by Chris Mello

#StreamingScene by Chris Mello Film

Drift | Helena Wittmann

April 17, 2019

The narrative framework of Helena Wittmann’s Drift revolves around two women, each going their own separate ways after spending some time together in northern Germany. One of the women intends to return home to Argentina; the other, who Wittmann’s film spends most of its time with, sails out to sea. In the early sections of Drift, even when the women are together, neither rarely inhabit the frame at all — and even more rarely do they share it. Drift more often consists of wide, static…

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#StreamingScene by Chris Mello Film

Triple Frontier | JC Chandor

Early in the second half of J.C. Chandor’s Triple Frontier, Ben Affleck’s character executes a South American cocaine farmer, lying on the ground, just moments after killing several others in a split-second act of self-defense. There’s plenty of violence to go around in the…

March 22, 2019
by Chris Mello Retrospective

Noriko’s Dinner Table | Sion Sono

Though it sports a few grisly images of its own, Noriko’s Dinner Table borrows most of its bloodshed from its companion film, Suicide Club. Sono repurposes the opening of his breakthrough—during which 54 high school students jump in front of an oncoming train—several times here,…

August 17, 2016
by Chris Mello Film

Ip Man 3 | Wilson Yip

The most admirable aspect of Wilson Yip’s Ip Man movies is their disinterest in typical biopic aspirations. Instead these films favor strong martial arts action and introspective melodrama. Previous installments have reduced the relationship between Ip and his most famous student, Bruce Lee, to little…

February 10, 2016
#KickingtheCanon by Chris Mello Film

Scream | Wes Craven

Scream’s reputation as the harbinger of self-aware horror is not entirely fair to its predecessors. The horror genre, and slasher subgenre in particular, had been aware of and commenting on its tropes since they began to solidify in the early 80s. Director Wes Craven himself first…

March 2, 2015
by Chris Mello Film

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb | Shawn Levy

Shawn Levy’s third Night at the Museum film immediately announces its most disconcerting element— its retrograde Orientalist bent—by opening with a 1934 archaeological excavation in Egypt, which, as is the case with most adventure-film flashback prologues of this kind, establishes a cursed object. In…

December 23, 2014
by Chris Mello Film

Inherent Vice | Paul Thomas Anderson

Many consider Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 novel Inherent Vice to be a minor work; the New York Times’ review dubbed it “Pynchon Lite.” Choosing a seriocomic yarn about a perpetually weed-affected private dick as the source material for his seventh feature might have seemed like similarly…

December 17, 2014
by Chris Mello Film

Annabelle | John R. Leonetti

The success of James Wan’s The Conjuring last year, like that of Paranormal Activity back in 2009, points to a wave of purely affective horror cinema, less concerned with feeding on social anxieties of their time than with crafting jump scares and a spooky…

October 9, 2014