to summon so many great characters. What a lot of people don’t know is that the actor, miles from the stereotype of spoiled movie star, was also a wise purveyor of great advice—at least in my imagination. What still fewer know is that he continues […] 

American Lycanthropy: Animal Instincts and Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese’s latest, The Wolf of Wall Street, is a film about animal instincts worth discussing primarily in the vain of hardcore, even if Taxi Driver is the more obvious punk movie. Chaos has always been central to the legendary director’s work. I’m thinking Christ’s baptism in The Last Temptation, or the low-angle, hand-held shot […] 

Deep Down, We’re All Crazy: William Lustig’s “Maniac”

To refer to “Maniac” (1980) as a creation of director William Lustig seems only partially accurate. Sure, Lustig developed the idea of a serial killer named Frank Zito who prowls the streets of New York, scalping his unfortunate female victims, but it was veteran character actor Joe Spinell who elevated “Maniac” from just another gross-out […] 

The Nightmare Of Reality Lost: Upstream Color and Middle-Class Idealism Twisted

  What does it mean to make a movie that is a nightmare? David Lynch made one in 1977, Eraserhead, a film which on first viewing seems utterly without direction, narrative, or meaning but which draws you back again and again, seizing, with each successive viewing, on a different moment, a new feeling you can’t […] 

Fantasy Fulfillment Gone Awry

There can be no sight without sound, no beauty without brutality, no love without hate, no pleasure without pain. Such dichotomies comprise the framework of Michael Haneke’s, The Piano Teacher (2001), the story of Erika Kohut (Isabelle Huppert), a middle-aged pianist and instructor at an elite Viennese music conservatory who specializes in Schubert and Schumann. […] 

Preparing For Departure

In Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 2010 film, Biutiful, modern Barcelona is anything but the romantic city Americans envision or visit as tourists. The city decays as the dying Uxbal (Javier Bardem), a small-time hustler with the power to speak to the dead, tries to glean an existence for himself and his family. Iñárritu has chosen to […] 

Wall Street’s Moral Downfall

Terrance Malick’s 1978 masterpiece, Days Of Heaven was famously shot in the “magic hour” between dusk and darkness. The tiniest things seemed most highlighted in the bewitching twilight; each individual seed at the end of a shock of wheat, streaks of grime across the faces of anonymous field hands and the subtlest expressions and movement […] 

Thoughts On Django

Blood erupts from bludgeoned bodies like the murky water of a pond disturbed by tossed stones. It coats the virgin white flowers of a spring meadow when a man on horseback is shot. It is smeared, by a sleezy Leonardo DiCaprio across Kerry Washington’s beautiful and terrified face. One loses track of the body count […] 

The Night Matt Damon Saved Me From The End Of The World

If you’re ever on the run, Matt Damon is probably on the short list of individuals you’d want with you. Lately my dreams have been frequent and vivid, so I considered myself lucky when the other night Damon and I, along with two women were trying to escape the end of the world. The […]