Rocking (and Tripping) in the Desert: Stuart Swezey’s Desolation Center

By Thomas Puhr. Los Angeles probably isn’t the first city that comes to mind when one thinks of American punk rock, but Stuart Swezey’s Desolation Center (2018) successfully shines a light on one of the genre’s lesser-known cultural hubs. The titular organization, founded by Swezey himself, held a series of […]

Now Unreeling Online: AFI DOCS at 18

Boys State By Elias Savada. One of the premier documentary film festivals is back for its 18th year. Unlike all previous iterations of the event it started life as Silver Docs but was renamed in 2013 when it expanded beyond the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and ventured to […]

A Rookie Director Takes to the Skies: 7500

By Elias Savada. German-born filmmaker Patrick Vollrath’s first feature, the foreign-financed, English-language 7500 (pronounced seven-five-zero-zero), is the latest in a long string of airplane hijacking movies. Since most folks are not doing any flying these days (stay home, stay safe), you might find meager travel points accumulating in your frequent […]

Down to the Earth: An Interview with Victor Kossakovsky on Gunda

By Yun-hua Chen. It is a rare opportunity to have an eye-level communication with pigs, chickens and cows. Victor Kossakovsky has once again demonstrated the unique power of cinematic language to open up a new way of seeing commonplace phenomenon or creatures which have long been taken for granted, and […]

Whose Truth is the Truth? Agnieszka Holland’s Mr. Jones

By Thomas Puhr. “I don’t have an agenda,” intones journalist Gareth Jones (James Norton) in Agnieszka Holland’s historical drama, Mr. Jones (2019). “Unless you call truth an agenda.” While some write off his stance as idealistic naivete, he is not speaking in an abstract, philosophical sense. The truth, in this […]

More to the Show: Jeffrey McHale on You Don’t Nomi

By Ali Moosavi. Showgirls (1995) is one of the most notorious films in Hollywood history. Director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas were riding high on the massive box office success of their previous joint effort, Basic Instinct (1992). Perhaps because of that success, the critics had sharpened their pencils, […]