Al Reinert’s For All Mankind (1989) is a poetic, meditative, kaleidoscopic narrative of the greatest journey mankind has ever made.
The most succinct description of Piotr Szulkin's The War of the Worlds: Next Century would go something like this: imagine if Network and Brazil merged into one movie—and that movie also featured Martians thirsting for human blood.
After all these years, I'm still enthralled by Treasure Planet's promises of canary-yellow gold and crimson jewels among the rippling nebulae, greedy space pirates, and mutinous crews. The film's fantasy animation feels timeless, its imagery as arresting as if seen firsthand from the ship’s deck, those uncharted skies promising bounty and adventure.
An elegiac poem to the Atacama Desert and its many layers of meaning, Patricio Guzmán's Nostalgia for the Light uses bone fragments, stars, dust, and ash to craft a tender visual collage that proposes an alternate shape for history and human life.
On this month's micro episode, we're chatting about expressive sound and slow motion in John Singleton’s seminal debut film, Boyz N the Hood (1991).
A Face in the Crowd engages in a compelling paradox: it prominently displaces and visibly erases Blackness on-screen. Intentionally or not, in following the rise and fall of a white folk personality, the film tells a different but related story, that of “love and theft” as Hollywood’s original, and gravest, sin.
Spaceballs tears a hole in the fabric of reality, pokes its vaudevillian head out, and warps spacetime. To some, it’s a man slipping on a banana peel; to others, an existentialist dilemma.
Toss them up, and Prometheus and The Martian flip through the air and come back on the same coin. Exploration as a means of testing boundaries, of understanding the universe: a curiosity fetish, a humanism fetish, exploration to further ends, to exploit, to extract, to extend a domain, chaos, chaos, chaos.
On an adventure or an escape, hurtling through the darkest dark, what grounds you, keeps you feeling a sense of home? In the case of Wallace and Gromit, that grounding force is each other—the life they’ve created, the cheese they love.
Sunshine's detractors complain that the film is a mess, with suspect science that starts off strong before veering into slasher territory in its final third. The hard science isn’t hard enough; the crew makes too many stupid mistakes; the third-act appearance of a human antagonist stretches the boundaries of belief. But these critiques miss the point: Sunshine was always a horror movie, from the very first frame.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar finds Wes Anderson at his most rigorously experimental, committing to Anderson’s curational ‘style as form’ strategy not as a means of ferrying feeling but as its very manifestation.
This month we’re joined by writer, critic, and editor Nicholas Russell to chat about Maestro. We get into: what makes a Bradley Cooper Film, when weird voices work, that epigraph, tension as structure and provocation, what’s going on with the ending, getting moved by Mahler, and more.