Reviews

Reviews of books, music, film and other bits of culture

Review: Timecrimes (Spain, AKV Entertainment)

One of the more odd theories to come out of recent speculation into multiple universes is the idea that there may be enough dimensions so that, somewhere, everything happens:You took a left instead of a right, you became a famous novelist, you bought the good car instead of the shitty one, etc. That would take […]

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DVD Review: Here is Always Somewhere Else (2008)

You might not think that there would be much information available about a performance artist whose entire catalog of work lasts about 40 minutes, and who vanished at sea. This release will dispel that notion. Here is Always Somewhere Else is not only a moving tribute of artist Bas Jan Ader, but a celebration of […]

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DVD Review: Love and Death in Times and Winds

Times and Winds screenshot

Children’s curiosity about death and sex is one of the unspoken engines of childhood.

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“He Appears, However, Almost to Go Backwards”: Impossibly Short Notes on The Ister

The Ister examines the rapid nature of technological progress and its disorienting effect on Western philosophy and ethics.

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DVD Review: Harry Langdon in Three’s a Crowd and The Chaser

Harry Langdon Three's a Crowd and Chaser

Harry Langdon will be forever stuck in fourth place in the canon of silent film comics, always trailing Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd. Still, he endures.

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DVD Review: Frontrunner: The Afghan Woman who Surprised the World

Frontrunner illustrates how a force of people are trying to change long-established cultural norms by altering social practices, and such changes begin with the freedom to act on one’s personal beliefs.

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DVD Review: Tangier Treehouse

Tangier Treehouse (2007) offers a brief sketch of some Arab boys attending a vocational school in the second most famous city in Morocco. The kids from the Darna Youth Center must overcome linguistic barriers as well as generational differences when three middle-aged westerners arrive to help supervise the building of a tree house.Most interestingly, this […]

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DVD Review: The Happening: The Birth of an Unwitting Mock Parable

The Happening was one of the worst reviewed films from a major director this year, for critics engaged in a spirited pugilism of M. Night Shyamalan for his muddled script, poor direction, and general incompetence. The most scathing attack came from Christopher Orr of The New Republic, whose severe trampling mocked the film in unusual […]

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Review: Merciless Fates in Lance Hammer’s Ballast

No mercy is shown to the players in Ballast, and not much more to the film’s viewers.

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Review: Tell No One (Ne le dis à personne)

Even the more inventive thrillers will fall back on convention, as this new French entry does in its opening minutes.

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Review: Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World

Encounters at the End of the World movie image Werner Herzog

This filmmaker can’t resist extremes, both geological and psychological.

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Liberation Aesthetics: Sinning and Surviving in Meirelles’ City of God

City of God

As one of its major themes, City of God painfully illustrates poverty’s numerous privations: the few choices, the slim chances, the narrow and vicious minds.

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Paying Dearly for Masculinity in 3:10 to Yuma

Dan Evans (Christian Bale, left) takes Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to the 3:10 to Yuma. At a critical moment in 3:10 to Yuma, the hero, Dan Evans (Christian Bale), is overpowered, pinned to the floor, and struggling to stay alive. Nearly breathless from a vicious choking given by the outlaw, Ben Wade (Russell Crowe), he […]

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I Know You, Rider: Luv & Haight at the Wetlands Preserve

Wetlands Preserved: The Story of An Activist Nightclub (2006) documents the rise and fall of a unique enterprise, one that was both inspired by–but in no way limited to–the 1960s hippie ethic.

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Jan Svankmajer’s Faust and the Folly of Control

Is
the struggle to control destiny nothing more than an internal wrestling
match? Svankmajer hints that things are no more settled in heaven
or in hell.

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