Posted in January 2015

‘ScarJo in the Shell’

‘ScarJo in the Shell’


“A few weeks ago, word shimmied down the digital grapevine that Hollywood has cast the lead role in its adaptation of the Ghost in the Shell manga, and brace yourself: she’s white. (More accurately, she’s not Rinko Kikuchi, whose name has been bandied about in the press in both pre and post-casting rumblings.) Someone, somewhere, … Continue reading

Review: R100, 2015, dir. Hitoshi Matsumoto

Review: R100, 2015, dir. Hitoshi Matsumoto


“In R100, Takafumi Katayama (Nao Ōmori), a workaholic father burdened by loneliness over his wife’s catatonic state, decides to sign up for a one-year contract with a gentleman’s bondage club. Membership comes with a few decidedly inconvenient stipulations; most notably, he must live all 365 days in constant anxiety over where, and when, he might … Continue reading

Review: Mortdecai, 2015, dir. David Koepp

Review: Mortdecai, 2015, dir. David Koepp


“Who is this dashing, mustachioed Mortdecai chap? An art dealer, you say? A man of high breeding with impeccable taste in paintings and wines? A scalawag, a ne’er-do-well, a man of shady intentions? That clears things up a bit, but still, who isMortdecai? A putz, a schlemiel, a real screwup, an oaf dressed in aristocrat’s … Continue reading

Review: Appropriate Behavior, 2015, dir. Desiree Akhavan

Review: Appropriate Behavior, 2015, dir. Desiree Akhavan


“The delightful byproduct of living in a post-Girls pop-culture-verse is that even if you don’t care for Lena Dunham, or if you find her creative output too preciously self-effacing (or self-aware, or self-interested, or any other self-[blank] adjective you can muster), her influence is likely to inspire other media that does tickle your fancy. Case … Continue reading

Review: Medeas, 2015, dir. Andrea Pallaoro

Review: Medeas, 2015, dir. Andrea Pallaoro


“Arthouse fare nestled within the American heartland is, and probably always shall be, considered Terrence Malick’s territory. Hence early analogies drawn between Andrea Pallaoro’s excellent debut,Medeas, and the American maestro’s works, currently enjoying a period of serious creative vitality. But contrasting Pallaoro (or any perceived student of Malick’s style, from Shane Carruth to Leah Meyerhoff) … Continue reading

Review: Taken 3, 2015, dir. Olivier Megaton

Review: Taken 3, 2015, dir. Olivier Megaton


“Like 2008’s Taken and 2012’s Taken 2 before it, Taken 3’s meat-and-potatoes approach to filming action is about as basic as action filmmaking can be: no fancy pants martial arts tussles, no daring stunts, no gimmicks. There’s only growling, punching, and shooting, served upon a bed of collateral damage and suffused with car chases. Thus, … Continue reading

Review: Dark Summer, 2015, dir. Paul Solet

Review: Dark Summer, 2015, dir. Paul Solet


“A film that uses DJ Caruso’s career as a reference point is a film that starts out in dire straits indeed. Hence Paul Solet’s Dark Summer, a horror riff onDisturbia, which is itself a riff on Rear Window. Like Caruso, Solet is using Hitchcock’s work as his blueprint without acknowledging the connection; it’s a small … Continue reading

Review: Selma, 2014, dir. Ava DuVernay

Review: Selma, 2014, dir. Ava DuVernay


“If Selma can be described in one word, it’s “fiery.” Biopics are typically such rote, thankless exercises in filmmaking that the idea anybody could make one colored with brushstrokes this passionate feels contrary. But there’s no better way to characterize what Ava DuVernay has accomplished in her dramatic chronicle of the 1965 voting rights marches … Continue reading