Reflecting on the Saw Series: A Cut Above or a Bloody Mess?

My daddy, before going off to parts unknown, left me with two warnings about life. The first, as you probably could guess, was to never get involved in a land war in Asia. The second was to never trust the title “Final Chapter” when it is applied to a popular film franchise. With news cropping…

By Jonathan Eig
Dolares de arena

Dolares de arena: Small Pleasures, Deep Hearts and Dreams to Explore

The story goes that when financiers of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent film classic The Passion of Joan of Arc screened his initial cut, they were appalled. They had invested quite a bit of money so that Dreyer could recreate the court in Rouen where French clerics would ultimately find Joan guilty of heresy. Yet Dreyer’s…

By Jonathan Eig
Mad Dog Morgan

Jake Wilson on Mad Dog Morgan: Histories, Myths, Legends and Motivations

It was in 1976 that Philippe Mora released his underappreciated classic, Mad Dog Morgan, starring Dennis Hopper as the once notorious bushranger Daniel Morgan. In many ways, Jake Wilson’s excellent new monograph of the same name, the latest entry into the Australian Screen Classics series from Currency Press, positions Mad Dog Morgan as a fusion of…

By James Curnow
Shymalan's The Visit

Why Shyamalan’s The Visit is less than the sum of its parts

You want to know the problem with writing? Everything gets written down. In ink. Posted to websites where it will never go away. And so, occasionally something like this happens. A few weeks ago, I posted a review of the new Jesse Eisenberg movie American Ultra. It was a very positive review for a movie…

By Jonathan Eig
Zeffirelli otello

Opera Onscreen: How to Resurrect a Dying Genre

Given the fact that Placido Domingo instinctively ruffled his fingers through my hair 30 years ago as I—then a member of the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus—marched by him on stage during a production of Carmen, I can’t help but admit a personal bias toward the legendary singer … which includes admiration for his efforts in…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Song of the Sea

Song of the Sea: An Ode to the Hand Drawn Line

At present the animation industry is globally dominated by CGI technology and it’s now incredibly rare that you’d see a hand drawn 2D feature film. Disney long ago gave up hand painted film cells to make way for the ease of computer generated productions. Pixar’s revolutionary style has been joined by other big name production…

By Laura Shearer

A Cinematic Understanding of Adolescent Female Sexuality

Thank heaven for little girls! For little girls get bigger every day! Thank heaven for little girls! They grow up in the most delightful way. (Alan Jay Lerner) It all seemed so innocent back in 1958. Alan Jay Lerner wrote it and Maurice Chevalier sang it and Gigi won the Best Picture Oscar. But America’s awkward embrace of growing…

By Jonathan Eig