Favorite films

  • The Night of the Hunter
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Pee-wee's Big Adventure

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  • The Painted Bird

  • Come and See

    ★★★½

  • The Crying Game

    ★★★★

  • Fast Company

    ★★

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  • The Birth of a Nation

    The Birth of a Nation

    Put a lot of research into our 10th episode of Unwatchables, where we tackle the most vilely racist “great film” ever to reinvent the medium. We dive deep into the historical context, including the film’s hideous ideology, its unprecedented success and technical innovations, and how figures like D.W. Griffith and Woodrow Wilson grappled with the controversy they didn’t see coming. In the end we try to figure out what The Birth of a Nation means in 2022, and more fundamentally:…

  • Funny Games

    Funny Games

    ★★★★½

    It’s Michael Haneke week on Unwatchables, featuring two films as artful as they are harrowing: 1997’s meta thriller Funny Games and the devastating 2012 Palme d’Or winner Amour. We grapple with the director’s penchant for truly unwatchable ordeals, his formidable filmmaking prowess, and exactly where he gets off scolding us for watching his own riveting horror film. Listen on Spotify, Anchor, or any podcast platform. (Or as always, opt for the extended video edition on YouTube!)

    (BEWARE SPOILERS IN VERY…

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  • The Crying Game

    The Crying Game

    ★★★★

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

    I was nervous about how this would play 30 years after its release, since in terms of trans representation onscreen, 1992 might as well be 1922. I had also already praised it on the Unwatchables bonus Pride Month episode (originally a Patreon-only episode focusing on “Watchable” LGBT films, now unlocked while we take a few weeks off) before revisiting it first. Namely it’s the way the big “reveal” is handled, and the marketing campaign that focused on not spoiling the…

  • Fast Company

    Fast Company

    ★★

    In terms of one-off detours taken by otherwise distinctive genre auteurs, this fits neatly alongside outliers like George Romero’s Knightriders or John Carpenter’s Starman (ok, maybe that’s a two-off; I still haven’t seen Memoirs of an Invisible Man). The difference is that you could never accuse Knightriders of being impersonal, or Starman of being deadly dull, whereas Fast Company is guilty on both counts. I can’t remember the last time I was so bored by a film that I had…

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  • Rabid

    Rabid

    ★★★

    Now here’s where things get interesting. Rabid is a much sturdier, and distinctively Cronenberg-ian, twist on the zombie/vampire film than Shivers, making for an appropriately surgical hybrid of horror genres. Just the sheer weirdness of the premise distinguishes it: an outbreak of a rabies-like plague caused by a single person feeding off victims with her mutant armpit opening, the result of an experimental skin graft gone wrong. That bodily extremity, an impressively gross cross between phallic and vaginal imagery, is…

  • Shivers

    Shivers

    ★★½

    David Cronenberg’s first “proper” feature is a slightly better-than-average horror cheapie that introduces some of the director’s pet themes without quite suggesting a legend in the making. As a career blueprint, Shivers is still something of a baby step towards going full auteur; for all the talk of parasites and humanity’s murderous sexual impulses, in practice this boils down to a zombie film by way of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It actually plays more like an early Romero film:…