Gummo (1997)

Gummo is an imperfect curio, an interesting failure. Harmony Korine’s directorial debut attempts to convey a sense of hollow malaise in a poverty-stricken town while conjuring bizarre imagery that’s disturbing or fascinating – often both. There are frequent demonstrations of Korine’s abundant ability: it’s not hard to draw a line between a scrawny adolescent lifting…

Upstream Color (2013)

Upstream Color is strongly inspired by Terence Malick’s filmography, whether it’s borrowing particular shots or themes – a hand gently brushing across a surface, a flock of birds silhouetted against a pale sky – or appropriating the feel of his films. The resemblance surprised me given director Shane Carruth’s last movie, the intensely intellectual time…

Double Feature: Paprika (2006) and Inception (2010)

(Double Feature is a series of “double length” (400-word) posts where I’ll discuss two related pop culture artifacts) Inception was a critical and commercial success, a cerebral blockbuster nonetheless filled with action. It’s unique in that it’s successful, high budget film from the last decade that’s based on an original idea. The film has even…

Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)

Ju-On: The Grudge is apparently the scariest Japanese horror film ever, and it’s certainly filled with memorably creepy images: children’s hands running through someone’s hair in the shower or ghostly figures emerging from beneath the bedsheets to drag people away to oblivion. The film has a scrappy, low budget feeling which is actually an asset…

Harland’s Half Acre by David Malouf

Truly talented artists seem impenetrable: how can a person produce something transcendent, beyond and yet encapsulating human experience? Many artists seem more than human, the idiosyncrasies and oddities that allow them to complete their work characterising them as “eccentric.” The subject of Harland’s Half Acre, Frank Harland is such an artist, an impossibly talented painter…