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  • A Nightmare on Elm Street

    A Nightmare on Elm Street

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

    I was idly thinking while watching this that there might be a case for Wes Craven as something of a parallel to Brian De Palma, focused on the horror genre rather than the Hitchcockian thriller. (Despite the influence of horror, De Palma has never really made a horror film. I don't really count Carrie because its structure, climaxing dramatically long after its most frightening moments—or maybe that's just my sensibilities speaking—is more invested in the plot's psychodrama than in pure…

  • Hi, Mom!

    Hi, Mom!

    Hi, Mom! is Brian De Palma's "Jean-Luc Godard makes a porno." Because, after all, if Godard did make porn, he would undoubtedly seek to analyze desire, so to speak, and break it down into its constituent parts, forming links with the rest of the world. This process of linking is central to Hi, Mom!, which intercuts between story lines that are initially separate, one (focusing on the film's protagonist, Robert De Niro's Jon Rubin, who begins as an amateur pornographer)…

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  • All That Heaven Allows

    All That Heaven Allows

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

    A deer enters the scene during the final image, as if to suggest that this union of widow Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) and Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson), her former gardener turned tree farmer, has been enshrined by God and Nature. Melodrama is a genre uniquely capable of fashioning such transcendental pairings, couples that simply must be together, and Sirk cultivates images of his couple that take them out of the coarse, material world and raise them up, turning them into…

  • Eyes Wide Shut

    Eyes Wide Shut

    ★★★★★

    What's conspicuous about Eyes Wide Shut is the way it repeatedly declines to ratchet up the suspense, even though it obviously could. It's a film less about suspense than (suspended) tension between two poles held firmly in place, so that the pervading feelings and themes hang over the film like a dark cloud, smothering and choking the atmosphere. Dualistic to its core, Eyes Wide Shut explores a number of dichotomies that end up standing as firmly as they ever did…