REVIEW: The Ninth Configuration [1980]

“You have to say, ‘Simon Says.’ Then we’ll do it.” The history behind William Peter Blatty‘s The Ninth Configuration adds a ton of insight into its ambitious yet lacking film adaptation. His original intent, for instance, was to create a comic novel. Blatty has even been quoted as saying he prefers the first version he […]

REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 2 [2017]

“Are you here for the Pope?” The team behind John Wick achieved success with a formula that distilled the prototypical action film down to its main points of entertainment while leaving the fat on the cutting room floor. This is why we moved back and forth through time for some scenes (the result playing out […]

REVIEW: Split [2017]

“In the sun we find our purpose” It doesn’t get better than The Village where M. Night Shyamalan is concerned. That film was a perfect confluence of his screenwriting and directing capabilities, a tale of love and protection through drastic measures as metaphor for the struggles of parenthood steeped in heavy emotion and guilt without […]

REVIEW: Die Hard [1988]

“Make fists with your toes” It’s become such an action classic with numerous sequels, copycats, and homages and yet Die Hard as we know it almost never was—by choice. Novelist Roderick Thorp wrote Nothing Lasts Forever, his follow-up to The Detective, thirteen years after the original because he saw The Towering Inferno and dreamt up […]

REVIEW: فروشنده [Forushande] [The Salesman] [2016]

“For once it looks like we’re in luck” There’s this notion that tragedy won’t happen to us. It’s for people who don’t live their lives correctly—some karmic retribution paying for mistakes made along the way. We like to believe we’re different whether such a belief is deserved or not. So when something does occur, only […]

REVIEW: Elle [2016]

“It was necessary” Director Paul Verhoeven has made a career of pushing the envelope whether through violence, sex, politics, or all three wrapped together. It’s hardly surprising then that his buzzword of choice on the promotional trail for his latest Elle has been “controversial.” The word choice is appropriate considering David Birke‘s script (adapted from […]

REVIEW: Eyes Wide Shut [1999]

“Fidelio” Would you gamble everything for lust? Is thinking about infidelity as egregious an offence as the act itself? After all, faithfulness isn’t merely a construct of the physical world—our trust and respect goes beyond the exterior into the very fibers of our being to make the words “I’d never cheat on you” flow effortlessly […]

REVIEW: The Thing [1982]

“That’s going to win someone the Nobel Prize” It may not be the first adaptation of John W. Campbell Jr.‘s novella Who Goes There?, but John Carpenter‘s The Thing is definitely hailed as the most definitive. Unlike The Thing from Another World‘s humanoid adversary, Bill Lancaster (who took over screenwriting duties from an uncredited Tobe […]

REVIEW: Always Shine [2016]

“Don’t worry sweetheart. We’ll make sure you look beautiful.” Here’s a tale of two women, one-time best friends currently turned strangers. Or is it a tale of two halves: a brash, no-nonsense attitude towards identity at risk of coming off obnoxious against a meekly, non-confrontational façade meant to keep relationships devoid of conflict? If it’s […]

REVIEW: Nocturnal Animals [2016]

“Sometimes it’s not good to change things so much” One movie stood out in 2009: fashion designer Tom Ford‘s unlikely directorial debut A Single Man. It had style to spare and amazing performances (Colin Firth‘s Oscar loss was vindicated a year later), but its emotionality was its greatest strength. Ford created this tragic whirlwind and […]

REVIEW: Allied [2016]

“Look for the hummingbird” Sometimes that story you’ve had bouncing around your head needs time to gestate and your career the opportunity to blossom before it can be released upon the world. For Steven Knight it was a bit of both. Already nominated for an Oscar back in 2004 for the brilliant Dirty Pretty Things, […]