The Ingenious Unsettling Ambiguity of John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN

Some movies scare you in the moment. Some startle you. Some disturb with graphic imagery. Truth be told, a good majority of movies that actively set out to do such things and succeed, suffer from diminishing returns in this regard because once we adjust to what they are trying to achieve, attune ourselves accordingly and allow our brains to turn down their sensitivity, they lose their magic touch. We can anticipate when the jump scares are coming and over time graphic violence or gory imagery makes less and less of an impact.  

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The Principal Bond Question

Who was the best James Bond? Who was your favourite? These two questions, often rolled into one, have been on the lips of everyone and their mother in the recent days owing to the release of No Time to Die. As a result, a flurry of listicles has been deployed from all corners of movie fandom and seemingly every online publication – big or small, doesn’t matter – added to the veritable ocean of pieces ranking the actors who portrayed Ian Fleming’s iconic superspy and tried to give an answer to this everlasting Bond question which seems ever more pressing now because Daniel Craig’s tenure in the role has come to an end.

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SPIRIT UNTAMED Is a Tool to Find Intelligent Critics

Dreamworks

The more I think about it, films specifically aimed at children can be useful tools sometimes, but not in any way related to the idea of providing the youngest audiences with entertainment. Movies like Spirit Untamed are a great litmus test to find out which film critics are worth reading and engaging with, and which ones clearly have no idea what they’re doing.  

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Does It Matter If STILLWATER Is Loosely Based on Amanda Knox Story?

Focus Features

No. It doesn’t. Now you can move on with your life.

Seriously though, apart from the curious case of Matt Damon not being able to refrain from speaking (yet again), the release of Tom McCarthy’s Stillwater (find my review here) was accompanied by quite a controversy. After Vanity Fair published a piece in which McCarthy admitted that the story was loosely inspired by the case of Amanda Knox, who was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for a murder of a fellow student when she was studying in Italy, the entirety of the discourse surrounding the film – such as it was – coalesced around this affair.

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Can OLD Be Weaponized by Vaccine Refuseniks?

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for M. Night Shyamalan’s Old

It took me longer than I would like to admit to come up with a title to this text that wouldn’t immediately ruin the film for anyone who has not seen Old yet. And although I think did a good enough job in remaining slightly vague while still making sure the title corresponds to what I wanted to touch on, something tells me (based on the dwindling conversation surrounding the film and the negative word-of-mouth extinguishing the film’s presence in the zeitgeist) that there aren’t many people left in the world who would care that much anyway.

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The Shyamalan Cameo and Authorial Control

Film directors have inserted themselves into their work ever since they figured out that somebody else was able to keep the camera rolling. In fact, quite a few have become known for doing so (you can find a more or less comprehensive Wikipedia list here). While most of these instances of director cameos are barely noticeable and can be easily filed as interesting curiosities to bring up during a podcast recording, some filmmakers have become well-known for sliding themselves into the frame. Naturally, the go-to example is Alfred Hitchcock who did this in the vast majority of his features (again, a comprehensive Wikipedia list is a great resource), but even the most vaguely informed movie-goer would be able to name Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, Richard Donner or Martin Scorsese as filmmakers known to have appeared in front of the camera in their own movies for a brief moment in time.

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Would Travis Bickle vote for Trump?

Yes, probably. Or at least he would think it’s a good idea before seeing through his lies and deciding he must be assassinated instead. Similarly, Travis Bickle would likely think it’s a good idea to storm The Capitol and vandalize America’s epicentre of parliamentary democracy. Though, I don’t think he’d actually show up on the day, because a chaotic revolution is not his scene.  

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A Rainy Day in New York (2019), or Why Woody Allen Must Be Stopped

To be completely honest, I wasn’t going to review this film formally. Not because I fear the backlash of the court of public opinion, but because I don’t think I have anything meaningful to say about this film in the first place. However, this may be a good enough reason to reflect upon the trajectory Woody Allen has been on for the better part of the last two decades.  

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