REVIEW: Fear and Desire [1953]

fearanddesire01

“Rafts always float” I love that legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick began his career with a dud so misguided he was rumored to have tried to destroy every print in existence. In his words it was a “bumbling amateur film exercise” and he’s not wrong. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering he was a […]

REVIEW: Alles wird gut [Everything Will Be Okay] [2015]

everythingwillbeokay

“We’ve come too far to turn back” It’s interesting how the phrase “everything will be okay” carries such a stigma of pandering deflection now. The words are for all intents and purposes meaningless in their true context, transformed instead to connote a sense of insecurity through hopeful platitudes without any sense of whether or not […]

REVIEW: Mojave [2016]

mojave01

“I’m into motive-less malignity” I’m not sure what I thought William Monahan‘s Mojave would be, but it definitely wasn’t what followed the tense first fifteen or so minutes spent in the titular desert. We’re thrown into the world he creates to meet a man named Thomas (Garrett Hedlund) speaking philosophically about life and identity via […]

REVIEW: The Clone Theory [2015]

clonetheory01

“Maybe it’s something so crazy you wouldn’t ever mention it in public” There’s a fatal flaw to A.P. Stevens‘ extremely short film The Clone Theory and it’s that clones are not artificial intelligence-controlled robots. At least they aren’t in my understanding of the term. To allow his character “The Human” to admit a crazy theory […]

REVIEW: What Jack Built [2015]

whatjackbuilt

It’s difficult not to think about Tom Waits‘ song “What’s He Building?” from Mule Variations while watching Matthew Mahler‘s (co-written with Ross Mahler) What Jack Built. This is both a compliment to the tone set by Timothy J. Cox‘s performance as Jack and the tension created by the filmmaker slowly revealing hidden details as the […]

REVIEW: The Hateful Eight [2015]

hatefuleight01

“Well I’ll be double-dog damned” It appears Quentin Tarantino has decided to go back to his roots by making his eighth feature film The Hateful Eight in the same vein as his debut Reservoir Dogs—namely keeping sets and actors to the bare minimum for added tension without room for escape. The maneuver couldn’t have come […]

REVIEW: Point Break [1991]

pointbreak01

“Sir, I take the skin off chicken” ***SPOILERS*** I’m thankful I always saw Point Break as stupid fun watching it years ago because there’s no way I could ever take it seriously today. But rather than have the decade-spanning The Fast and the Furious rip-off saga and hilarious spoofing in Hot Fuzz among others ruin […]

REVIEW: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials [2015]

mazerunner201

“Where did you come from? Where are you going? How can I profit?” Full disclosure: I haven’t yet read James Dasher‘s Maze Runner series so I’m not sure if his second installment is as hollow as the film version, but I hope it isn’t. Many people have told me that T.S. Nowlin‘s script virtually rewrites […]

REVIEW: Touch of Evil [1958]

touchofevil01

“Your future’s all used up” Back in Hollywood a decade after his The Lady from Shanghai debacle, Orson Welles‘ Touch of Evil almost met the same fate. He presented his rough cut on time yet Universal brought in Harry Keller to reshoot scenes—replacements and brand new—and truncated it to 93-minutes nonetheless. While the studio destroyed […]

REVIEW: The Lady from Shanghai [1948]

ladyfromshanghai01

“Killing you is killing myself. But, you know, I’m pretty tired of both of us.” Director Why would Orson Welles work on a studio film again after the debacle of The Lady from Shanghai? The auteur submitted his first film noir on budget only to watch producers chop sixty minutes out and demanded reshoots to […]

REVIEW: Theeb [2015]

theeb01

“No bullets until you aim straight” The constant throughout Naji Abu Nowar‘s debut feature is the underestimation of its titular Theeb (Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat). This isn’t unwarranted considering his age and the Bedouin lifestyle he inhabits, but it’s still a dangerous proposition with a name that translates to “Wolf” and the blood of the highly […]