Keanu (2016)

Keanu (2016)
“Oil and Smoke: The Carnivalesque Double Consciousness of Key and Peele” The first thing I do when I teach film comedy is observe that the funniest contemporary films were loathed upon their release. Critics dismissed Airplane! (Jim Abrahams and David Zucker, 1980) and Caddyshack (Harold Ramis, 1980) as sophomoric, not seeming to notice the close ...

Another Earth (2011)

Another Earth (2011)
“Another Self” In the middle of Mike Cahill’s excellent science-fiction film, Another Earth (2011), a melodramatic story about the discovery of an inhabited identical twin Earth in the solar system, John Burroughs (William Mapother) angrily rebukes the desire of Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling) to join an exploratory space flight to the recently discovered planet. Burroughs ...

I Origins (2014)

I Origins (2014)
“Aye I Eye” Mike Cahill’s 2014 New Age science film, I Origins begins with a series of close-ups of eyes. In voice over, molecular biologist Ian (Michael Pitt) explains that he researches eyes because of the fascinating connection between the human eye and the camera, both lens-based technologies of vision. His scientific quest is to ...

Son of Saul (2015)

Son of Saul (2015)
“This Way for the Transformative Cinema, Ladies and Gentlemen” The new Holocaust film, Son of Saul (2016) opens with an astonishing shot. Completely out of focus, we see some people in the background, perhaps digging near a tree. After what seems like an eternity, to the point that one considers going to tell the projectionist ...

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
“The Dark Light” The new Batman vs. Superman movie is getting unfairly drubbed by reviewers. It is admittedly an overly ambitious film, but refreshing given that most other comic book movies are the graveyards of the uninspired. The film begins with a bravura sequence in which Jack Napier kills Bruce Wayne’s parents, returning to the ...