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  • Black Mirror: Nosedive

    Black Mirror: Nosedive


    Predictable, and phenomenally irritating in its predictability from the title on down. The exposition is clumsy, the world-building flimsy, and both problems play into the other, e.g. why do the co-workers need to explain things to Bryce Dallas Howard when she should know the system as well as they do? Why does it take just a handful of bad ratings to send her down? I say this after working for a stressful "rate your delivery driver!" job last year, so…

  • Starship Troopers

    Starship Troopers


    Obviously it's satire, maybe even the most blatant satire of all Paul Verhoeven's American movies, where the whole point of it is to watch a jingoistic sci-fi war movie through the thin gloss of, "You know these people are dumb brats and their mission has no morality underlying it, right?" The chintzy promotional films are the tell (and they lead the movie off, just like the TV broadcast in RoboCop), but the visual style is so aggressively flat at every…

Popular reviews

  • Body Double

    Body Double


    Rising Below Vulgarity
    Part 16 of a Brian De Palma Retrospective

    With Body Double, we reach the last of an 11-year cycle of increasingly violent murder-mysteries/horror thrillers/crime sagas/musical parodies for De Palma known simply as his ‘red’ period, and the funny thing is, it’s the only one that could fall into any one of those genres, so it comes with an extra degree of finality as a summing up of who De Palma was at that point in the 1980s.…

  • Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes


    You Don’t Get Rid of a Whole System Because of a Few Bugs

    Part 24 of a Brian De Palma Retrospective

    And here’s where I go from being a mild De Palma skeptic to being a total contrarian.

    To wit, after Mission: Impossible’s phenomenal success at the box office, it seemed like Brian De Palma was back on top: not just a lowly studio outsider who occasionally made big movies, but a full-fledged A-list director who could do whatever he…