A Few Great Pumpkins
Every Halloween, we present a week’s worth of perfect holiday programming. This year's lineup: Pulse, Host, Brain Damage, Let's Scare Jessica to Death, The Velvet Vampire, Deathdream, and The Devil and Daniel Webster.
The need for the geometric sublimity of music leads two critics to two very different musical movie experiences.
While there are many aspects binding Transit to Barbara and Phoenix (including an oppressive system, embodied here by the vagaries of international migration in wartime), Petzold is working in a slightly different register; it is at once more rigorously conceptual and less sociopolitically specific than its predecessors.
A Few Great Pumpkins
The Invitation, The Ghost Train, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, A Scary Time, Messiah of Evil, Panna a netvor
The super-fan has progressed to secretary, then understudy, then professional and romantic usurper. Six years before Invasion of the Body Snatchers, All About Eve tapped a rich vein of existential panic tied to the theme of replication and replaceability.
Even the most resourceful, imaginative filmmaker would be hard-pressed to redeem the screenplay, specifically the lengths to which Cody goes to disguise the true nature of the story, and also the underlying reasons for the charade, which are unconvincing and in bad faith.
If one of the principal powers and pleasures of cinema is its ability to momentarily suspend thoughts or cares about what lies outside the frame, then Zama can be taken an object lesson in manipulation. Every strenuously controlled moment and movement constitutes an irresistible entreaty to simply go blank and watch.
Guadagnino and screenwriter James Ivory have produced a film that simultaneously analyzes and dramatizes issues of sexuality, religious identity, and, once again, privilege and yet without straining against its clearly marked narrative boundaries.
The juxtaposition of different kinds of interiority, of a living space and a headspace being simultaneously invaded, is sophisticated and clever. It is also not quite enough to offset the accumulation of cliches that Shults uses to shape his story, which is little more than pretense for shows of stylistic force.
The padre and the psychopath are figures situated at either end of his career, but as they gaze at their reflections, they also mirror one another: one can find within these two very different films the parallel plights of men in the midst of desperate introspection.
Just as Jay takes his place as the figurehead of a pagan cult, so too did Kill List crown Wheatley as the king of UK horror movies when it was released theatrically, a speedy ascension to a throne that had sat vacant since the 1970s.