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  • Beeswax

    Beeswax

    ★★★½

    Bujalski going with a chill Austin flow that consistently tinkers with our predisposition towards conventional conflict, much like an impromptu soccer game going on down the street that you may or may not participate in. You think characters are set to blow-up at each other, but people just keep moving laterally towards the next uneventful interaction. Nothing is made of Merill yelling at Jeannie in the car or Lauren and Merill laying down together in bed; I was positive that…

  • Naked Lunch

    Naked Lunch

    ★★★½

    Second viewing, but the first in a long while. In many ways, this pairing of artists, decades apart, feels like destiny. The "Talking Asshole" speech is lifted straight from Burrough's text, while Cronenberg practically lives for orifices personified, with lines like "he specializes in sexual ambivalence" working as a summation of his whole career. It's a great bit of synergy and surely one of the wildest studio films ever produced. Why I've slightly downgraded it this time around has something…

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  • The Grand Budapest Hotel

    The Grand Budapest Hotel

    ★★★★½

    In a tight race with Rushmore for the top bill on my nerdy Wes rankings. All the Wes movies have the same current running through them – each constantly in dialogue with the others – but I feel like GBH is his first film that’s actually about artifice, in all its glory, both good and bad – a lifestyle choice that evaporated upon the invasion of rude men, etc. Gustave has Zero tagging along behind him, furiously taking down pointers…

  • Sucker Punch

    Sucker Punch

    ★★★

    Between this and Inception, 2011 had a lot of F/X operating in total free space, both of which are metaphors for the reconstruction / meditation on the artistic process. I actually prefer Snyder's fascination with Pixies' remixes, hot chicks and killer slow-motion (to the bloated guilt and corporate espionage of Inception), though the asinine epilogue, where dreary reflection meets moronic theorizing - "whose story is this?" nonsense - is evidence of Snyder's limitations. Visual communication is repetitive, albeit distinct: two…