Tag Archives: movie reviews

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Making Equestria Great Again
My Little Pony: The Movie

2,345 words

My Little Pony: The Movie has surely been a test and a crisis for the franchise and its creators. Has it succumbed to the enormous pressure to cuck out, and dilute its themes and formula with “poz”? Or have the show and the Mane Six retained their integrity through the quantum leap to the big screen?

Thankfully, there is little here to complain about. Unlike previous spin-offs of the Equestria Girls movies set in the relative narrative isolation of an American high school, My Little Pony: The Movie is set in Equestria with a capital E, Read more …

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Only the Brave

1,246 words

Joseph Kosinski’s primeval masterpiece Only the Brave made me think of a lot of things. It’s based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of Arizona firefighters dedicated to battling the raging wildfires which quite often threaten civilization in the American West. So the intricacies and nuances of firefighting occupied my mind for a while. But what stuck with me the most in the days after watching the film was being reminded of a great passage in Gates of Fire, Steven Pressfield’s magnificent novel of Thermopylae. Read more …

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Blade Runner 2049:
The Miracle of Love

1,160 words

The iron cage of abstract materiality threatens to suffocate Western man. In a time when his systems of government threaten to devour him; when his pride is condemned as hate; his women are cold, mocking, and infertile; and the virility of idealism is desecrated everywhere, a miracle has happened: out of the pit of Hollywood itself a film has erupted bearing witness to the mysterious and inexhaustible fertility of love.

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I Wake Up Screaming:
My Top Ten Halloween Horror Flick Picks

2,284 words

It’s not clear why human beings enjoy being frightened. Indeed, in most circumstances we don’t. I find nothing particularly “thrilling,” for example, about the frightening threat posed by mass non-white migration into the lands of my ancestors. Nor do I enjoy how I feel when I’m the only white person on the J train at midnight. But I thoroughly enjoy the imaginary threats posed by ghosts, witches, and vampires. There’s a lot to be said here about the human fascination with the uncanny, and what it reveals about us. Read more …

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Brawl in Cell Block 99

6,764 words

Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017), a new film by writer/director S. Craig Zahler and which stars Vince Vaughn in the lead, enters the canon of recent films and TV shows dealing symbolically with the plight of white men in contemporary America. This theme is explored through the protagonist’s surface-level patriotism, antagonisms between Mexicans and Anglos, and through the allegory of a beaten-down Christianity, as embodied in the character of Bradley Thomas (Vince Vaughn).  Read more …

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Rashomon & Realism

3,476 words

Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon (1950) is commonly found on lists of the world’s greatest movies, and deservedly so. Rashomon features avant-garde narrative techniques (flashbacks, multiple points of view), dynamic black-and-white cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa, compelling Ravel-like music by Fumio Hayasaka, subtle and intensely dramatic performances, and a complex but tightly edited script, all combined into a fast-paced 88-minute masterpiece with an emotionally devastating climax. Read more …

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Blade Runner 2049: Faust Part II

1,428 words

American popular culture is vile, degenerate, and a substance so toxic that it should only be kept within the Level 5 containment vault of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta next to the Petri dish that contains the only remaining sample of smallpox. The typical Hollywood movie is an offense to morality, the senses, and the intellect. Only a handful of post-1960 movies can be said to achieve the status of art. Curiously, one of these is the original Blade Runner of 1982.

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Blade Runner 2049

987 words

It is dangerous work, making a sequel to a classic like Blade Runner, Ridley Scott’s 1982 magnum opus. French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 is a very good film, but it inevitably falls short of the original.

I first discovered Villeneuve’s work with his 2016 science fiction film Arrival (discussed with John Morgan here). Arrival impressed me as a highly imaginative science fiction film with an original visual style, told with an appealingly deliberate art-film pacing, with a stunning plot twist and a powerful emotional payoff. Read more …

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Blade Runner

blade_runner_xlg2,593 words

Czech translation here

Ridley Scott’s 1982 movie Blade Runner is a science fiction classic and surely the director’s finest work. Blade Runner excels on all levels. It is a highly imaginative vision of the future realized with a stunning visual style. The script is intelligent, even poetic. The cast is uniformly strong, with a number of powerful performances, particularly Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty. The gripping action sequences are acrobatic, balletic, and brutal. But the key to the film’s unsettling emotional power is its deep mythic subtext. Read more …

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M. Night Shyamalan’s Flawed Masterpiece The Village

1,160 words

The Village
Written & Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Music by James Newton Howard
Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt, Brendon Gleeson, Cherry Jones, Sigourney Weaver, et al.
2004

Audiences and critics left theaters showing M. Night Shyamalan’s film The Village (2004) disappointed, polarized, or uncertain of this flawed masterpiece. Read more …

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