Recent Reviews

Re: “Martin

It was going to play at Doc Films (at the University of Chicago) on Saturday, October 30, but the screening had to be cancelled, unfortunately. It is a great movie, though--one of George Romero's very, very best. Thankfully, it's readily available on DVD, so it isn't hard to come by.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ben Sachs on 10/30/2010 at 11:51 AM

Re: “Devil

What impressed me about the film was its view that all people are inherently flawed but well-intentioned and worthy of redemption. The implications are more generous than those of much purportedly Christian entertainment, which seem to restrict sympathy only to characters who are practicing Christians.

Also, I can't agree with your assessment that the film is tired or lazy. I have to reiterate my admiration for Fujimoto's work, which is plenty active, even athletic. In fact, I'd rank it alongside his very best: "Melvin and Howard," "Something Wild," and "The Sixth Sense." If you're referring to the familiarity of the characterization or the plotting... well, I can't disagree with you there. But I don't see a problem with cliches so long as there's enthusiasm in their unfurling. (Needless to say, I'm a big fan of 40s and 50s B movies.) I found that in "Devil." If you didn't, well, there are always other horror movies.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ben Sachs on 09/24/2010 at 11:03 AM

Recent Comments

Re: “Enjoyed Get Out? Try The Belko Experiment and Raw.

Thanks, as always, for reading, Peter. I was afraid that I would give the impression of damning "Raw" with faint praise. I don't admire it any less than "The Belko Experiment"; I just admire it for different reasons. What I find it interesting is that "Belko" is the more political of the two films, despite being adhering more closely to genre conventions.

Posted by Ben Sachs on 03/22/2017 at 1:01 PM

Re: “Mad Max: A world unto himself

Thanks for your comments--few readers are so polite when correcting me! As you acknowledge, it's hard to keep track of all the details in this film, which is why I look forward to revisiting it (and revisiting it again). I'll have to look out for the medical details on my next viewing. I'm glad you brought that up.

27 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Ben Sachs on 05/20/2015 at 11:37 AM

Re: “Abel Ferrara is back with a movie about the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal

Thanks Peter, as always, for your eloquent comments. As for "Welcome to New York," I think we more or less agree about the film's merits as an analysis of Dominique Strauss-Kahn; where we disagree is over Ferrara's merits as an artist. I think his movies look like no one else's, and that he has greater conviction in his belief in visual beauty than most contemporary filmmakers have with regards to anything. In the end, I think this movie is minor Ferrara, but I'm so glad to see his work on a big screen again that I'm not ashamed to overrate it.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ben Sachs on 04/26/2015 at 8:34 PM

Re: “David Robert Mitchell pays tribute to John Carpenter with It Follows

Actually, there's a lot about the film I admire, as I wrote in the review. Guarded praise is not the same thing as dislike.

13 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ben Sachs on 03/24/2015 at 10:17 AM

Re: “Modern Afghan history is a cycle of hell in Adam Curtis's masterful doc Bitter Lake

Thank you for catching that typo, Barry. Yes, the meeting between Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz was in 1945, *before* Roosevelt's death. I've amended the line.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ben Sachs on 03/03/2015 at 8:54 AM

Re: “Pornography remains a major influence on Paul Thomas Anderson

I'm not sure, but wow, do some of Anderson's inventions sound remarkably Pynchonian, like the stuff Brolin's character says in the TV commercial: "...and a view of the San Domingus Flood Control Channel that can be described in only two words—right on!"

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ben Sachs on 02/03/2015 at 10:48 PM

Re: “Blackhat isn't a failed action movie—it's a big-budget avant-garde film

Danny, Given the response it's provoked (both positive and negative), I think Blackhat also could be described as Mann's Identification of a Woman. You could play this game all day.

MH, I wouldn't disagree with you re: Mann as a storyteller. Thief, Heat, and The Insider are wonderfully constructed. They show you, step by step, how things work and why, psychologically, the characters behave as they do. But since Ali, Mann's moved further and further away from that model. I see this progression towards abstraction as deliberate on Mann's part, for better or worse. As I acknowledged in this post, I completely understand why someone would find the results ponderous or risible. I happen to think they look pretty, and I kinda admire Mann's audacity in wasting so much money in precisely this manner. And yes, Antonioni's films often sound trite when you try to reduce them to a single theme or idea, but that's true of a lot of poetry.

And since we're talking about great put-downs of art movies, there's Pauline Kael's 1978 pan of Days of Heaven: "This movie's like a big, empty Christmas tree; you can hang all your dumb metaphors on it."

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ben Sachs on 01/29/2015 at 4:24 PM

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