The Witch (2016)

The Witch (2016)
“New Englanders, Out of Their Minds” Horror fans reacted to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation of The Shining with profound disappointment, arguing that the film’s artiness destroyed their visceral genre expectations, ones that were clearly and directly presented in Stephen King’s widely read 1977 novel. Robert Eggers’ new film, The Witch (2015) might be the ...

45 Years (2015)

45 Years (2015)
“The Ghost in the Attic” One of my favorite college memories is sitting in a small seminar room watching a VHS copy of Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957) on a small television screen as part of a class, “Philosophy and Film,” taught by Irving Singer, an expert on the nature of love, and a ...

A Bear Story (2015)

A Bear Story (2015)
“Bear, My Ass” In my yearly struggle to avoid thinking about the idiocy of the Oscars, I invariably fail when I fall in love with one of the brilliant shorts that is doomed to not win due to the pedestrian tastes of the majority of the Academy. This year will be particularly traumatic in the ...

Spotlight (2015)

Spotlight (2015)
“Individual, Institution, Ideology” The greatest journalist in the history of cinema is neither Charles Foster Kane nor Bob Woodward, but lawyer turned documentarian Frederick Wiseman. Wiseman set out to replicate in the late 20th century United States what Emile Zola had done to the Second French Empire in the mid-19th century. The Naturalist novelist Zola ...

Room (2015)

Room (2015)
“Into Darkness, Again” Irish filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson’s startling new film, Room (2015) begins with close-ups of material objects. The camera dwells on crumpled aluminum foil, and the rounded corners of a pinkish porcelain bathroom sink. The opening of the film is thus devoted to textures, the haptic realm that great cinema can sometimes approach, but ...