Black Mirror: “Bandersnatch” (2018)

Black Mirror:
“You Can Have Any Narrative You Want, As Long As It Is Netflix’s” There is a consensus developing among critics of Netflix’s new Black Mirror episode, “Bandersnatch” (Netflix, 12/28/18) that it is a show built on a mere “gimmick.” The story concerns a young computer programmer, Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead), who in 1984 is developing ...

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
“The Stinging Cowboy” Filmmakers in the United States and Europe usually start their careers making short films, then “graduating” to features. More advanced in their careers, filmmakers should return to short-form narrative, if for no other reason than to help young filmmakers learn how to tell a story before becoming overwhelmed with the responsibilities of ...

Twin Peaks: The Return [episode 6: Don’t Die] (2017)

Twin Peaks: The Return [episode 6: Don't Die] (2017)
“The Fort/Da of Twin Peaks” For a show that has deliberately subverted its audience’s expectations of compelling emotional drama, episode six of Twin Peaks: The Return finally delivers the goods. A little boy is run over by a truck driven by a crazed drug mule. For emotional impact, the sequence rivals only Agent Cooper shepherding ...

The Light Between Oceans (2016)

The Light Between Oceans (2016)
“The Light Between Filmmakers” In his exploration of the intertextual relationships between different generations of poets, literary critic Harold Bloom forwards an energistic theory—the anxiety of influence—to suggest how artists rebel against their forebears. Watching The Light Between Oceans, filmmaker Derek Cianfrance’s latest visual masterpiece, it struck me that a different emotion might characterize his ...

Alps (2011)

Alps (2011)
“Climb Every Mountain, Forge the Ionian Sea” Alps (2011), Yorgos Lanthimos’ film prior to The Lobster is an even more aggressive Surrealistic assault on our impoverished human relationships, indicting American popular culture as the language of our isolation. The film begins with a long shot of a female gymnast practicing her rhythmic routine with a ...