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Drew Hunt

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Drew Hunt Retrospective Film

The Virgin Psychics | Sion Sono

September 1, 2016
Virgin 2

Sion Sono’s The Virgin Psychics is one strange movie, though not for the reasons his films are usually strange. True to its title, this high-concept comedy about a group of virgins who are bestowed fantastical abilities mixes the supernatural with frank illustrations of sex and desire, and while it features a number of crude and off-color gags, the tone is so lighthearted and inclusive that it ranks among the director’s least aggressive films. Like a screwball comedy director working in…

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Drew Hunt Retrospective Film

Himizu | Sion Sono

August 25, 2016
Himizu

Sion Sono’s near-masterpiece Himizu takes place in the shadow of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and ensuing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown, the largest such event since Chernobyl in 1986. The disaster left the surrounding area and national psyche ravaged, but if we’re to believe the film’s pessimistic view of Japanese society, Fukushima Daiichi wasn’t the only toxic thing about contemporary Japan. An unabashedly gloomy coming-of-age tale, Himizu turns a scornful eye toward a culture that promotes individualism while simultaneously hindering…

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Drew Hunt Retrospective Film

Strange Circus | Sion Sono

August 17, 2016
Strange Circus2

Pull any Sion Sono movie off the shelf and chances are somebody somewhere has called it his “most extreme.” With a filmography as pervasively perverse and profane as Sono’s, one could place such a distinction on almost any title and probably be correct in saying so. But there’s something uniquely twisted about the feverish Strange Circus, Sono’s 2005 exercise in ero-guro, a Japanese art style that trades in sexual depravity and violence. The word itself is a wasei-eigo, a Japanese…

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Drew Hunt Current Film

Winter Sleep | Nuri Bilge Ceylan

December 19, 2014
086467 - © NURI BILGE CEYLAN.jpg

Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep opens on the smoldering aftermath of a brushfire, gray smoke rising off the charred earth as the wind blows and birds coo in the background. It’s a serene and beautiful image, and knowing Ceylan, one expects it to linger a while, considering his obsession with long, static takes. But after a few seconds, before we’ve really had a chance to ponder what he’s showing us, he cuts to a different image, a wide shot of…

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Drew Hunt Current Film

A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness | Ben Rivers & Ben Russell

December 5, 2014
spelltowarddarkness

Noted experimental filmmakers Ben Rivers and Ben Russell have a lot more in common besides sharing a first name. Their respective oeuvres are filled with stylistically unique but philosophically parallel attempts at a new sort of ethnographic filmmaking. Their films consider both the impenetrability of personal experience and the transcendent possibilities of a shared experience, mining a phenomenological cross-section of bodies in space and minds in motion that’s resistant to presumptive language.…

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Drew Hunt Current Film

Horns | Alexandre Aja

October 31, 2014
horns

Alexandre Aja is an exhausting filmmaker. The director, whose ultraviolent, viscerally gory High Tension stands as one of the most notorious films in the infamous New French Extremity canon, has a maximalist style, a sort of throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-hope-something-sticks approach that yields twice as many miscues for every moment of batshit brilliance. Chaotic as they are, his films, particularly…

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Drew Hunt Current Film

Men, Women & Children | Jason Reitman

October 3, 2014
men-women-children

Jason Reitman’s latest Oscar shill, the formally inert and thematically overconfident Men, Women & Children, aspires to illustrate how humans — horny high school students and their horny parents, specifically — interact in this new technological world of ours. The characters are all but glued to the computers and handheld devices they use to text, tweet, and instant-message each other all the sordid, depraved and depressing things they don’t dare speak aloud. Digitally composed text fields — basically the 21st-century equivalent…

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Drew Hunt Current Film

The Zero Theorem | Terry Gilliam

September 19, 2014
zero-theorem

Whether or not you like Terry Gilliam’s films, you have to feel some kind of affinity for the man himself, what with his dogged determination in the face of projects both woefully unrealized (The Man Who Killed Don Quixote) and tragically unlucky (2009’s The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus). He tests this affinity, though, with films that are difficult to admire, not for their controversial ideas or aesthetic rigor, but for their showy whimsicality and muddled, store-bought philosophies. His latest, the…

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Drew Hunt Current Film

Memphis | Tim Sutton

September 5, 2014
memphis

Vividly shot in the titular city, Memphis is the sophomore film from Tim Sutton, writer-director of the digressive, virtually plotless coming-of-age film Pavilion, whose lush pictorialism owes more to European traditions than typical American-independent styles. Though significantly more conventional by comparison, Memphis shares with Pavilion an austere sense of lyricism and form-bending aesthetics. It is also anchored by a strong performance by…

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