Film
No Exceptions

No Exceptions

Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake is a searing indictment of the 21st UK, which has been subcontracting many traditional functions of the state to private corporations. But the film also asks probing questions about the direction in which every society in the developed world is headed. What will happen to our humanity as more and more decisions are made by computers or people who act like them? More»

Riding With Mr. Eddy

Riding With Mr. Eddy

Watching Lost Highway (1996) at the Soho Curzon, my friends and I began to connect the dots between David Lynch’s films and the rise of populist demagogues (we’ll get to this later). In more ways than one Soho was the perfect place to watch Lost Highway, those famous twin poles of Freudian thinking – sex and death – are a vital part of the Lynchian universe. More»

Love Through a Net

Love Through a Net

If there’s a single word that captures relationships today, romantic or otherwise, it’s mediation. It’s not surprising that many of our interactions occur through various media; they have been doing so for a long time. But the way people meet and are able to construct and control— to an extent, anyway — the way their identities are presented in the digital world are relatively novel developments. More»

Consider The Lobster

Consider The Lobster

Walking out of Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster the other night, I felt like I’d been holding my breath for two-plus hours. Rarely has my intellectual judgment of a film differed more sharply from my immediate emotional response to it. I never doubted that it was “good”, but I also wondered if it was good for me. More»

Carol and The Dressmaker

Carol and The Dressmaker

In light of the praise from colleagues and friends, it feels heretical to confess my ambivalence towards Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015). There is a lot that makes it special. A lesbian love story that ends well, released at Christmas (aka Academy Awards season) feels like cause for celebration—even if films focused on queer women should be a commonplace occurrence. More»

Watching Z in Pakistan

Watching Z in Pakistan

Z is “no more about Greece than The Battle of Algiers was about Algeria,” said Roger Ebert, in 1969.  Ebert spotted parallels with the United States and South Vietnam, and last night, in the industrial city of Faisalabad, I spotted more than a few with Pakistan.  Indeed, the legendary drama feels timeless in its portrayal of political crises, and elites willing to undermine democracy. More»

Consuming Amy Winehouse

Consuming Amy Winehouse

Asif Kapadia’s documentary Amy, about the singer Amy Winehouse, is suitably gutting. How could it not? Hers is a tragic story of a vibrant young woman with extraordinary talent whose life is cut short by drugs, alcohol, and an eating disorder. It is also, Kapadia takes care to show, the story of a girl surrounded by thousands, all who wanted a piece of her until, bit by bit, she disappeared. More»

You're Welcome

You’re Welcome

“You’re Welcome,” reads this most appropriate tagline to the sequel to Magic Mike. Once a snide reminder of forgotten thanks, this phrase has come to mean the inevitable grateful outpouring in response to something highly desirable or cool. The anticipated gratitude could be for a number of things. More»

In Defence of Patricia Arquette

In Defence of Patricia Arquette

When she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood, Patricia Arquette delighted many with her call for wage equality in her acceptance speech. It was a timely call, for its political appeal and because it likely struck a nerve for many in Dolby Theatre, seeing as the Sony hack had revealed that actresses, even top box office earners, receive less than actors. More»

Fifty Shades of Blue

Fifty Shades of Blue

When I take my dad to watch the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on Saturday mornings at the movie theater near my house, I know what to expect: slow-moving senior citizens who force the staff to bend over backwards satisfying their demands before the performance starts. That’s what made this past weekend so surprising. The same people were there, but many of them were going to see Fifty Shades of Grey instead. More»

Peering Through the Smog

Peering Through the Smog

In some circles, Inherent Vice was the most eagerly anticipated film of last year. Its director, Paul Thomas Anderson, has long been a favorite of cinephiles, both for the excellent performances he gets from actors and his delightfully retrograde insistence on shooting to film. But tackling the work of the legendary writer Thomas Pynchon added greatly to the hype. More»

Masculinity in Crisis

Masculinity in Crisis

It’s ironic that the films receiving the most critical praise and attention right now are about, in varying degrees, the crisis of masculinity and the difficulties of being an (important) man. This isn’t to say these films are not good. More»