Checking the Master, Film by Film: Hitchcock and the Censors

A Book Review Essay by Matthew Sorrento. Some criticisms noted, John Billheimer’s book is still very helpful for teaching history of regulation/censorship and their effects on authorship….” Hitchcock continues to compete with Welles as the “Shakespeare” of film studies in the sense that he’s the most analyzed in the medium, […]

On Location, Post-Lockdown: Roger Spottiswoode on Either Side of Midnight

By Matthew Sorrento. Finding the right locations was even more important than usual on this film, because the city life within each location would have to tell the story as much as would the dialogue.” Roger Spottiswoode has had a journeyman’s career. After editing for Sam Peckinpah and others, Spottiswoode […]

The Journey of Analyzing Terror, On and Offscreen: on Monsters, Law, Crime

On a critical examination of how the “monstrous” is constructed by various societies or social milieu. Study of horror and the monstrous onscreen has taken many routes, from the philosophical, the psychoanalytic, and beyond. Recent volumes like The Monster Theory Reader and Robin Wood on the Horror Film (the late […]

Tradition Thriving on the “Bloody” Frontier: The Pale Door

By Matthew Sorrento. Co-writer/director Aaron B. Koontz’s perceptiveness for the Western genre makes The Pale Door into a worthy hybrid horror.” It must be an assignment in a screenwriting course somewhere, or maybe a guidebook: “From Dusk to Dawn It” – begin your script as road movie, and bring your […]

Refusal to Respond – David Shields and Lynch: A History

By Matthew Sorrento. Review Filmmaker David Shields found an ideal style to document the onscreen (but off the field) career of NFL running back Marshawn Lynch (2007-18). Far from a fan documentary, Lynch: A History uses collage to portray the news media’s possession and the public’s consumption of a star player […]

They’ve Come to Save Us!: Gothic Inspiration Returns in Toy Story 4

By Matthew Sorrento. Like all films in the series, the fourth installment of Toy Story (2019) concerns kids’ fears of abandonment, with lost toys working in place of children. Once again, the toys get lost for an adventure, for some form or return/reconciliation at the conclusion. There’s only so much […]

Beyond the “Post-Western” – Marlina: A Murderer in Four Acts

By Matthew Sorrento. Marlina begins with a scenario all too familiar: the title character, recently widowed, is now an object of desire (her body and fortune) for local men. One immediately arrives to her home as if ready to take ownership. Accusing her of sleeping around since her husband’s death, […]

The Uncanny Invades: Jordan Peele’s Us

By Matthew Sorrento. The most unfortunate aspect of Jordan Peele’s Get Out was its creator’s attempt at self-criticism. Some months after the film’s release, Peele accepted an offer from Reddit to respond to member theories on the film. In the video, he is welcoming and down-to-earth but swiftly dismisses a theory […]