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Cinematheque

The Narrative of Heartbreak and “Big” (1988)

In a flash Amy was able to transform our hetero-normative experience back into something she was more comfortable with, her own safe space of gender neutrality, with the magic words: "get this shit off me." Tossing her the tissue box, I chastised her for breaking the narrative, something usually reserved for slightly longer than fifteen seconds after sex. Amy may have rolled her eyes, but the fact of the matter remains: sex is the narrative of attraction. For the red-hot 20 minutes I spent with

Authenticity and “The Cable Guy”

There was a gleam in her eye when “Ghostbusters” (2016) came up in the group’s discussion. She corrected the speaker, a male, who didn’t make an elaborate point to reference the movie’s notorious gender component- “the new Ghostbusters” he offhandedly called it, but this was “girl Ghostbusters,” she said with pride. After all, she was a high school Science teacher and this was a victory with which she could attach herself. This attachment was the point, existing independently of the movie. She m

Dunkirk: Can the English Get Home?

The Enemy has the English and French armies surrounded at Dunkirk. We never see the faces of the Enemy. The score of Dunkirk is incessant and driving. The film is a masterpiece. I was skeptical that this military disaster could be rendered as something heroic. Christopher Nolan has captured a change in the zeitgeist. This may be first patriotic movie of the 21st Century. “When 400,000 men couldn’t get home, home came for them.” The Enemy had bombed the British fleet and the main port facilities

Inherent Vice and Virtue

Against the backdrop of sun-drenched coastal California landscapes and the seedy dregs of underworld intrigue, what emerges into the fore of Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice is a familiar opposition. Driving the action is the dialectic between the Squares and the Subversives, the Straights and the Slackers, the powers-that-be and the refuse on the fringes of society. As a hippy-doper P.I., Doc Sportello (played by Joaquin Phoenix, though Robert Downey Jr. was originally slated for the role)

Leviathans: Russian and American

There Will be Spoilers The 2014 Russian film Leviathan opens with a series of gray, foreboding landscape shots along the ocean, culminating in a wide angle shot of a house near a bridge on the edge of a body of water. This is the family home of Dima, who has a teenage son and young wife. At the climax of the film, the camera retreats to this identical angle showing the same landscape, except replacing that house in the foreground is a new Orthodox church—its bells ringing out—and parking lot. Th

Reaction in the Prestige Drama

There is a hunger in the human being for the real and the beautiful. Though the reigning Neoliberal order does much to damage this desire, in addition to whatever we contribute ourselves, it is a fundamental constituent of being human. However degraded the tediously shallow and nihilistic hellscape of postmodern American—or rather Anglo—popular culture may be, we can still find evidence of this hunger running like a counter-current to the dominant flow of degeneracy. The appearance and success o

Saving Private Spielberg: Moral Cowardice And The Modern War Film

War films are, in many ways, the bread and butter of the Hollywood memeplex, as they provide the opportunity for both profit taking and the promotion of Ideology. There are obviously many examples of this, but few of them ever come close to eclipsing the soggy ball of kitsch and sentimentality which was Steven Spielberg's 1998 Blockbuster "Saving Private Ryan." The film managed to be both a critical darling as well as a cash cow for the studios. Much of its dual popularity was due to the, now f

Religious Cinema In The Current Year

With religious identification on the decline in America and general religious knowledge and awareness at an abysmal nadir, especially among the elites who run the country, the antireligious and areligious refuse that dominates Hollywood and the entertainment industry is not particularly surprising. While America is renowned as the most gauche western nation when it comes to its embrace and trumpeting of Christian religion, this is a somewhat dated characterization. Not only is explicit religiou