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Rewarding Curiosity: Skate Kitchen

By Janine Gericke. Skate Kitchen is director Crystal Moselle’s first narrative feature following her 2015 documentary The Wolfpack. I knew in the first five minutes that I was going to love this movie, and I absolutely did. Moselle has created a kind of lyrical poem, about New York, about skateboarding, about growing up, finding yourself. The film is […]

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Broken, Yet Living: Memoir of War (La Douleur)

By Elizabeth Toohey. Sometimes, on my weirder, darker days, I fantasize about being the architect of a purgatory. There, I would place Mark Zuckerberg – who has lately said he sees no need to take down Holocaust denials posted on Facebook because, you know, “there are things that different people get wrong” – and have […]

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The Cinematic Poetry of Cielo

By John Duncan Talbird. Since 1982’s Koyaanisqatsi (dir. Godfrey Reggio), time-lapse photography has become a convention, sometimes to the point of cliché. Still, we’re stunned every now and then by its beautiful use as in the opening and closing of flowers to the tune of The Turtles’s “Happy Together” (1967) in Spike Jonze’s Adaptation (2002). It […]

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Telling Tales: The Company of Wolves by James Gracey

A Book Review by Jeremy Carr. James Gracey’s Devil’s Advocates entry on The Company of Wolves (Auteur Publishing, 2017) does everything a book of its scope should do. In about 120 pages, Gracey takes what is a generally regarded cult classic of some distinction and expounds with care and concision upon its historical context, illuminating […]

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Shifty Business: Pound of Flesh

By Alex Brannan. After gaining attention in Lindsay Anderson’s if… (1968), legendary character actor Malcolm McDowell­ jump-started his career with a pair of films that embellished moral ambiguities as they pertain to a lack of restraint toward debauched sexuality. In the first of these, Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of A Clockwork Orange (1971), McDowell portrayed the youthful delinquent […]

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Gothic Grotesque: Aristide Massaccesi’s Death Smiles on a Murderer (Arrow Video)

By Jeremy Carr. Highlighting the Arrow Video Blu-ray of Death Smiles on a Murderer (also known as Death Smiled at Murder) is a video essay by Kat Ellinger. In this roughly twenty-minute supplement, “Taboo: Sex, Death and Transgression,” Ellinger considers, as much as time permits, the nearly 200 films directed by Aristide Massaccesi (most popularly credited […]

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A Child Custody Thriller

By Janine Gericke. Xavier Legrand’s Custody (Jusqu’à La Garde) is a child-custody thriller. And, the word “thriller” doesn’t usually come to mind when thinking about custody battles. But, that’s just what this film is, a slow burn thriller with a hint of Night of the Hunter and a dash of The Shining. Those films are shown through […]

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A True Beauty: Chained for Life

By Elias Savada. A piece of the infamous “Gooble Gobble” carnival communal wedding chant from Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932) isn’t the only ditty from that horror classic paid homage to in Aaron Schimberg’s wicked movie-within-a-horror-movie, social satire Chained for Life, which world premiered recently at BAMcinemaFest. In fact, performers emit the standalone line “One of Us” […]

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Political and Literary Exile: Nicolas Pariser’s The Great Game

By Thomas Puhr. Is the pen indeed mightier than the sword, as Bulwer-Lytton’s adage would have us believe? This ever-prescient question drives writer-director Nicolas Pariser’s 2015 feature debut, The Great Game (Le grand jeu; now on DVD from Icarus Films). At the film’s start, disillusioned French novelist Pierre Blum (Melvil Poupaud) certainly does not think so; […]

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Forgotten “Final Girls”: The 1990s Teen Horror Cycle by Alexandra West

A Book Review by Alex Brannan. In Men, Women, and Chainsaws (1992), Carol J. Clover takes a critical look at horror and exploitation films of the 1970s and 1980s that were written off by most other critics as a trashy B-movie affair. The allusion to Clover’s most famous contribution to horror criticism in the title of […]

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