Category Archives: Reviews

Life Is Like a Dream: Jarmusch’s Paterson Unfurled

Through its dreamlike aesthetic, lethargic rhythm, and patterned mise-en-scene, Jim Jarmusch’s densely philosophical tone poem manages to convey a certain unutterable phenomenology, one which is surrealistically experienced in life’s poetic coincidences and confusions. It is mindfully realized through an acute … Continue reading

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Deconstructing Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller

Because of its many moving parts and modes of storytelling, this is not an easy film to digest nor review. It is haunting and atmospheric, leaving a resonant melancholy long after viewing. And yet somehow the film does so by … Continue reading

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La La Land and Film Criticism’s Malleable Perspective on Homage and Originality

Since its premiere at Venice, Chazelle’s third feature, La La Land—a euphemism for a fantasy world, also seen as LA—has met critical acclaim, mainstream approval, Oscar buzz, a critical backlack, a re-examination, and Oscar pundit denial and defense. It now stands … Continue reading

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Arrival: On Intuition, Language, and A Great Film’s Greatest Failure (Villeneuve, 2016)

In spite of dropping the inimitable Roger Deakins (Prisoners–a masterpiece–, Sicario), Canada’s leading Studio director, Denis Villeneuve, has crafted a film of bracing visual detail and innovation, using primarily push ins, pull outs, and overexposure in producing haunting images of the … Continue reading

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Moonlight (Jenkins, 2016)

On second viewing, I confirmed that Moonlight is truly a contemporary masterpiece, and currently the best film I’ve seen in 2016. My truncated review of past explained my primary observation: that the camera searches for and amplifies the quiet peace found in … Continue reading

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A Revisioning of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Dekalog – All Episodes Reviewed and Ranked

What I take most from this complete revision of the Dekalog is that Kieslowski never truly left documentary cinema. While the films in this series are, of course, fictitious, penned by Kieslowski in collaboration with Krzysztof Piecewicz, these stories are a way of examining the truth of … Continue reading

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Distant Voices, Still Lives (Davies, 1988)

This is a different sort of review. I never meant to write a formal piece, but I ended up watching the film an unprecedented three times in three days, and I want to share the experience by posting various informal … Continue reading

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Once Upon a Time in the West (Leone, 1968)

Leone’s meticulous cinematography, iconic photography, and brilliant sound design distinguish Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) not only as a masterpiece but as one of the most important western-genre gems of the 20th century. While some, including myself, … Continue reading

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Pompeii (Anderson, 2014)

Paul W.S. Anderson’s Pompeii (2014) blew me away. Judging the trailer and posters, one does not expect a masterful film, nor even a reasonably good film. 3D, CGI, and romantic melodrama rarely appeal to higher artistic sensibilities, and I for … Continue reading

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On The Waterfront (Kazan, 1954)

On The Waterfront is a strong character film, with much film-historical relevance and classicism, which explains its current reputation and social reverence. In an almost reverse nature, I was noting not references in the film, but original scenes of which … Continue reading

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