by Luke Gorham

by Luke Gorham by Sam C. Mac Retrospective Film

The Whispering Star | Sion Sono

September 2, 2016
Whispering Star

While much of Sion Sono’s early-aughts filmography is littered with cycles of violence and horror—films that plumb the depths of a darkness seemingly inherent in humankind—the ever-ubiquitous director’s finest of a whopping five 2015 theatrical releases pointedly proffers a rejection of its post-human world. With The Whispering Star, Sono opts for a lo-fi science-fiction yarn, a literal chamber drama defined by its textured images. He shoots in a high-contrast black and white, with stars, matches, and candles becoming light sources against an oppressive blackness…

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by Luke Gorham by Sam C. Mac Current Film

Where to Invade Next | Michael Moore

December 12, 2015
Where to Invade Next (2015)

Where to Invade Next is really a whole bunch of different movies, but just about each one of them is incisive and humane. Michael Moore’s approach here is almost essayistic, allowing his new documentary’s constituent parts to fluidly integrate into a broader assessment of international cultural progressivism. One particular sociological juxtaposition, between Germany and America’s approach to reparations, registers as the overwhelming highlight, but if the segments on the…

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by Luke Gorham Current Film

Brooklyn | John Crowley

December 10, 2015
Brooklyn

The biggest surprise of Brooklyn is how determinedly sweet it remains to the end, its period vibrancy bordering on the genteel. In navigating the push-pull narrative of Eilis (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish girl who relocates to New York in the early ’50s, director John Crowley leaves little doubt as to what’s in his heroine’s best interests, juxtaposing the dreary, oppressive milieu of her homeland with the nouveau pastels of New York City. It’s here, in her newly-adopted…

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by Luke Gorham Current Film

Burnt | John Wells

November 16, 2015
Burnt (2015)

The re-emergence of the culinary arts as a mainstay of the international zeitgeist has been an evolving narrative for the past decade, most noticeably found on the small screen with fully-dedicated cable channels and network reality shows. Burnt banks on this built-in relevancy and familiarity in telling the story of Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper), a once-renowned chef in Paris who has majorly flamed out thanks to years of alcohol abuse, drug use, and general dickishness. Heading to London after three…

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by Luke Gorham Current Film

The Walk | Robert Zemeckis

November 1, 2015
the-walk

Those who’ve seen James Marsh’s superior 2008 documentary Man on Wirewill be familiar with most of the narrative territory explored in Robert Zemeckis’s faithful recreation The Walk. Detailing the astonishing 1974 tightrope walk performed by Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) between the newly-constructed World Trade Center towers, Zemeckis’s film operates in three ready-made segments.…

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by Luke Gorham Current Film

Everest | Baltasar Kormákur

October 5, 2015
Everest (2015)

Everest is based largely on Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, a true-life tale of survival and death atop the titular mountain that is, at its core, both stark and cerebral. The text is an examination of memory, and its role in feeding the ghosts that haunt us, imbedded within a gripping disaster narrative. Director Baltasar Kormákur’s adaptation is generally unable to find that same balance. Visually, his Everest is a visceral wonder: the camera swirls, glides, and plunges over peaks…

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by Luke Gorham Current Film

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies | Peter Jackson

December 24, 2014
hobbittbattle

With the release of The Battle of the Five Armies, the third and final installment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, it should be obvious to all who have followed him down this path that this second Middle Earth triptych is not “based on” its titular source material in the same way his Lord of the Rings films were. He takes inspiration and major plot points from J.R.R. Tolkien’s seminal (and relatively brief) fantasy novel, but this three-part Hobbit is as…

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