Don’t Breathe (2016)

Don't Breathe (2016)
“Detroit, Don’t Exhale” While replete with horror film genre conventions—a monstrous antagonist; teenagers caught in an old, dark scary house; a menacing pit bull; and the like—my interest in Don’t Breathe, Fede Alvarez’ new home invasion thriller lies in its representation of the collapsed modern American city. The plot concerns Rocky (Jane Levy), foolishly in ...

The Nice Guys (2016)

The Nice Guys (2016)
“Nice Guys Finish First” This is my 150th post since I started writing regularly about films in current release, and it’s time to revisit my statement of purpose, a defense of learnedness as a framework for discussing the cinema. In applying Walter Benjamin’s famous essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” ...

Anomalisa (2015)

Anomalisa (2015)
“Thigh Line (Liar) Triangular” There’s a remarkable moment early in Anomalisa, Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman’s new animated feature, which resonates with a lecture I give at the start of my course on the history of drama. In “Why Hamlet Doesn’t Go to the Bathroom,” I ponder the deflection of lived human experience entailed by ...