To officially conclude this year’s Extra Milestone lineup, Jon Negroni and Will Ashton of the Cinemaholics podcast joined forces with me one last time to discuss two distinct (and oddly holiday-centric) auteur-driven classics. We start our conversation by digging through the muck of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, a bureaucratic odyssey of madness often regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. After that, we jump forward to Edward Scissorhands, an intensely personal story from Tim Burton that is both lighthearted and melancholy, and which has affected us all at one point or another.
Welcome to (perhaps) the largest Extra Milestone yet! In an Anyway, That’s All I Got reunion for the ages, I’m joined by Anthony Battaglia, Guy Simons Jr., and Jason Read to discuss three of the biggest epics of the 21st century! First up is Barry Lyndon, the passion project of Stanley Kubrick released in 1975, and a film that’s quite well-loved among hardcore cinephiles. After that, we circle back to Spartacus, an earlier Kubrick film that is rarely discussed in the context of his filmography, and perhaps for just reason! Finally, we jump forward to another one of the great directors with Ran, Akira Kurosawa’s massive and operatic masterpiece from 1985, and which only one of us had seen!
Emily Kubincanek makes her welcomed and triumphant return to Extra Milestone, and this week’s selections are among the most varied yet! We begin by celebrating the 95-year anniversary of Sergei Eisenstein’s magnum opus Battleship Potemkin, a film more fundamentally significant than almost any other when it comes to the art form of editing and propaganda storytelling. After that, we take a lighthearted and melancholy stroll into the world of Henry Koster’s Harvey, a rich and complex comedy featuring one of the best performances by the great James Stewart. Finally, we get to the bottom of Jonathan Lynn’s Clue, a cult-classic murder mystery that neither of us had seen before, and were delighted to discover was great!
This week on Extra Milestone, I’m joined by returning guest and fellow cinephile Andrew McMahon to break down an enticing double feature spanning numerous decades and genres. First up is a cinematic and musical appetizer in the form of Gimme Shelter, the iconic Rolling Stones documentary directed by Charlotte Zwerin and the Maysles Brothers, chronicling the doomed Altamont Speedway concert outside of San Francisco in December of 1969, a tragic failure that swiftly signaled the downfall of the Counterculture Movement. After that, we jump forward to Michael Mann’s Heat, a stylish and captivating crime drama featuring the first onscreen collaboration between Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, and which has maintained its legacy as one of the best films of its kind.
This week on Extra Milestone, I’m joined once more by my good friend Guy Simons Jr. to dissect a pair of (relatively) recent classics that have garnered acclaim over the years, and which have almost nothing whatsoever to do with each other! First up is Pixar’s groundbreaking debut feature Toy Story, the first-ever wholly computer animated movie that has gained a reputation as an indispensable landmark in special effects and storytelling. After that, we jump ahead to M. Night Shyamalan’s unconventional superhero story Unbreakable, a grounded deconstruction of the genre that arrived before cinema as a whole had become swept up in comic book storytelling, and which has amassed a sizable (and well-earned) cult following.
Even in the midst of a year as hectic and unconventional as this one, Oscar season is still in full swing when it comes to this week’s selection of heavy hitters. Joining me once again for the first time in nearly three years is Maria Garcia, my former partner in crime from such shows as Now Conspiring and Part-Time Characters, and we’re discussing two films often hailed as being among the greatest of all time! We begin with Raging Bull, the morally complex sports biopic that saved Martin Scorsese’s life and has developed a widely varied legacy, and which one of us isn’t especially fond of! From there, we rewind the clock to visit Miloš Forman’s award season darling One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a wholly unique classic within film history that holds up wonderfully to this day.
To close out the month of October, we’re reviewing two of the best films of the 1950s, and also trying out a new format for the show! First up is my conversation with Rob Wilkinson on Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve, an all-star drama with a record-breaking number of Oscar nominations, and which happens to be a fantastic exploration of the unforgiving theater world. After that, I chat with my Anyway, That’s All I Got cohost Anthony Battaglia about Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without A Cause, a landmark teen drama featuring an indelible posthumous performance by James Dean, and which is also fantastic!
We’ve finally hit a dud! The local drunkard in an Old West town receives a surprising visit from fate one day, and what happens next may change his own life – and the lives of others – for good. It’s the third proper episode of The Twilight Zone, it’s one that just doesn’t function at the end of the day, and we’re here to figure out why. Tune in to the Cinemaholics Patreon to hear our analysis of the episode’s various thematic leanings, the reason why this one feels so darn weird compared to the others, how it fits into the greater Twilight Zone lore, and more!
Adonis Gonzalez, my cohost on A Nice Place to Visit and Game Over, Man!, is back on the show to discuss a trio of movies that have nothing to do with each other…or do they? Tune in to hear our conversation on Kevin Costner’s Oscar-Winning epic Dances With Wolves, John Sturges’ iconic western remake The Magnificent Seven, and Charles Burnett’s engrossing family drama To Sleep With Anger!
Adonis and Sam are back after an unexpected hiatus to continue the Alien/Predator saga with Stephen Hopkins’ sequel to John McTiernan’s introduction to the Predator, Predator 2! It’s a film that has received a mixed reaction over time, and the two of us certainly have some words for this film. Tune in to the Cinemaholics Patreon to hear what we had to say!
Will Ashton returns to Extra Milestone yet again to chart an unusual cinematic path across the 1980s and 1990s! We begin with an examination of David Lynch’s The Elephant Man, including our thoughts on the story’s emotional core, trivia on why the film is significant to the history of the academy, our impressions of David Lynch, and more! From there, we return to the films of Martin Scorsese with After Hours, an unusual and underseen comedic outing from the acclaimed director, and we close out the show by bringing the films of Abbas Kiarostami into focus with Close-Up, a hybrid documentary exploring the very nature and function of cinema.
Guy Simons Jr. (of Anyway, That’s All I Got fame) joins me for the first time on Extra Milestone for a special Halloween episode devoted to two of the greatest serial killer movies of all time! Kicking off our conversation is Alfred Hitchcock’s game-changing masterpiece Psycho, including the unique and revolutionary distribution of the film, the ways in which it insidiously sets itself apart from every other movie, whether or not it should be considered a ‘slasher,’ and more! After that, we jump forward to David Fincher’s haunting detective thriller Se7en, a movie which one of us had somehow never seen until now! We also discuss the film’s somewhat troubled legacy, the ways in which it has infiltrated the internet consciousness, and even some valuable insight on whether or not it should be viewed as an optimistic film!
It’s the second official episode of The Twilight Zone, and it may be one of the best! A traveling salesman (Ed Wynn) is visited by the specter of death (Murray Hamilton), and the two of us have some (many) questions! Tune in to the Cinemaholics Patreon to hear why we connect to this episode so heavily, the ways in which it encapsulates everything that makes the show awesome, and even our incredibly bizarre idea for an entire series that could spin off from this episode!
Cinemaholics host Jon Negroni returns to Extra Milestone for a double feature of two of the greatest films of all time! We start by discussing Sidney Lumet’s 1975 crime thriller Dog Day Afternoon, a revolutionary and dynamic film that remains just as relevant 45 years later, if not even more so. From there, we move on to Martin Scorsese’s career-defining classic Goodfellas, which we believe may potentially hold the title as the greatest gangster film of them all, in addition to being expertly crafted in every way.
We’ve met the Aliens, but the time has come at last to face the Predators. This week on Game Over, Man!, Sam and Adonis are taking their first departure from the Alien series to take a look back at John McTiernan’s sophomore feature Predator! If that weren’t enough, one of the hosts isn’t a fan of the movie, making this our first major disagreement! Tune in to the Cinemaholics Patreon to hear how James Cameron serendipitously influenced the design of the Predator, why the hosts are of two different minds, who they actually think would win if a Predator and a Xenomorph were to face off, and more!
Emily Kubincanek returns to Extra Milestone at last, and in no small fashion! We’re diving headfirst into the most Classic of Cinema with two brilliant films that connect to the Silent Era! First up is Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, a dramatic comedy featuring Chaplin’s ‘Little Tramp’ that cemented many dramatic traditions while simultaneously telling a heartfelt and humorous story! From there, we jump forward to Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, which examines the world of showbusiness, the remnants of the Silent Era, and the widespread sacrifices found in Hollywood living through a melancholy lens steeped in Film Noir tradition.
A man with no memory of his identity wakes up near a small town that’s completely abandoned…or is it? It’s the very first *actual* episode of The Twilight Zone, and we’re joined by our longtime friend and podcast collaborator Bridget Serdock to discuss it! Is it an effective introduction to the series at large? How does this unusual scenario tap into universal anxieties? Does it actually make scientific sense once the twist is revealed? And what would we do with an entire town to ourselves? Find out in the dimension which we call: A Nice Place to Visit.
The pairings keep getting stranger and stranger every week, and this week’s show is no exception! Special guest Ryan Oliver joins Sam and Jon to tackle two very different classics, starting with Akira Kurosawa’s massively influential 1950 arthouse classic Rashomon. We discuss everything from our differing experiences with the film, how multiple viewings have yielded different interpretations, and why the film has remained so meaningful even after 70 years. After that, we take a huge left turn toward Transylvania to examine the legacy and power of Jim Sharman’s 1975 genre-defining cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which one of us doesn’t like! It’s another collection of varied experiences complete with a litany of recommendations to go along with both films!
In our first Patron-Exclusive podcast, we’re continuing the Alien franchise with James Cameron’s Aliens, the pluralized sequel that shook the world! Sigourney Weaver returns as Ellen Ripley in an Oscar-nominated role that pits her, a team of memorable space marines, and a young orphaned girl against an entire hive of deadly Xenomorphs, and it’s even better than the original! Tune in on the Cinemaholics Patreon to hear us discuss the brilliant character interactions, effective and efficiently-produced scares, and even the deeper implications on the potential of humanity!
To officially commence the Milestone month of August, Will Ashton and Andrew McMahon make their long-awaited returns to help break down a unique and unexpected triple feature, the likes of which the podcast world may have never seen before. We begin with an analysis of Barbara Loden’s Wanda, the first film to be written, directed, and led by a female filmmaker. We follow this up with a look back at Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, the iconic feature debut of Tim Burton. Finally, we dive into the work of the great Agnès Varda with an observational look at her acclaimed and influential film Vagabond.
Welcome to the very first episode of A NICE PLACE TO VISIT, the *other* Patreon exclusive podcast hosted by Adonis Gonzalez and Sam Noland! This is the show where we’re going to be reviewing every episode of The Twilight Zone, and to kick things off we’re talking about…a different show entirely?! Before Rod Serling’s vision officially came to fruition in 1959, the show’s concept was introduced in a 1958 episode of the anthology series Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, and was introduced by none other than the great Desi Arnaz! Starring William Bendix and Martin Balsam, The Time Element tells the story of a man haunted by a recurring dream that may be more supernatural than anyone thinks. Does this episode properly establish the tone of The Twilight Zone? Does it even make sense in spite of that? What recurring dreams have Adonis and Sam had? And how would we react to traveling through time? Find out in the dimension which we call: A NICE PLACE TO VISIT.
Things are getting real heavy this week, because Adonis Gonzalez is here to talk about the two best movies of 1985, which happen to be radically different from one another! We start with a harrowing exploration of Elem Klimov’s Come and See, an anti-war film depicting the Nazi invasion of Belorussia through the eyes of a young boy. We discuss the history of the film’s reputation, the drama associated with the production, the way that it emerges as (potentially) the only War movie that actually matters, and why we find it so difficult to even recommend. After that, we were happy to cleanse our palate with a discussion on Robert Zemeckis’s iconic Sci-Fi Family Comedy Back to the Future, covering its deft narrative construction, effective antagonist, and curious soundtrack decisions, as well as a deserved commendation for the recently deceased Ron Cobb.
Welcome to the very first episode of a new limited podcast series hosted by Sam Noland and Adonis Gonzalez! The two of them have decided to celebrate the spookiest time of year by reviewing every Alien and Predator movie, and they’re starting at the very beginning with none other than Ridley Scott’s landmark 1979 Sci-Fi Horror Classic Alien. Tune in to hear them discuss their experience and familiarity with the film, why it still easily lives up to the hype, behind-the-scenes information, and even a fun scenario on how they would introduce someone to the film for the first time! Give it a listen, and then be sure to sign up for the Cinemaholics Patreon, where the remainder of the episodes will be exclusively available.
Sam Noland is back on Extra Milestone after a week’s respite to take on, along with friend and coworker Robert Wilkinson, two radically different classics. First up is Charles Laughton’s gothic thriller The Night of the Hunter, which stars Robert Mitchum as a psychopathic priest hunting down two children during the Great Depression. Next up on our itinerary is the landmark spoof comedy Airplane!, the laugh-a-minute lampooning of pop cinema celebrating 40 years of making the world howl with laughter.
This week’s Extra Milestone is so iconic that we may just need a bigger boat. Anthony Battaglia reunites with Sam to discuss two immensely significant blockbusters that have irreparably shaped the cinematic landscape. We start with a discussion on Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, including our differing experiences with the movie, our appreciation for the writing and acting, differences from Peter Benchley’s novel, a confession as to our shared fear of open water, and even an extremely hot take involving the infamous sequels! After we dry off from that conversation, we take an isolated look at Irvin Kershner’s The Empire Strikes Back and how it changed Star Wars (and sequels in general) forever, why it maintains its effectiveness after dozens of viewings, why we can never view the Dagobah sequence the same way again, whether or not it contains the best lightsaber battle ever, and the dichotomy between good and evil that was solidified in this film.
It’s all play and no work on this week’s Extra Milestone, because Jason Read has returned to the show to discuss a trio of very different movies. We begin with a detailed exploration of Stanley Kubrick’s Horror masterpiece The Shining, complete with reflections on why the terror of it is so effective, analyses of the movie’s themes and mysteries, a discussion of why method acting is a flawed and unnecessary process, and even a few personal stories that relate to the movie. Afterward, we take on Joe Dante’s Gremlins, stopping along the way to discuss its implementation of cinematic language, its historical significance, and all of the darkly comedic chaos that comes with it. Finally, we cap off the show with a fittingly sporadic look at Dante’s oft-overlooked sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch, which is one of the most entertaining movies either of us have ever seen, as well as being a knowing satire of culture stuffed with enough cameos and mania to last a lifetime.
Thanks to Disney’s Star Girl, I already know a movie like this — in which some poor young woman shows up from another town and sweeps a completely featureless guy off his feet — can still be made in 2020, but Chemical Hearts somehow takes this worn idea to another level.
In what is certainly the most comedically inclined Extra Milestone yet, I am joined by my very close personal friend Tyler Chambers to discuss a pair of classics within the genre. We begin with a lengthy rundown of Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam’s 1975 cult favorite Monty Python and the Holy Grail, complete with behind-the-scenes stories, details we’ve noticed over the years, our personal experiences with the movie, analyses of the film’s comedic stylings, and revisits of our favorite sequences. Then we move on to John Landis’s 1980 musical road comedy The Blues Brothers. We discuss the film’s story structure, cast, presentation, and deadpan sense of humor, as well as how all of those things compare and contrast surprisingly well with Holy Grail. Afterward, we both give a recommendation to pair with each movie, some much more unexpected than others!
Jon Negroni makes his long-awaited return to Extra Milestone to investigate Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, one of his very favorite films. For 60 years, the film has gained a reputation of being one of the most insightful and layered journeys of World Cinema, and I had a wonderful time learning about its many rich cinematic attributes from Jon. Tune in to hear the two of us break down the film’s cinematography, the way it uses the city of Rome to help tell its story, the many exciting chapters that comprise the plot, and more!
Settle in, listeners, because Julia Teti is back for this week’s Extra Milestone, and it’s for an undertaking of very subtle, methodical proportions. Julia and I have decided to touch on the most famous work of the late, great Chantal Akerman with her three-hour 1975 art house classic Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. Celebrating 45 years this past May, the film has been revered by nearly all who have seen it, and continues to signify a wholly unique exploration of a day-to-day life seldom seen to this extent in cinema. With a legacy almost as impressive as its title and runtime, the two of us had plenty to say about this monolithic milestone that continues to have a tremendous impact today.
The summer is about to conclude with a creeping, atmospheric, gory bang, because Emily Kubincanek is back on The Extra Milestone to discuss a trio of Horror Classics! We start with a look at Sean S. Cunningham’s iconic slasher Friday the 13th, and how it sets itself apart from other such films, as well as the excitement of it all that still plays today. We continue with a discussion of James Whale’s sequel Bride of Frankenstein, including the similarities to Mary Shelley’s novel and how Universal crafted a new narrative around the characters. Finally, we dive into the hellish effects showcase that is the late Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator!
Hold on to your helmets, listeners, because the illustrious Julia Teti is back on the Cinemaholics feed! And not a moment too soon, because the two of us are joined by the scintillating Will Ashton to make Extra Milestone history by tackling our second Best Picture Winner, our second 1930s Film, and our first War (and Anti-War) Film with Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front! Celebrating 90 years this past April, the film has built a deserved legacy of being one of the most effective condemnations of combat and warfare in cinema history, and the three of us have plenty to say to support that. The film’s storied production, its unique and controversial release, its eternal relevancy, and much more are discussed, and we even take the time to recommend some complimentary films! You’re not gonna want to miss this one.
In what will likely go down as the nerdiest and most esoteric Extra Milestone yet, I am joined by my good friend and fellow hardcore cinephile Andrew McMahon to discuss a pair of significant, influential, and all-around great films. We begin with a lengthy discussion of Michelangelo Antonioni’s reflective 1975 thriller The Passenger, in addition to Antonioni’s career as a whole that we’re familiar with, followed by a look at Michael Powell’s career-ending 1960 horror film Peeping Tom. We get into a lot of exciting history and interconnectivity to the greater cinematic art form over the course of both conversations, and we hope it’s just as fun to listen to as it was to record.
Promises are being fulfilled left and right on this week’s Extra Milestone, in which the long-awaited debut of podcast veteran Adonis Gonzalez finally takes place! Adonis and I have a trio of dramatically contrasting movies to discuss, starting with a lengthy exploration of John Ford’s depression-era adaptation of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. We continue with a discussion of Ishirō Honda’s character-defining Kaijū film (as well as Godzilla’s Shōwa Era as a whole) with Terror of MechaGodzilla, and we conclude with a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of Dreamworks’s How to Train Your Dragon. It was great to podcast with Adonis once more, and we hope to unite even more in the future. Enjoy!
In what will go down as the very first triple header in Extra Milestone history, I am joined once again by Anyway, That’s All I Got veteran Jason Read! Jason and I take a look at both the French New Wave and the work of Jean-Luc Godard with Breathless (1960), explore a fantastic and somewhat lesser-known horror classic with Eyes Without A Face (1960), and round out the show with an exploration of the Giallo subgenre and the work of Dario Argento with the fiendishly frightening Deep Red (1975). Although we went heavily into detail with Breathless, we took special care not to give too much away about the latter two films, so feel free to listen to those segments whether they are old favorites or completely new to you. It’s a delightful series of conversations that traverses a broad section of the cinematic landscape, and we hope it’s just as fun to listen to as it was to record!
I saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on opening night, and I doubt I could’ve been less excited for it. So much venom had been spewed at the Star Wars brand by this point, so even mentioning the name of certain chapters came at the risk of actually losing friendships. What’s more, its release signaled the start of what all of my work supervisors assured me would be the most hectic few weeks in our theater’s short history — now, of course, I would practically kill for those days — and my sense of dread was simply too powerful to ignore.
Eight complete strangers sectioned off into four curiously matched pairs awaken in various rooms of an unfamiliar suburban house. None of them can recall how they may have gotten there, nor is there any apparent method of exit. For the foreseeable future, they’re trapped, and none of them are alone. So describes the events of The Doors Between Us, a micro-indie film produced in Lakewood, Colorado, which held its one-night-only premiere on a single, exciting evening back in December.
The time has come yet again for you, our most loyal and dedicated of listeners, to do the hardest part of our job for us by deciding which film to delve into on the next Extra Milestone! February yielded a fascinating and varied selection, and it was hard enough to narrow it down to a measly seven. But now is the time to select the ultimate winner. You may choose from the following:
Here on Cinemaholics, we don’t just stop with current realms of cinema. Once a month, we take a trip back in time to look at a film that has gone the extra mile to remain relevant all these years later. But selecting that film isn’t always easy! Welcome to this month’s Extra Milestone Poll, in which YOU get to decide what we break down on our next episode.
The Skywalker Saga as we know it has been over for the better part of a month now, so Jon and I decided that it would be a fun idea to go over the 42-year-old (and counting!) history of the Star Wars Galaxy. The two of us spent nearly three hours presenting our carefully constructed individual rankings of the films (ALL of them), making plenty of stops along the way to justify our varied positions.
It might be several weeks late, but July’s EXTRA MILESTONE is here! With Jon away on vacation, Will Ashton and Sam Noland decided to tackle not one, but two notable classics celebrating anniversaries. First up is Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider, the counterculture classic celebrating its 50th anniversary, followed by Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, the eternally relevant commentary on racial tensions celebrating its 30th anniversary.
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the infamous Manson Murders — a tragic chain of senseless killings irreparably changing the world forever, and once broadly referred to by Don McLean as one of “the days the music died.” As is true with just about any point in time of this historical caliber, these events have been dramatized in various ways via the cinematic medium. With three films on the subject being distributed this year alone, I decided the time was right to witness and rank each and every one of them that I could get my hands on.
The time has come yet again for a new release to be completely steamrolled at the box office by an installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and shamefully so, if you ask me. The unfortunate and doomed film comes this time in the form of A24’s Midsommar, a folk mystery/thriller from Hereditary director Ari Aster, which just so happens to be one of the best movies of the year.
This past weekend saw the release of Danny Boyle’s Yesterday, a high-concept dram-com with a hint of romance in which an unprecedented global anomaly erases The Beatles (among other cultural bullet points) from history. The Fab Four are allowed to live on, however, in the baffled memory of struggling musician Jack (Himesh Patel), the only one with any understanding of what’s happened.
The seventh film in the Conjuring series and the third to focus on the now-famous Annabelle doll comes to us from first-time director Gary Dauberman, who previously wrote the first two Annabelle films and co-wrote The Nun, as well as the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s It.
When it came to selecting the Movie of the Week, there was no clearer choice than George A. Romero’s inimitable classic Night of the Living Dead, especially with the recent release of Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die, which was heavily inspired by the 1968 film. Night of the Living Dead wasn’t the first film to feature the undead, but it is widely considered to be the definitive introduction for mainstream audiences. The mythology it established all those years ago continues to be the standard for almost every other zombie movie, TV show, or other medium in the genre to come out since.
It’s been two weeks since the release of Michael Dougherty’s long-awaited sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which hit theaters to a mixed critical reaction and moderate financial success. It hasn’t received the widespread enthusiasm Legendary and Warner Bros. were likely hoping for, but the film does contribute to the now 65-year old legacy of the world’s favorite giant monster in more ways than one.
Over the past 65 years, there have been 35 films featuring Godzilla (or 38 if you’re being technical), a super-powered reptilian giant and titan of the ancient world, born against his will from the complicit ashes of mankind’s mistakes. He’s a rightful god among monsters and humans alike, and such is the case in this latest outing of the world’s favorite monster, in which there might be some serious competition for the title of “King.”
John Ronald Reuel (J.R.R.) Tolkien, author of such high fantasy novels as The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, was recently the subject of Dome Karukoski’s Tolkien, a new biopic about the prolific author produced by Fox Searchlight Pictures and released through Disney last weekend.
For reasons that may be obvious, critically analyzing a film intended for children can be a difficult task. There’s a prevailing notion that kids, due to their general lack of experience, have very low standards and will eat up whatever colorful media they’re given. There may certainly be some truth to that sentiment, given that children and adults consume art very differently, but one of our responsibilities as critics is to thoroughly clarify how disparate age groups might react to a film, especially one made for kids to enjoy.
The Curse of La Llorona is the sixth film in the ongoing Conjuring series. Released through Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema, the film is helmed by first-time director Michael Chaves (the director of next year’s The Conjuring 3), written by Mikki Daughtry & Tobias Iaconis, and stars Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, and Patricia Velásquez. The story is based on the Mexican folklore of La Llorona, also known as The Weeping Woman, and follows Anna (Cardellini), a widowed mother of two in 1970s Los Angeles, who must protect her children from the supernatural entity in question (Marisol Ramirez).
Slut in a Good Way is directed by French-Canadian actress Sophie Lorain and stars Marguerite Bouchard, Romane Denis, and Rose Adam as Charlotte, Mégane, and Aube respectively, a trio of teenage girls who are hired to work part-time at a toy store during the winter holidays. Over the course of the season, they each engage in various romantic and sexual exploits with their coworkers and are suddenly forced to reckon with the frustrations and uncertainties that arise when it comes to adult relationships.
It’s been some time since I’ve been completely and utterly transfixed by a film. It happened quite often back when I started to really dive into cinema; it was only 2015, but it seems like a thousand years ago, and I remember everything I watched seeming so unique and tantalizing at the time. Naturally, the frequency of this sensation started to die out as my knowledge grew, and it slowly began to take a lot more for a movie to truly knock my socks off.
Originating from the German Expressionist movement of the early 20th century, film noir is a corner of cinema often reduced to a shallow microcosm of its time period. It’s a genre that has been worked in ever since the 1930s, but the most common association with noir is made to the stylish, studio-mandated crime dramas of the 1940s. Production-code-overseen stories of bitter detectives, steely romantic interests, and Tommy Gun-toting gangsters punctuating every sentence with “See?” are typically conjured up when thinking of the prototypical noir story, but there’s a distinct tonal influence hovering over these films, setting them apart from other thrillers. This is the compelling narrative underpinning the Criterion Channel’s choice for our 8th Movie of the Week.
It’s been half a century since the significant culminating events of the Space Race, and the film landscape is making good on celebrating this milestone. 2018 saw several high-profile releases for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, plus there was the debut of First Man, Damien Chazelle’s fantastic Neil Armstrong biopic. And even more recently, there was the 2019 IMAX release of Apollo 11, Todd Douglas Miller’s fascinating documentary. Not to be outdone, the Criterion Collection recently offered the acclaimed documentary For All Mankind to early subscribers of their approaching streaming service.
Captive State has a lot going for it: a talented cast and crew, a solid visual and narrative aesthetic, and an interesting premise rife with potential to explore the faith we bestow upon our leaders. It deeply saddens me, then, to report that the film misses nearly every opportunity to create something meaningful, original, or memorable. It fails to deliver on any of the promises it makes from the outset and winds up feeling like a wholly unrewarding chore to watch.
The Criterion Collection is often revered (rightfully so) for bringing well-deserved attention to the more obscure, lesser-known corners of cinema history. They have highlighted great films that — whether due to poor accessibility or popularity — have been largely forgotten, and those interested enough to take advantage of the opportunity are typically better off as a result. Their sixth movie of the week, available exclusively to charter subscribers of The Criterion Channel, is a prime example of their knack for worthwhile curation and restoration, and it also serves as an exciting sneak peek into a title not yet released on physical media.
For their fifth Movie of the Week, the Criterion Channel has decided to highlight Charles Burnett’s career with his third feature film, To Sleep with Anger, released on October 12, 1990. The familial drama tells the story of Harry (Danny Glover), a mysterious drifter from the Deep South who takes up a temporary residence in the home of an old acquaintance named Gideon (Paul Butler) and his wife Suzie (Mary Alice), as well as their extended family.
For their fourth Movie of the Week, Criterion Channel has wisely decided to highlight Andrei Tarkovsky, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Any one of Tarkovsky’s seven feature-length films released between 1962 and 1986 would make for an excellent showcase of his talent, but it’s only natural that the final choice would be what is perhaps his most talked about film: Stalker. Released in Russia during the spring of 1979 (and a few years later in the U.S.), the film has become a favorite among cinephiles, as well as an undoubtable influence on sci-fi and arthouse fans alike.