Tag Archives: movie reviews

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The Birds
Or: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Coronavirus (But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock & Heidegger), Part Seven

5,283 words

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

With the gulls now retreating, Mitch and Melanie leave the Tides restaurant and make their way up the hill to Annie’s house to retrieve Cathy. All is deathly quiet. As they approach the schoolhouse, they see that the crows are back and perched all over. “Look, the crows again!” Melanie says breathlessly. Read more …

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High & Low

1,719 words

Like most Westerners, I got to know Akira Kurosawa through his classic samurai films: Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Kagemusha, and Ran. Thus I was surprised to discover that fully half of his thirty films are actually set in contemporary Japan over the stretch of Kurosawa’s long lifetime (1910–1998). High and Low (1963) is one of the best of these films, along with Drunken Angel, Stray Dog, and Ikiru. Read more …

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The Straight Story

1,483 words

When I saw Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, I was convinced that David Lynch is an essentially conservative and religious filmmaker, with a populist and mystical bent. Arguing that thesis was an uphill battle as his work got increasingly dark in the nineties. Many people interpreted Lynch’s portrayals of quirky, salt-of-the-Earth white Americans as parody, his mysticism as arbitrary weirdness, and his depictions of evil and violence as inconsistent with having a conservative and religious moral center. Read more …

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Fight Club

3,005 words

Note: These are notes for a lecture on Fight Club given on October 25, 2000 in an adult education course called “Philosophy on Film.” For a fuller interpretation of Fight Club, see Jef Costello’s “Fight Club as Holy Writ.”

What’s philosophical about Fight Club? Fight Club belongs alongside Network and Pulp Fiction in an End of History film festival, Read more …

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The Birds
Or: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Coronavirus (But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock & Heidegger), Part Six

4,963 words

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

(Editor’s Note: Mr. Hawthorne apologizes for repeatedly announcing the conclusion of this series. He is making it up as he goes along.)

For the last two installments, I have been principally occupied with an exposition of the ideas of the later Heidegger, and with a Heideggerean interpretation of The Birds. There is much more to be said, Read more …

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The Birds
Or: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Coronavirus (But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock & Heidegger), Part Four

4,672 words

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

We ended our last installment in the midst of the pivotal scene in the Tides Restaurant. There, we met Mrs. Bundy, a droll parody of modern, Western, pig-headed scientism. With arch condescension, she refuses to believe Melanie’s stories about the bird attacks. “Impossible!” Mrs. Bundy declares. “Their brain pans aren’t large enough. . . Really, let’s be logical about this,” Read more …

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Twelve Monkeys

1,197 words

Twelve Monkeys (1995) is Terry Gilliam’s last great movie. It is a masterful work of dystopian science fiction, with a highly imaginative plot, a tight and literate script, fantastic steampunkish sets and props, and compelling performances from Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, and Madeleine Stowe. Gilliam is usually far too ironic and self-conscious to deliver emotionally satisfying work. But in Twelve Monkeys, we see stylistic elements and themes from earlier Gilliam films Read more …

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The Birds
Or: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Coronavirus (But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock & Heidegger), Part Three

5,153 words

Part 1, Part 2

The police are called, and Mitch is asked to meet the sheriff at the Fawcett farm. Some detectives from Santa Rosa are going to join them there. Presumably, Mitch is expected to repeat his mother’s account of finding the corpse of Dan Fawcett, its eyes pecked out by homicidal birds. Read more …

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Colonization for the 21st Century:
Swades

3,735 words

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.

— Matthew 6:24

There must be an immediate and permanent cessation of all immigration into our nation, from this point forward. We do not need immigrants from anywhere, for any occupation, especially given that many have no occupation. Read more …

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Network:
A Populist Classic

4,642 words

Written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, Network (1976) is a sardonic, dark-comic satire of America at the very moment that its trajectory of decline became apparent (to perceptive eyes, at least).

Network has an outstanding script and incandescent performances, which were duly recognized. Chayefsky won the Oscar for Best Screenplay. Peter Finch won the Oscar for Best Actor Read more …

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The Birds
Or: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Coronavirus (But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock & Heidegger), Part Two

5,115 words

The next day, Melanie attends Cathy’s birthday party, as promised. It is held outdoors at the Brenner home, behind the house. A dozen or more children are present, along with some parents. Annie is also on hand, to help out. Colorful balloons have been strung up, and there is a long table covered in cake and other treats. Mitch and Melanie (still wearing her green suit) have been drinking and decide to leave the party briefly while the children play. Read more …

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The Birds
Or: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Coronavirus (But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock & Heidegger), Part One

5,805 words

I watched Hitchcock’s The Birds the other night, for the first time in years. Alone in my apartment, isolated for weeks now due to Coronavirus, I had a sudden hankering to watch the film. Some little. . . um. . . bird was telling me this was what I needed to see, right now. See it I did, and I have carried away what it has to teach us about the current crisis and, strangely enough, how Heidegger is the key to understanding this enigmatic film, which has haunted me for years. Read more …

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North West Frontier
& the Oh-So-Modern Dilemmas of the Edwardians

2,287 words

I’d like to remind or inform my readers of a delightful, forgotten, and yet wholly wholesome and wise movie that was released in England in 1959. Its name: North West Frontier. The movie’s setting is the North West Frontier province in British India in 1905. The film’s McGuffin is a six-year-old heir to a local Hindu Maharaja. The boy is given over for protection to a British Officer named Captain Scott (Kenneth More) because Islamic insurgents are on the warpath and wish to kill the lad — from start to finish, this movie is something of a Western. Read more …

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Porco Rosso:
The Italian Batman

4,306 words

Porco Rosso is one of the more famous Studio Ghibli films, released in 1992. It is the midpoint of an unofficial Miyazaki trilogy examining flight as a method of personal and national liberation, beginning with 1989’s Kiki’s Delivery Service, and concluding with 2013’s The Wind Rises. Porco Rosso is the strongest of the three, being bright, bold, and easy to follow whilst touching on more serious themes than its premise might suggest. Read more …

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Beautiful, But Dumb:
Gattaca

2,053 words

Gattaca (1997) is a dystopian science fiction movie set sometime in the mid-21st century. Mankind is doing a lot of manned space exploration. Genetic engineering and zygote selection have eliminated major and minor genetic problems, from mental illness to baldness. As a smiling black man who works as a eugenics counselor explains to a pair of prospective parents, the children produced by these techniques “are still you, just the best of you.” Read more …

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The Infamous Crash

2,409 words

The gay romance Brokeback Mountain was predicted to win Best Picture at the 2006 Oscars. Instead, the independent ensemble Crash won; Brokeback was allegedly too gay for the Oscars.

Critics have never gotten over the result. Crash is regularly considered the worst Oscar winner ever and the chattering class has turned the film into a punchline. Read more …

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Interstellar

1,562 words

In 2010, Christopher Nolan released one of the greatest science fiction films of all time: Inception. Inception is stunningly artful and imaginative, as well as dramatically gripping and emotionally powerful. (See my review here.)

Then, four years later, Nolan released Interstellar, which is almost as good. It may seem silly not to want to “spoil” a film that has been out for six years, but if you haven’t seen it, I want you to see it. Read more …

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Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 267
Network

145 words / 60:58

To listen in a player, click here. To download the mp3, right-click here and choose “save link as” or “save target as.”

In the fall of 2000, I taught an adult education class entitled Philosophy on Film, Read more …

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Wise Blood

3,754 words

John Huston’s Wise Blood (1979) is one of his lesser-known films, but it deserves a wider audience. Based on Flannery O’Connor’s 1952 novel of the same name, Wise Blood is the most faithful screen adaptation I have ever seen, largely because the screenwriter truly loved and understood the source material. The script was written by Benedict Fitzgerald, who knew Flannery O’Connor from childhood. Read more …

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The Talented Mr. Ripley & Purple Noon

1,901 words

Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) has been one of my favorite films since I saw it on the big screen while living in darkest Atlanta. A few years later, post-red pill, I bought the DVD and was struck anew at the brilliance of the script, performances, and direction. But I was also struck by the sheer whiteness of this film, which is set in 1958 and 1959 in New York City and Italy (Rome, Venice, the Bay of Naples). There’s nothing new about the idea of “escapist” entertainment. Read more …

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The Three Faces of the Joker

2,872 words

One of my earliest memories of the theatre is a Christmas play about Santa Claus teaming up with Batman and Robin to protect Christmas from the Joker. I am near certain that none of the ticket proceeds went to DC, as it was staged in the early 90s in the former Yugoslavia. Even today, we have a cavalier attitude to intellectual property laws, Read more …

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Why Mainstream Critics Love Parasite

1,204 words

Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite swept the Oscars ceremony this year, winning the awards for Best Picture (the first foreign-language film to earn the award), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film. It has been hailed as the best film of 2019 and currently enjoys a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Like the similarly over-hyped Knives Out, Parasite is a technically competent but underwhelming film whose vapid social commentary has secured its popularity with liberal critics. Read more …

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Bond Songs, From Best to Worst

1,548 words

Is Billie Eilish’s new Bond song, “No Time to Die,” the worst Bond song ever? Close. But sadly, there is a lot of competition for that title. Here is my ranking, from best to worst.

Note: Not every Bond theme is a Bond song. Doctor No and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service have instrumental themes. Beyond that, many Bond movies contain non-theme songs that are, nevertheless, strongly associated with the films. I will discuss two of them here.  Read more …

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The Gentlemen

866 words

Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen is his best movie since his first two feature films, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000), largely because it is a gentrified return to their crime caper format.

Ritchie at his best is a kind of British Quentin Tarantino, with his underworld settings, non-linear storytelling, colorful and witty dialogue, and gleeful political incorrectness Read more …

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Knives Out

1,045 words

Knives Out, Rian Johnson’s much-hyped addition to the mystery genre, is a forgettable, self-indulgent film whose flashes of competence are incapable of redeeming its trite plot, pathetically unfunny script, and aggressive commitment to political correctness.

The film has all the trappings of a classic murder mystery in the style of Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers. A wealthy patriarch, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer, in remarkably good form at 90) is found dead in his mansion after celebrating his 85th birthday Read more …

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Vaxxed!

1,547 wordsCovers of Frontline's The Vaccine War and Andrew Wakefield's Vaxxed.

On a recent trip to California, I got to spend some time in Ojai, a small, rustic town, high in the mountains, north of LA. Ojai is known as an enclave of a certain type of California “cool.” Its inhabitants are the kind of people who dislike the stress of LA but don’t want to be too far away from it, Read more …

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New Guide to Kulchur!
Richard Jewell: Frustrated White Male

136 words

Fróði Midjord is joined by Greg Johnson for this new episode of Guide to Kulchur, discussing the recently-released Clint Eastwood film Richard Jewell. It’s about the media witch hunt of eponymous security guard Richard Jewell, Read more …

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Richard Jewell

1,467 words

2019 was the year of the “frustrated-white-loser-living-at-home-with-his-mom” movie. First there was Todd Phillips’ Joker, an origin story of Batman’s most memorable nemesis, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the clown himself. Then came Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell, the true story of a Georgia security guard who discovered the Centennial Olympic Park bomb in 1996.

Read more …

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Living the Dream in Arkham:
Richard Stanley’s The Color Out of Space

700 words 

The Color [sic] Out of Space[1]
Director: Richard Stanley
Writers: Scarlett Amaris, Richard Stanley, H. P. Lovecraft (short story)
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Madeleine Arthur, Q’orianka Kilcher, Joely Richardson, Tommy Chong; full cast and crew credits here.

A certain tendency to insanity has always attended the opening of the religious sense in men, as if they had been “blasted with excess of light.”—Emerson, “The Over-Soul” Read more …

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Who’s Ready for Black Elves in Middle Earth?

1,480 words

Tolkien world experienced two huge events this month.

Amazon announced last week the diverse cast for its new Lord of the Rings series. Shortly thereafter, Christopher Tolkien, J. R. R. Tolkien’s editor and the guardian of his father’s legacy, died. (Hopefully, there was no connection between the events.) Read more …

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