Category Archives: TV & Movies

Out of Blue

Writer/director Joseph Mankiewicz famously said that the difference between movies and life is that movies have to make sense. The arc of a storyline with a beginning, middle and end, with actions and consequences, is itself a way of imposing order on chaos. Crime is a disruption of the order we attempt to impose through…

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Hotel Mumbai

How do we establish a proper ethics code around a narrative film that dramatically recreates an act of real-life terrorism? How much time do we need to allow between the tragedy’s actual occurrence and its Hollywood-ized on-screen reflection, with which people would eventually fill their entertainment-hungry eyeballs while munching on their popcorn? When should these…

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I don’t know if you can get on the same wavelength as “Relaxer”; you’re either with this grimy slacker comedy or you aren’t. I like “Relaxer” a lot, possibly because it is what high-school age me thought American indie cinema was like. Adenoidal drop-out protagonists, over-determined scatological humor, an oppressive dream-like mood—”Relaxer” takes me back to my adolescence…

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Dragged Across Concrete

The cops-and-robbers genre is typically one that feels more accelerated than others, complete with quick cuts, witty dialogue, and narrative time jumps. S. Craig Zahler’s “Dragged Across Concrete” asks does it have to be? Extremely purposefully decelerated, even more so than his very deliberate “Bone Tomahawk” and “Brawl in Cell Block 99,” this brutal, ultra-violent…

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Unlike most costume dramas, “Sunset“—a moving Hungarian character study set in Budapest during 1913—isn’t a movie you can easily get lost in. The movie’s disorienting and visually austere style takes some getting used to: dark, but warmly lit hand-held cameras draw viewers’ attention beyond the immediate foreground (almost always in focus) towards the camera frame’s…

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Happiness and Artifice: The Performances of Julianne Moore

Gloria Bell (Julianne Moore) comes to the dance club frequently. She loves the music—‘70s and ‘80s pop ballads and disco hits—and dancing, but after 12 years of being divorced, she’s constantly looking over her large-framed glasses, trying to be noticed. Tonight, she will be. She catches the eye of Arnold (John Turturro), who approaches her…

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