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  • Zombie Flesh Eaters

    Zombie Flesh Eaters

    Post-narrative. This is not to confirm the common (mis)conception that Fulci is narratively inept (this idea is directly contrasted earlier in his career: Don't Torture a Duckling is a fluid network narrative decades ahead of the vogue; Beatrice Cenci cogently layers differing flashbacks, investigations, and personal reflections). Rather, Fulci here begins his radical stage (culminating in the films he'd make in the 1980s) of dismantling linear plot in order to explore ideas or aesthetics.

    Fulci, however, does not fully abandon…

  • Predator

    Predator

    Not as fluid as McTiernan films to come -- he finessed his cutting philosophy with Frank Urioste and Jan de Bont during the production and post-production of Die Hard -- but clearly, robustly the work of a born filmmaker. Not only for his ability to create space out of the jungle, but also for his ability to give a plastic reality to thought and emotion through the camera.

    The long takes are unassuming yet sinuous: a dolly shot of the…

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  • Blood and Black Lace

    Blood and Black Lace

    One wants to write unreservedly on Mario Bava ― his formalism invites effusion, and his films repeatedly present characteristic ironies and a morbid aestheticization. And yet we’re confronted, in auteurist terms, with a black hole. True, this is much the essence of auteurism in general, to varying degrees of intensity: we project into myths, or project myths onto workers or artisans. Bava challenges because he gave us so little but derision of his own handiwork, and because, circling his event…

  • The Whip and the Body

    The Whip and the Body

    Bava pulls from sunset over sea to color his interiors — purples, blues, teals & greens, the burning of reds and oranges — but these are also colors of mortification, bruising, wounds. The blue of the sea and green of sickly flesh, the purple of twilight and that of lash marks on pale skin. The red-orange disc of the sun, the deeper red of a rose, the bloom of blood on cloth: the sun sets, the rose withers, and people die.…

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  • Zack Snyder's Justice League

    Zack Snyder's Justice League

    There will be plenty of other reviews covering this film's themes, relationship to its predecessors, etc., so just a brief note on its form. Because what struck me, on first viewing (even on a sub-optimal rip), was its ability to inspire awe in the superheroic -- no small feat on a desktop screen, in a questionably chosen aspect ratio. Actual wonder in the spectacle.

    The similarities to the Whedon cut only make Snyder's unique action that much more palpable. And…

  • Die Hard

    Die Hard

    Practically a musical, McTiernan, Urioste, Kamen so in tune that it becomes a choreography of formalized emotion and adrenal thrills. The wealth in observation can distract one in multiple interpretive directions -- husband fighting for wife after losing his supremacy in the family, in the ultimate (constantly exploding) phallus; overtures to the fabled end of history: emissaries of multiple continents meeting in one space spliced together from Western modernism and Eastern minimalism, fighting over a vault of bearer bonds, Asian…