Lost Chambers of the Heart

It’s a wonderful experience to sit in a movie theater, watch a film, and about halfway through, come to the realization that you’re having a truly satisfying time. Lantana does this to you by slowly, inexorably winding you into its narrative net by the accretion of deep, revealing, realistic character … More

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The Waiting is the Hardest Part

One of the hallmarks of film made in the days when sex was still taboo to show onscreen was the art of delay. This was the idea that sexual tension would be increased by slow accretion of innuendo, unfulfilled desire, longing stares, and pregnant pauses. By setting his latest film, … More

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A Minimalist Masterpiece

Images flow before us as soothing as a forest stream: the dusky earth, the sapphire sky, the charcoal-line of the open road, waving fields of buttery corn that shimmer like hair, and the craggy, sun-worn face of an old man who squints from beneath a battered cowboy hat as he … More

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The Smell of Fear: New Wave Horror

New Wave Horror

What is the Horror New Wave? And how did we get there? Research on the topic reveals that the “New Wave” moniker is often bandied about with little justification. Yet careful application of the term can be enlightening rather than obfuscating.

Suspension of disbelief is not the only criteria for … More

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More Human than Human: Robots, Cyborgs, and A.I. in the Movies


“Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave.” Thus speaks replicant Roy Batty in Blade Runner (1982), having turned the tables on his would-be executioner, Deckard, while neatly summarizing the predicament of creatures created to serve mankind. As Deckard clings to … More

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Bits Bite Back

There’s a digital filmmaking revolution happening. Just not where you might think.

Early in December I attended a preview screening of The Last Samurai. As press, I get inside screenings before the rest of crowd. After I had sat down in the empty theater, I noticed that two security … More

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A Man, a Blade, an Empty Road

Sword of Doom (1966)
Known in Japan as chanbara eiga (“sword fighting film”), a subset of the jidai-geki (“period theatre”) genre, samurai film and its development lies at the core of Japanese cinema and its long history. Chanbara became one of the central vehicles by which Japan would reexamine its culture and values in light of its new postwar, post-imperial role. Read more