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Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Recent
Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Film

Decode the Pre-Code: Four Hot Early Talkies Hit Blu-Ray

Sinuous camera moves and stylish direction, endings that surely wouldn't have flown after the Code crackdown: four pre-code talkies from Cecil B. DeMille, Phil Goldstone, Victor Halperin, and Stuart Walker.

Film

Investing in Surfaces in Renoir's 'Toni'

Discovery of what lies beyond the surface—or better, the profound meaning invested in surfaces—is the central motif of Renoir's Toni.

Film

It's a Helluva of a World in Alain Corneau's 'Série Noire'

Alain Corneau's Série Noire is like a documentary of squalid desperation, albeit a slightly heightened and sardonic one.

Television

The Enduring Appeal of 'Unsolved Mysteries'

Society is reckoning with Clinton-era "tough-on-crime" policies, law enforcement is no longer seen as the unambiguous good guys, yet true crime television thrives in Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries.

Television

The Superficial Approach to Chicano and Pachuco Culture in 'Penny Dreadful: City of Angels'

The story of how structural inequalities have shaped Los Angeles can be found in Penny Dreadful: City of Angels but it needs to be in the forefront of season two.

Television

'Tiger King' and the Post-Truth Culture War

Tiger King -- released during and dominating the streaming-in-lockdown era -- exemplifies in real-time the feedback loop between entertainment and ideology.

Film

Romy Schneider Shimmers, Simmers, "Sautets" and "Zulawskis"

Directors Claude Sautet and Andrzej Zulawski turn the camera's gaze on the glorious Romy Schneider in these four drama, romance, and crime films available from Film Movement and Kino Lorber.

Film

'The Grand Budapest Hotel' Gorgeously Conveys Our Need for Poise and Elegance

The sense of artifice in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel helped him create an alluring reverie of both color and meaning.

Television

What We Want vs. What We Need: How 'Twin Peaks: The Return' Resists Nostalgia

David Lynch and Mark Frost's seminal Twin Peaks is rich with insight as to how both people and works of fiction can age gracefully.

Film

Atop a Throne of Ashes: On Juraj Herz's 'The Cremator'

Far from being escapist entertainment, Herz's The Cremator is a dissection of evil and how deluded one becomes in willing themselves to power.

Film

The Road to Murder in Love and War: Three Films from Claude Chabrol

The character's in Claude Chabrol's The Third Lover, Line of Demarcation, and The Champagne Murders are obsessively doubled and mirrored, reflecting and refracting their hunger for sex, love, money, and power.

Film

Great Scots: 'Whiskey Galore!' and 'The Maggie'

Two Scottish comedies from Alexander Mackendrick, Whiskey Galore! and The Maggie, were part of Ealing Studios movies meant for a depressed postwar England to "let off steam".

Film

'The Wild Goose Lake' Is a Spellbinding Neo-Noir

A gang war becomes a massive police manhunt through a remote, lawless corner of China in Yi'nan Diao's moody, violent, and gorgeously shot crime story, The Wild Goose Lake.

Film

The Tortured Mind of Anthony Asquith's Silent British Gem, 'A Cottage on Dartmoor'

Silent film A Cottage on Dartmoor brilliantly captures Anthony Asquith's fascination with the French impressionists' preoccupation with the still, singled out expression.

Film

Jerry Hopper's 'Naked Alibi' Draws Comparisons to Douglas Sirk's Films

Although it's fair to state that Jerry Hopper is no Douglas Sirk, it's also true that their careers tangoed around each other, as seen in Hopper's Naked Alibi.

Film

Lurking and Smirking: Anthony Perkins and Charles Bronson Match Wits in 'Someone Behind the Door'

If we judge a film by keeping us on the edge of our seat, 1971's Someone Behind the Door, starring Anthony Perkins and Charles Bronson, is a success.

Books

Who Can I Be Now? Picking Through Mat Osman's 'The Ruins'

Mat Osman's mystery, The Ruins, turns excess into artistry.

Film

Parallelism and Deliverance in Barbara Loden's 'Wanda' and Natalia Leite's 'Bare'

Natalia Leite's 2015 film Bare picks up where Barbara Loden's 1970 film Wanda left off, each acting, indirectly, as the proto- and fourth wave- feminist renderings of the other.

Film

Richard Fleischer's 'Trapped' Escapes from Noir Obscurity

Thanks to Richard Fleischer's Trapped, Lloyd Bridges got the chance to shine in a starring role as unregenerate slimeball Tris Stewart, among the most amoral self-centered leads in noir.

Film

Resounding Silence and Profound Superfluity: The Actorly Camera in Jean-Pierre Melville's 'Un flic'

The movements of the camera in Melville's Un flic attempt to overcome one of the most inscrutable divides in existence.

Film

Why Pat O'Connor's 1989 Bomb, 'The January Man', Is Worth Watching Today

Considered in relation to the postmodern explosion that would rock Hollywood during the second half of the '90s, The January Man registers as a pop culture curio that was ahead of its time.

Film

The Last Laugh: Everything You Think You Know About 'Joker' Is Wrong

Todd Phillips has planted a tantalizing trail of clues throughout Joker to upend viewers' most basic assumptions, presenting a film whose contradictory structure can cause as much mayhem as its titular character.

Reviews

'You' S2 Returns as Bitingly Entertaining and Subversive, t​o a Point

What is it about Penn Badgley's toxic and creepy Joe Goldberg in You that keeps viewers coming back?

Film

'Uncut Gems' Is an Embarrassment of Riches

Adam Sandler's career-defining performance in the Safdie Brothers' Uncut Gems is a gritty thrill ride into the psyche of an adrenaline junky.

Film

In 'Uncut Gems' Adam Sandler's Howard Ratner Is on the Brink of Everything, or Nothing

The Safdie Brothers' nervy ball of tension, #PMPick Uncut Gems, sends a hustler blasting recklessly through a city where everybody is on the make.

Film

Ludicrous Irony in Scorsese's 'The Irishman'

With its big performances and stellar script, The Irishman is the glorious culmination of Scorsese's lifelong fascination with mobsters and their built-in self-destruction.

Film

Tragic Spectacle as Social Commentary in Todd Phillips' 'Joker'

Todd Phillips' divisive Joker stirs the conscience -- and the stomach.

Film

John Dahl's 'The Last Seduction' Is a Smart, Sultry Neo-Noir That Subverts Expectations

Linda Fiorentino pulls out all the stops and delivers a tour-de-force performance in John Dahl's gripping neo-noir, The Last Seduction, a film full of blue moods, dark humour, and hairpin turns.

Film

Hitchcock Breaks the Sound Barrier in Early Films 'Blackmail' and 'Murder!'

Hitchcock's motif of treacherous toying with filmgoers is intriguing to spot in his early silent-to-talkie thrillers, Blackmail and Murder!

Film

A Private Revolution: Jean-Luc Godard's Second Wave

Jean-Luc Godard's cinematic oddities First Name: Carmen, Détective, and Hélas pour moi, newly released on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber, embody the vast landscape of possibilities open to the director during the '80s and '90s.

Television

Men and Women Behaving Badly: 'Pursuit' and 'The Girl Most Likely To'

Made for TV programs of the '70s really knew how to dish it out. Michael Crichton's Pursuit is all about men conquering each other; whereas Lee Philips' The Girl Most Likely To is a poisoned bon-bon about making pain palatable.

Television

Not Where But When: Past and Future in Netflix's 'Dark'

The German-language sci-fi thriller Dark perfectly captures the unsettling experience of being trapped by history.

News

Fantasia 2019 Preview: Undertones of Indifference In 'A Good Woman Is Hard to Find'

Director Abner Pastoll discusses his new film A Good Woman Is Hard to Find, which will have a special advance screening at Fantasia Film Festival, ahead of its world premiere at Arrow Video FrightFest.

Film

'Detour' and 'The Big Clock' Cross Noir with Absurdity

Like a match made in Purgatory, Edgar Ulmer's Detour and John Farrow's The Big Clock are ingenious films with different but self-aware approaches to noir.

Film

Hunter, Turner, Soaper, Weeper: 'Portrait in Black' and 'Madame X'

Sometimes a movie needs to overpower you, or why bother? So-called "women's films" Portrait in Black and Madame X glorify women's strength and resilience.


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