by Daniel Gorman

Blockbuster Beat by Daniel Gorman

Hereditary | Ari Aster

June 15, 2018
hereditary

No other company right now is playing the is-it-or-isn’t-is-a-horror-film game quite like A24. Blumhouse has their straightforward genre thrills down pat, with the occasional Purge film to expand their scope and dabble in some totally unsubtle social messaging. But A24, whether working in horror with sci-fi elements or horror as historical drama or horror with apocalyptic, mankind-is-the-real-enemy overtones has collected a roster of polished, deliberately scary arthouse films…

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Blockbuster Beat by Daniel Gorman Film

Tully | Jason Reitman

May 15, 2018
Tully

Too often Hollywood wants to project the idea of motherhood as an innately beautiful thing, all soft lighting and angelic babies cooing at their beatific mothers. Tully isn’t having any of that. Jason Reitman’s film instead begins by detailing the misery of motherhood in almost excruciating detail. It’s a bracingly realistic look at the exhaustion, the anger, the guilt and sheer exasperation of taking care of little human beings. Reitman is not a particularly…

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Blockbuster Beat by Daniel Gorman Film

Ready Player One | Steven Spielberg

May 1, 2018
Ready Player One

Now that the dust has settled and the hype machine has moved on to newer, bigger spectacles, let’s examine the reception of Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. Neither a runaway success nor a financial disaster, the film seems to have found the limits of a certain kind of nostalgia marketplace. The original novel has, by some accounts, had its popularity tarnished by the ensuing push-back against toxic masculinity in nerd culture — and that’s the biggest problem…

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by Daniel Gorman Retrospective Film

Cold Fish | Sion Sono

August 19, 2016
Cold Fish

One task of the critic is to place a film within the context of its artist’s entire body of work, looking for recurring themes, motifs, obsessions, etc. But the sheer breadth of Sion Sono’s filmography—coupled with those films’ sporadic (at best) distribution—leaves the average viewer with a perhaps skewed version of the director’s intentions. For better or worse, much like Takashi Miike, Sono is as a result known for his over-the-top violence and digressions into outright absurdity, sometimes coupled with extremely long running…

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by Daniel Gorman Feature Articles Film

Bullet to the Head Director Walter Hill’s Action Poetry

February 1, 2013
Walter Hill's Action Poetry

Today marks the return of Walter Hill to the big screen—with the Sylvester Stallone-starring Bullet to the Head, the director’s first theatrically released film since 2002’s Undisputed. His two-hander action poetry has surely been missed; it’s the kind of tough, taciturn, no-nonsense genre filmmaking that’s frequently dismissed by middlebrow critics and sorely lacking in today’s blockbuster-spectacle-superhero-driven marketplace. Hill, like his contemporary John McTiernan (or Howard Hawks before them), specializes in genre films revolving around professionals doing a “job of work,”…

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by Daniel Gorman Retrospective Film

Ten | Abbas Kiarostami

September 25, 2011
Ten

In an interview with Jonathan Rosenbaum and Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa, Abbas Kiarostami recited a verse from the poet Rumi: “You are my polo ball, running before the stick of my command. I am always running after you, though it is I who make you move.” It’s easy to see why Kiarostami would be attracted to such a sentiment; his own directorial methods illustrate precisely such a poetic contradiction. The dialectic between documentary realism and the mediating hand of the filmmaker is…

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by Daniel Gorman Retrospective Film

10 on Ten | Abbas Kiarostami

September 25, 2011
10 on Ten

There’s at least a few reasons for the near total lack of critical interest in Abbas Kiarostami’s 10 on Ten, not the least of which is its near unclassifiable nature. It’s not quite an essay film, at least not in the Chris Marker sense, although it does take the form of a personal lecture. It’s not exactly a documentary, but it does consist entirely of Kiarostami talking candidly about his films and his philosophy. Having said that, it’s not a philosophical…

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