Category Archives: Drama

Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more

Her Smell (2019) Movie Review

The first time we see the punk rockers of Something She perform in Alex Ross Perry’s latest, Her Smell, the lead singer and face of the group, Becky “Something” (Elisabeth Moss) sings: “I always flirt with death / I always flirt with death / I look ill, but I don’t care about it.”

The crowd erupts in applause. This is what they came to see, but they don’t really understand what they’re hearing. The lyrics to the song are truer than they may appear. After the show, Becky is a blur. Her child is brought backstage, but it is her bandmate Ali (Gayle Rankin) who takes her. Before Becky can confront her child, her ex-husband, and her manager she engages with her spiritual guru Ya-ema (Eka Darville), who is seemingly her first line of reasoning in her turbulent life of rock-n-roll vices.

This situation may sound like a same-song-different-chorus scenario, but Perry’s direction and narrative structuring adds Continue reading Her Smell (2019) Movie Review

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Under the Silver Lake (2019) Movie Review

David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake is an unsurprisingly divisive experience. It challenges you to bear witness to the unseemly realities of the wealth-power relationship of Hollywood while also presenting such realities with a greasy film of surreality. It is also a film that appears to relish in the masturbatory excesses of an over-sexed L.A.

This is evidenced in one of the first things we see in the film. As the curious yet distant Sam (Andrew Garfield) gazes at Continue reading Under the Silver Lake (2019) Movie Review

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) Movie Review

I don’t understand the meme in which serial killer Ted Bundy is lauded for his physical attractiveness in spite of his villainy. Netflix is the prime source of the “hot Bundy” memes, and the memes do not do Netflix’s latest, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, any favors. Midway through Joe Berlinger’s film, a series of women are interviewed during an intermission from Bundy’s murder trial, and they stumble through statements that exult the alluring presence of Bundy in the court room.

If that isn’t enough proof that the film aims to capitalize on Bundy’s Continue reading Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) Movie Review

Teen Spirit (2019) Movie Review

“Teen Spirit” is an American Idol-esque pop reality competition in which teens sing and dance in hopes of achieving a record contract. Violet (Elle Fanning) is a seventeen-year-old who sneaks out at night to perform to a near-empty dive bar. She croons to one listener, silhouetted by a neon heart sign. “I was a fool,” she repeats until the song fades, and the one man (Zlatko Buric) claps.

When Violet decides to register for the “Teen Spirit” competition, she enlists this man—she later finds out he is a former opera singer—to Continue reading Teen Spirit (2019) Movie Review

The Mustang (2019) Movie Review

My favorite film of 2018 was Chloe Zhao’s The Rider. It is, in my mind, a transcendent experience of intimacy and empathy whose connection to reality enhances its visceral, heartfelt case study of cowboyism.

While watching Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s The Mustang, I couldn’t shake the memory of watching The Rider for the first time. Both involve plot mechanics involving horse training and thematic notions of disillusioned masculinity. They both attempt to take a quiet, restrained look at one man’s emotional growth, as well.

When it comes to analysis, a comparison of the two films will Continue reading The Mustang (2019) Movie Review

Transit (2019) Movie Review

Christian Petzold’s Transit explores fleeting moments of humanity within intensely oppressive fascism. Then, it explores the tragedy of hanging any semblance of hope on such moments of humanity, as the moments are infinitesimally small against a backdrop that is increasingly bleak.

The film progresses like a prequel to 1984. Paris is under siege, and the fascist occupation is spreading rapidly. It happens so fast that Continue reading Transit (2019) Movie Review

Dumbo (2019) Movie Review

Tim Burton’s live action Dumbo film begins by tracing, whimsically, the path of traveling Medici Bros. Circus. Burton flourishes this ride, particularly as the train passes through a tunnel that morphs into the twirling red and white of a circus tent.

dumbo-movie-review-2019-tim-burton

As energetic as this opening trek is, the Medici Bros. (“Bros.,” it bears noting, is a misnomer. A single Medici (Danny Devito) serves both roles), the circus has Continue reading Dumbo (2019) Movie Review