THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE in 35mm: So long, Tobe Hooper

We lost Tobe Hooper this year. A legendary filmmaker who created among the most powerful and exuberant genre films the world has ever seen. How appropriate then that a 35 mm screening of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre would be projected at BeyondFest, a film festival showcasing film culture’s fun house genre appeal. Don Coscarelli, Mick Garris, Tom Holland and Adam Rifkin introduced the film with each one commemorating an experience with their comrade in genre. It became clear quickly that Tobe Hooper was being honored as a person first and foremost. By all accounts, he was a passionate artist, wanting to entertain and striving to create new methods of expression on film. To paraphrase Mick Garris, the best way to honor him is to watch one of his films. And so we did. Continue reading “THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE in 35mm: So long, Tobe Hooper”

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My Favorite Movies: THE FORCE AWAKENS

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a damn good movie. On a technical level, it’s astounding. But that comes with the territory of J.J. Abrams. What was most striking to me after one or two (or a few more) viewings in theaters was the attention to scale and character. Star Wars is a series that is inherently expansive in scope and detail. The worlds are vast, ever-growing and are the definition of unlimited potential (UnlimitedPower.Gif) Continue reading “My Favorite Movies: THE FORCE AWAKENS”

My Favorite Movies: MANHUNTER

“Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight, Will? It appears quite black.”

One of the best directed thrillers around. Manhunter isn’t so much interested in extraneous details of how characters came to be, filling information gaps with the nuance of a Criminal Minds episode but rather interested in the psychological weights of pure empathy. Continue reading “My Favorite Movies: MANHUNTER”

Darkness Before the Dawn in “The Dark Knight”

Batman Begins is a Batman story through and through, but The Dark Knight is a Joker story about testing the ideals presented in Nolan’s first entry.

The Joker might be an over saturated movie villain due to Hot Topic and aggressive fetishization of his villainy, but guys, he’s really fucking evil. I mean, he’s constantly tossed into Best Villain lists but this one is well deserved. The Joker isn’t a man. He’s an uncontrollable vortex of chaos and destruction. A living embodiment of pure anarchy bringing down the established order Batman and Gotham PD are barely scrounging together in their fight against the mob.

None of that matters to the Joker. He only cares about Batman. He only exists because of Batman. He wins by Batman beating him. Every punch thrown, every second Bruce puts on the cape and cowl, The Joker inches him further into his labyrinth of insanity. He exists because Batman needs his other half. A living nightmare created by Bruce’s crusade against crime.

It’s a whirling ballet of a performance and characterization. Nolan and the late Heath Ledger bring to life a monster unlike anything cinema had ever seen, and likely will never see again.

And even in the face of the unhinged clown prince of terror, Nolan has crafted an optimistic story.

Every move the Joker makes against Batman, and by proxy the people of Gotham, the city enters a downward spiral. Gordon pulls a gun on Batman (why doesn’t anybody ever mention this moment, like, holy shit??). Bruce loses what he perceives as his avenue to personal happiness. Gotham’s white knight falls further than anyone. But the citizens of Gotham endure.

Symbols can be torn down, Monsters may live among us, but unified humanity can triumph even in the face of seemingly unstoppable horrors.

Yeah, THE DARK KNIGHT is still a masterpiece.

More thoughts at AE.