While most of the republic’s cinema-goers flock to local theaters to indulge in the new incarnation of Stephen King’s It, your local RedBox is harboring a deliciously wicked and original work of cinematic viscera, Julia Ducournau’s Raw. This cannibal parable created quite the stir at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, where audience members were reported to have fainted due to the movie’s bloody moments. As with most movies of this type, the gore doesn’t do justice to the hype. The film’s power resides in what it has to say as opposed to what it wants to show. Like all good satire, it knows that showing too much ruins the effect. Like American Psycho, Raw gets under your skin by casting a mirror. Ducournau is essentially putting on display a civilization eating itself, like Goya’s painting “Saturno devorando a su hijo (Saturn Devouring His Son).” Raw is art as splatter, capturing in its own special way those moments when youth, sexual awakening and finding one’s place in the social labyrinth all crash together. [Read More…]
Soon after the start of “Paris, Texas,” Harry Dean Stanton appears in an astonishing gorge called the Devil’s Graveyard. He’s playing a lost soul, Travis, who will spend the rest of the film getting found. Right now, though, surrounded by rock formations that evoke the westerns of John Ford, Travis is an enigma. On foot and wholly alone save for a watchful eagle, wearing a red cap and an inexplicable double-breasted suit, Travis looks like a former cowboy or maybe a businessman who took a wrong turn. He looks like someone Dorothea Lange might have photographed during the Great Depression. He looks like the American West, all sinew, dust and resolve. [Read More…]
Reviewed by Kristy Puchko
Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! is his Mona Lisa. Maybe a masterpiece, but most definitely crafted to capture the public with its mystery. Following its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, the art-horror offering has ignited furious debate over its meaning, and even basic plot points. Sure, the trailer suggests this is a creepy cult thriller about a married couple whose happy home is unsettled by some unexpected–and sexy–guests. But the truth is something more complicated and far trickier to define.
The music of The Doors seems to find its place in every era since the band’s stirring debut first appeared fifty years ago. Spawned in the era of Vietnam, revolution and technological innovation, The Doors dived into a dark, literary well that is timeless and always relevant. Jim Morrison alone introduced a manic onstage persona that has influenced every rock genre to emerge since the 60s. He was Dionysus meets Rimbaud, hedonistic jester meets feverish wordsmith. Because the band was fronted by a figure who viewed himself foremost as a poet — the rare rock star who even wrote fan letters to literary scholars — their music endures much the same way the edgiest of classical literature still finds devotees.
There is a special power in the band’s music and Morrison’s persona that goes beyond the debauchery and rebellion associated with rock. This is because the band drew from a rich well that included not only John Lee Hooker and Willie Dixon, but Arthur Rimbaud, Bertolt Brecht and William Blake. Half a century later and the band’s self-titled debut pulsates with everything that has made it stay relevant, even as grander peers have been generally relegated to solely being identified with the 1960s. In the same way the Vietnam War revealed the violence of U.S. foreign policy to an entire generation, The Doors provided the soundtrack to the dark undercurrents of the national psyche. [Read More…]
Kitchen Talk. A Long Smoke. A Story.
“It was dark. I mean, a moonless night, barren landscape. And suddenly the train slows, and stops. And somehow the message went out that we could disembark, go off the train, because there was an opportunity to buy some drinks. But there was no station. You come off the metal stairs on the train, and go across, dust, dust was blowing, dust was filling the air, and it was somehow warmly lilt from the interior lights on the train that was spilling out from this barren, dust-filled landscape. And there, through the dust, we saw this little stand, canvas and wood, with some small lamps around it. And as we got closer we saw bottles: yellow bottles, green bottles. The bottles were clear, but the fluid inside was green or yellow or red or violet. And it was sugar water. [Read More…]
In Alan Moore’s superb and baroque graphic novel From Hell, Jack the Ripper is quoted as saying, “One day men will look back and say I gave birth to the 20th century.” If such bloody and fevered characters can be set to frame a century, then Heath Ledger’s incarnation of The Joker in The Dark Knight is the cinematic icon that frames the 21st century thus far. Christopher Nolan returned to theaters over the summer with yet another big, loud opus, the World War II epic Dunkirk. Yet his most successful film has not only aged well but has gained a potent and disturbing relevance. [Read More…]
The new Twin Peaks (2017) finds David Lynch working in fresh and sublimely haunting domains, ones that pleasurably flirt or unnervingly skirt the spectral drop-offs of some charged and sinister abyss. This seems no visional or evolutional change of tack, nor does it appear, at least in these early episodes, Lynch is newly surveying unmapped terrains. Rather, there is something more elevated in this late-career landscape, and something far more intimate as well. One senses, when viewing this new series, particularly his excursions into Lynchian Other-Realms, that his articulation of these doppelgänging worlds feel more experiential than conceptual, more occupied than conceptualized. [Read More…]
Vacation-starved New Yorkers could nonetheless repair to David Zwirner gallery this summer, on West 19th St. and view James Welling’s short film Seascape (2017). The film provides an ingratiating encounter with the storied, rock-festooned Maine coast, accompanied by an audio of accordion and taped ocean sound. There is no narration, just image, sound and elegiac music, as ocean waves endlessly and variously crash upon the rocks, the sun becomes clouded then bright again, and water and sky ever change hue. America “grew up” with landscape painting of the Romantic era, beginning effectively with Thomas Cole, and, continuing in the dramatic seascape narratives of the Maine coast by Winslow Homer. Welling’s film adds yet another iteration of aesthetic and method to this tradition [Read More…]
Glen Rubsamen’s paintings of locales around the Los Angeles region, which are selected using a conceptual schema based on virtual mapping, combine idealized images of landscapes pared down to essentials, and a sense of detached irony. Visually reminiscent of Ed Ruscha’s paintings of Los Angeles and the West—but without the conceptual text-based play or the monumentality and horizontal scale, they rely on clichés of Los Angeles to reproduce a kind of iconography that is familiar and, like Ruscha’s, cinematic: palm trees (and the occasional eucalyptus) and vast expanses of sky, rendered in heightened, lozenge colored hues. Rubsamen’s paintings, exhibited at Christopher Grimes Gallery this summer under the title “The Disguise Was Almost Perfect,” are accompanied by a poster sized map, available as take-away, adapted from a hand-drawn 1915 Automobile Club map of the region, on which the artist has overlaid graphics of his paintings push-pinned to their correlated location. [Read More…]
. . . On YouTube, viewable on my laptop when I should be writing or answering e-mails, there’s another spike for my cinema-addict veins: the work of the Trailer Recutters. These are would-be film editors and directors who make new trailers for classic movies. Modern (or archaic) music choices, quicker (or slower) cutting, iconic scenes and images scrambled out of sequence. [Read More…]
at Deedee Shattuck, Westport MA
Reviewed by Robin Scher
Somewhere along the lines humanity divorced itself from nature. Fueled by industrialization, ours became a path beholden to the indomitable force of “progress.” That was at least the way things stood until—like an unrelenting alarm clock—we woke up to the consequences wrought by this modern god. Now with words like ‘Anthropocene’ entering our common lexicon, the line between humanity and her surroundings has once again begun to blur. [Read More…]
A New Film By Jung Byung-gil Reviewed by Kristy Puchko Thanks to such dazzling and deeply dark films as Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, Mother, and I Saw … [Read More...]
at The Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles Reviewed by Nancy Kay Turner The new kid on the block is the The Marciano Art Foundation, which … [Read More...]
Elle Reeve's excellent reportage for HBO's Vice News. Below is her interview with Christopher Cantwell, a self-described white nationalist, and her … [Read More...]
Ernest Hemingway: A Biography by Mary V. Dearborn Reviewed by John Biscello Can I believe myself as others believe me to be? Here is where these … [Read More...]
by Michael D. Kennedy August 15, 2017 The drama of Trump Times threatens to consume us in fire and fury. The President found the right words when … [Read More...]
by Aphrohead & Clarian https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBov_u_UzyI … [Read More...]
Directed by Lizzie Borden Reviewed by Seren Sensei Imagine a world where a seemingly all-powerful political party has seized control of America, … [Read More...]
In further tribute to the great Denis Johnson, who died late May, an excerpt from Jesus' Son: Emergency I’d been working in the emergency room for … [Read More...]