Posted inFilm/TV

Review: ‘Prey’ is a trophy case of good filmmaking

Reading Time: 2 minutes Concluding 2022’s surprise “women marching into the dark, unknowable wilderness” trilogy that began with Firestarter and Hellbender is Dan Trachtenberg’s remarkable Prey. Quietly the fifth installment of the Predator franchise, a series of action/science fiction films involving extraterrestrial game hunters, Prey is the rare prequel unencumbered by lore or smug callbacks that refines the core […]

Posted inFilm/TV

Review: ‘Elvis’ + ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

Reading Time: 3 minutes I’m hard pressed to name anything registering as a complete scene in Elvis, Baz Luhrmann’s fever dream of an Elvis Presley biopic that doesn’t so much cover the landmark events of the superstar musician’s life and career as it condenses those moments into an extended trailer advertising the American mid-twentieth century. That isn’t a criticism; […]

Posted inFilm/TV

Before MeToo, Egypt’s ‘Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story’ put a spotlight on gender inequality

Reading Time: 2 minutes African and Middle Eastern cinema tends to receive precious little attention in the United States, with Iran among the better represented in terms of State-side theatrical distribution (such as Panah Panahi’s Hit the Road, shamefully the only 2022 Middle Eastern release I’ve seen so far). Streaming and the DVD market have done a great deal […]

Posted inFilm/TV

Review: ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ short on dinosaurs, entertainment

Reading Time: 2 minutes The original Jurassic Park had fewer than 100 visual effects shots. That they still look good decades later is a testament to that film’s talented production team, which included Stan Winston, whose life-sized animatronics gave Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) animators plenty of on set reference material for how the creatures were supposed to look […]

Posted inFilm/TV

Review: In the age of streaming, ‘Satantango’ remains as captivating as ever

Reading Time: 3 minutes Sátántangó’s opening shot follows a herd of cows wandering a desolate town. The shot is nearly eight minutes long and free of human dialogue, an act of provocation in its deliberate simplicity and harbinger of things to come. Eight minutes down, about 430 to go—Béla Tarr’s 1994 masterpiece has a daunting runtime of over seven […]

Posted inFilm/TV

Review: ‘Prehistoric Planet’ takes nature-as-spectacle filmmaking to new heights

Reading Time: 2 minutes In the opening moments of Prehistoric Planet, the BBC’s splashy, heavily computer-generated nature documentary narrated by David Attenborough, we’re shown a tyrannosaurus rex swimming in open water with young offspring in tow. It’s an uncharacteristically vulnerable look for one of popular culture’s most enduring symbols of brute, primordial strength, and functions as a mission statement […]

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