“Toward a Cinema of Failure”

I often tell my students that my life is mostly failure. The acceptance rate at most academic journals in which I publish is 15%. That means, for every successful essay I write, some five will not get published. There is tremendous value in pulling back the veil on a career and showing students the messy ...

Dossier on Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)

Dossier on Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
“Nighthawks of New York” By Simone Becque As Rhona Berenstein discusses in Lesbian Histories and Cultures, mainstream film representation of female desire was often alluded to or implied rather than shown, and when desire was made explicit it had a tendency to end in death (or falcons). The lack of which is what makes Carol, ...

Knick Knack (1989)

Knick Knack (1989)
“Snow Was General All Over the Globe” In stark contrast to the feature films made a decade and some later, the early Pixar shorts are obsessed with inanimate material objects brought to life. With the remarkable exception of the very first short, The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. (1984), the next four films—Luxo, Jr. ...

Krampus (2015)

Krampus (2015)
“St. (Nicholas) Elsewhere” In my favorite scene from Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984), while under attack from the monstrous progeny of her boyfriend Billy’s Christmas present, Kate (Phoebe Cates) invokes an urban legend to explain the trauma of the holiday season. Her father attempted to fuel her child-like wonderment by impersonating Santa Claus, and sliding down ...

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014)

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014)
“Da Return of Da Sweet Cinema of Spike Lee” Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012) devolves into the sleazy violence of the exploitation films he loves too much. Indeed, the disease of not knowing when enough is enough infects the work of many contemporary American filmmakers. Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (2000) also suffers as a film with ...