Film Review: Roma

Roma

Roma written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Films, Participant Media, Netflix, R, 135 min) Starring Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Diego Cortina Autrey, Carlos Peralta, Marco Graf, Daniela Demesa, Nancy García García, Verónica García, and Jorge Antonio Guerrero. The World Spins Madly On In consideration of the deterministic nature of reality, we often note that the world spins madly on. In the face of intense despair and grief. In the moments of bliss and joy. Beneath it all, the world continues its motion, arcing through space consistently plummeting toward the sun in a gravitational pull fast enough to slingshot by year after year. But, from our lowly vantage, the world doesn’t appear to spin, definitely not madly on. It… Read More →

Film Review: First Reformed

First Reformed

First Reformed written and directed by Paul Schrader (Killer Films, Fibonacci Films, Arclight Films, A24, R, 113 min) Starring Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer, Victoria Hill, Philip Ettinger, and Michael Galston. The Inability to Kick Either At some point during the endless cycle of retweets that presages the viral, a tweet happened upon my feed that defines my experience pretty well. In talking about a band, The Hold Steady, this tweet notes that the love of the band comes from a Catholic upbringing driving them to drink and then being unable to kick either his upbringing or his love of spirits. While I wasn’t raised Catholic, my own religious background provides plenty of reason to drink, and I,… Read More →

Film Review: Hold the Dark

Hold the Dark

Hold the Dark written by Macon Blair and William Giraldi and directed by Jeremy Saulnier (Addictive Pictures, Film Science, VisionChaos Productions, Netflix, TV-MA, 125 min) Starring Jeffrey Wright, Riley Keough, Alexander Skarsgård, Julian Black Antelope, and James Badge Dale. Raging Against the Dying of the Light I can think of nothing less classically romantic or poetic than the struggle at the end of a life. Because we fail to grasp the true depths of death, our language and expectations around it are so foreign. We block it off. We refuse to give it the detailed consideration that we might give our wedding day. We live in a constant fight against its ends, as Dylan Thomas would suggest, we rage against… Read More →

Film Review: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs written and directed by Ethan and Joel Coen (Annapurna Pictures, Mike Zoss Productions, Netflix, R, 133 min) Starring Tim Blake Nelson, David Krumholtz, James Franco, Stephen Root, Liam Neeson, Harry Melling, Tom Waits, Sam Dillon, Bill Heck, Zoe Kazan, Brendan Gleeson, and Tyne Daly. The Next Great American Author Ever since Mark Twain, the literary-minded in the United States have been clamoring for the next Great American author. Well, maybe arguing more than clamoring. However, as I explore the many genres of the written word, I’m starting to believe the argument for or against a specific author is fruitless. Instead, I’m coming to believe there’s a Great American genre, the short story. About a year… Read More →

Top 40 Albums of 2018

40. Re:Piano by Chad Lawson Chad Lawson re-imagines piano composition.   39. Disease by the Beartooth With an interesting mix of hardcore, pop punk, and hard rock, Beartooth provided the most intriguing heavy music for my listening palate.   38. Black Panther: The Album by Kendrick Lamar and Various Artists I haven’t seen the movie. Hopefully someday. But, the soundtrack is out of this world. Kendrick Lamar’s verse in “King’s Dead,” is probably the rap highlight of my year.   37. Lost Friends by Middle Kids This debut shows the songwriting chops of this Australian band. I expect even better as this group matures.   36. Just for Us by Francis and the Lights Francis masterfully blends electronic soundscapes with… Read More →

Television Show Review: Making a Murderer: Part 2

Making a Murderer Part 2

Making a Murderer: Part 2 created by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos (Synthesis Films, Netflix) Let’s Go Viral I find viral content fascinating. Where most people get lured in to the immediate response-level phenomenon of viral content, the waves of viewing and sharing content, I am always thinking about the strategic creation of and the inner lives behind that viral content. Most people found humor in the video Chewbacca Mom posted and hit share. I, on the other hand, see that video and wonder what her parenting style is like. Most importantly, what does she do when her children don’t want to eat their vegetables? For the most part, a viral post comes and goes, the author of that content… Read More →

Film Review: The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Fox Searchlight Pictures, Bull Productions, Double Dare You, R, 123 min) Starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, and Michael Stuhlbarg. A Brilliant and Brackish Mélange The cascading arpeggiated melody, on an accordion sets the stage for a magical film to come. Slippery, the melody meanders like a tributary to a bigger concept to come. As this melody pushed me into Guillermo del Toro’s world of The Shape of Water, I kept feeling like I was viewing a spiritual descendant of Burton’s Edward Scissorhands, despite no thematic similarities in the surface. Much like Tim Burton before him, Guillermo del Toro’s The… Read More →