Rough Cut Cinema

Fun, thought-provoking film analysis — deep-dives, lists, criticism, and everything in between.

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The Best Scenes of 2021

The cinema of 2021 was filled with a lot of empty formalism – as every year should be. Because to attempt true visual storytelling is to risk falling flat on one’s face. With streamers expanding and the pandemic accelerating the great elision of film and television, that there remain so many cinematic moments made to be seen on a big screen – made so that they can be felt and understood without dialogue – is a minor miracle in itself…

2021 Wrap-Up: The Year in Theater-Going

For me, the year in movies was defined primarily by one thing: the fact that for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, theater-going once again felt (depending on one’s own risk and comfort level) like a regular part of the movie-watching routine. Just as Nicole Kidman points out in her relentless AMC advertisements, the movie theater feels like home to me — somewhere I go to cry, to laugh, to be thrilled, and to relieve stress…

Recent reviews

Like many musician biopics, Elvis can feel a bit like an overstuffed Greatest Hits album at times—Presley’s recording and concert successes, forays into film and television, and Vegas residency all get significant airtime, in addition to his marriage to Lisa Marie, addiction struggles, and financial exploitation by Parker—but Elvis is more than just an average tale of a musician’s rise and fall. I mean, sure, it is that, but it’s also a Baz Luhrmann picture, which means it’s a maximalist…

If nothing else, writer-director Alex Garland is a premier purveyor of visual spectacle, a trait his latest film bears out. The winkingly titled Men offers up a buffet of imagery that intrigues, confuses, and terrifies in equal measure, all lusciously shot by regular Garland collaborator Rob Hardy. But while spectacle often suffices, Garland tends to set his sights higher, marrying his visual creativity with unsettlingly ambiguous ideas about the nature of humanity and its place in the cosmos. In previous…

With Crimes of the Future, David Cronenberg’s fourth collaboration with star Viggo Mortensen, right around the corner, Kino Lorber has issued a new release of the director and actor’s second feature together, 2007’s Eastern Promises. Their follow-up to the critically acclaimed A History of Violence, Cronenberg and Mortensen — alongside writer Steven Knight and co-star Naomi Watts — turn their sights on the operations of the Russian mafia in London. When hospital midwife Anna Khitrova (Watts) comes across the diary…

Maximalism is the name of the game when it comes to RRR, S. S. Rajamouli’s three-plus-hour genre-defying action-musical-bromance, but I’m confident you’ll find it worth every minute. Rajamouli’s epic period piece fictionalizes the lives of two early-mid 20th century Indian revolutionaries, Komaram Bheem and Alluri Sitarama Raju, by asking the all-important question: what if these two men, who by all accounts never met, were actually…best friends? If that sounds a little silly it’s because it is, but that’s a feature,…

Liked reviews

Scream

Scream

★★★★★

The greatest opening scene of all time?????

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

Man, this was a bit of a bummer.

Listing them out to see if they still bug me when I inevitably watch again at home in 2 months:

- Taking badass Niobe and making her a crotchety nerd - lame.

- Not inviting Larry Fish back to stay true to the canon of… *checks notes* The Matrix Online is one thing… but then to totally waste a rad Yahya is another

- any real meaningful stakes? Forget about it!

-…

Over here yelling "are they pulling a star trek vi?!" during the hospital scene while my fiancée looks at me in a real "welp, this is my life" kind of way

Cary Grant does not look good in aviator goggles, ergo nobody looks good in aviator goggles