cutting room: Tenet is a Love Letter to Bond Movies

Most of Nolan’s movies I like more than I dislike, but I also get turned off by the fussiness and preciousness with which Nolan approaches his concepts and how his films often feel like looking at an MC Escher drawing with someone behind you demanding you see something more profound than what’s actually there. Fortunately, I mostly found Tenet to be a stylish thrill ride that wasn’t begging me to revere it more than it deserved or even care about understanding it that deeply. And I think what makes that possible is that it’s a loving, Byzantine monument to James Bond movies first, and a Chris Nolan joint second.

plug: Live from the Space Stage: A Halyx Story (2020)

It’s hard to remember a time when Disney wasn’t the behemoth media/entertainment empire it is now. But in 1981, the company was a whole different, non-Earth crushing animal. It was on the verge of being bought off and broken up, in fact. And in this transitional period, a small band of folks at Disney Records put together a sci-fi stadium rock band called Halyx. Live from the Space Stage: A Halyx Story is a new documentary that uncovers this fascinating piece of forgotten pop history...

[Movie Review] UNHINGED

If this were a normal, non-pandemic summer, UNHINGED would’ve been exactly the type of B-movie I’d relish seeing at a theater on a hot afternoon – popcorn, maybe a hot dog and a soda in hand, in the company of strangers as ever-so-momentarily carefree as I. So it feels super weird to have watched this strange and scruffy Russell Crowe B-thriller from home on a screener, days before it’s supposed to be the movie that “reopens theaters” in the U.S. All this is to say, be careful out there

plug: Mommie Dearest (1981)

You ever get obsessed with a good movie year? Lately I’ve been really diggin’ 1981. I’m not sure if it’s generally thought of as iconic or important a movie year as, say, 1980 (The Shining, The Empire Strikes Back, Raging Bull — all of which are getting the big 40th anniversary treatment this year), but it should be. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Escape from New York, Scanners, Heavy Metal, The Evil Dead, Excalibur, Blow Out, The Road Warrior, An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Halloween II

plug: Urban Rashomon + Antonyms of Beauty (2013)

Today’s plug is a double feature of 2013 shorts by director Khalik Allah. A street photographer by trade, Allah combines black and white photography with video, film, and running sound to create, as his intro on The Criterion Channel suggests, “dreamlike drifts through the margins of society, gritty and sublime portraits of the disenfranchised and dispossessed that, in their infinite compassion and philosophical insight, achieve an almost spiritual transcendence.”

plug: The Watermelon Woman (1996)

I recently saw a tweet that said “You know what I miss about the 90s? Dark edgy indie films with studio budgets.” You know what, same. But also not. As we (hopefully) head into an era where we rely less on Hollywood to make movies for us and start making them ourselves with technology that’s readily available to literally everyone, we should be looking back at the actual micro-budget, DIY indie films of the 90s for actionable inspiration.


I tend to be a sucker for slashers with “massacre” in the title. From The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (contender for greatest horror movie ever made) to 80s camp classics like The Slumber Party Massacre and Sorority House Massacre and modern ultra-low-budget oddities like Pool Party Massacre. There’s just something about the simple pleasures of the whole ***** Massacre phenomenon that really does it for me. So I jumped at the chance to review WRESTLEMASSACRE

plug: California Split (1974)

Robert Altman’s exceptional 1974 gambling comedy California Split has been hard to find for years. Up until now it’s largely existed as an out-of-print DVD with some missing footage due to music licensing issues. So I was thrilled to open my Twitter feed on Tuesday to see great folks like writer Kim Morgan and director Joe Dante getting the word out that the original, remastered cut of this criminally under-seen masterpiece is now available on Amazon Prime.

plug: Performance (1970)

Performance is a psychedelic British crime film starring James Fox and Mick Jagger as a gangster and reclusive rock star brought together by fate for an existential melding of minds, egos, and personas in a kaleidoscopic haze of blood, sex, drugs, art, and music. Drug movies from the late 60s and early 70s can often be tedious, frustratingly incoherent, and just plain shitty. But Performance succeeds where so many others fail, partly because it’s bookended by another genre.


ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD is finally available to watch at home. And though it had one of the great theater runs of the year, it feels right that the chillest cinematic hang of the summer is now marinating in people’s heads from their home screens. Quentin Tarantino’s 9th and possibly penultimate film — a dark fairy tale about the mythical human beings and competing energies that occupied Hollywood in 1969 — really demands repeat viewings to fully grasp the scope and magnitude of its insatiable gravitational pull.

TITANS OF THE TUBE :: The Best TV Shows this Year

I’m a movie guy, and I probably always will be. No more than a few years ago, the thought of making a Top 10 list for TV wouldn’t have even occurred to me. But it’s 2019 and the age of peak television has changed my tune. And how could it not? The big-screen cinema experience has been all but overrun by one mammoth superhero franchise and the advent of streaming has turned television into an endless virtual hub of phenomenal shows — available anytime, anywhere.

PUT ON A HAPPY FACE :: The Best Joker Memes on the Internet

A movie can’t just be a movie in 2019. It needs a familiar angle, if not a direct relation to existing intellectual property. It needs a backstory of gossip, casting what-if’s, and production updates that can be mined for clickbait well before and after its release. And if a movie plans on surviving in the minds of the mainstream past the hours of its initial press cycle, it needs the Internet to meme the shit out of it. Director Todd Phillips’s standalone version of Joker, a pseudo-Scorsesean
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