Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Manchester by the Sea (2016)
“An Adagio for Cinema” One of the most moving pieces in the classical repertoire, Tomaso Albinoni’s “Adagio in G minor” lies at the center of an historical mystery. Albinoni biographer Remo Giazotto claimed to have found a fragment of a manuscript by the famous 18th century composer in Dresden soon after the end of World ...

Arrival (2016)

Arrival (2016)
“The Palindrome of Cinema” In his book, Seeing is Believing: How Hollywood taught us to stop worrying and love the fifties, Peter Biskind presents a four-pronged system for understanding the politics of post-war American cinema. Contrary to the conflict between the Right and the Left in Franklin Roosevelt’s 1930s, the Cold War consensus resulted in ...

Passengers (2016)

Passengers (2016)
“Morton Tyldum: Science-Fiction as Misdirection” Morten Tyldum’s new film, Passengers is the best sort of science-fiction, one where it turns out the genre is irrelevant to the film’s theme. At its core, Passengers is a down-to-Earth melodrama, about the love two people find under the worst, most Existentially bleak circumstances. Passengers positions Tyldum as one ...

The Lobster (2016)

The Lobster (2016)
“Wherefore the International Art Cinema?” As I sat watching Yorgos Lanthimos’ elegant new film, The Lobster (2015), I was struck by how out of time it seemed. It is an exquisite piece of international art cinema, seemingly released fifty years too late. In the middle of the 1960s, such films proliferated around the world, with ...

The Frame (2014)

The Frame (2014)
“Re-Framing Samuel Beckett” Through their fundamental design, most artworks make us choose between embracing the values of high art or popular culture. An exception is Jamin Winans’ recent science-fiction film, The Frame (2014). In the film’s first shot, we meet Alex (David Carranza), a skillful cargo thief who is desperately trying to extract himself from ...

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 ...

Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar (2014)
“I Should Have Been a Farmer” Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, 2014) repeatedly quotes 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968). Numerous times, Hans Zimmer’s score echoes the former film’s soundtrack. As Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) looks out his window at the dying Earth’s blighted crops, the Interstellar soundtrack crescendos with a chord which lingers, one of the ...