Semper Gumby: HBO’s Generation Kill

The HBO miniseries Generation Kill comes from David Simon and Ed Burns, the masterminds behind the superlative series The Wire. Simon himself is a former journalist, the state thereof being a primary preoccupation of the fifth season of the The Wire. So it makes sense that he would be drawn to a war story seen […]

The Rashomon effect in Pete Travis’ Vantage Point

Vantage Point is an awesome technical achievement, and I don’t mean to damn it with faint praise. Director Pete Travis and writer Barry Levy demonstrate excellent plotting, spatial sense, editing, logistics, and continuity. As a thriller it moves forward relentlessly, and feels comprehensible, self-contained, and very satisfying. It is structured around a single gimmick, but […]

9/11-ploitation: J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield

First of all, let me just say I get it. I get that Cloverfield is meant to be a modern day analogue of Godzilla. I get that postwar Japanese moviegoers witnessed an enraged giant lizard borne of nuclear technology stomp Tokyo flat in an unstoppable pique, and I get that Godzilla became a classic for […]

Red Eye

I had heard Red Eye was a refreshingly unpretentious thriller that played on Americans’ changed relationship with air travel in a post 9/11 world. While technically true, it’s actually a very disappointing runaround decidedly lacking in the most routine pleasures that come with thrillers. Where’s the expected third-act twist? Is the twist that there actually […]

Stayin’ Alive

Not as in getting funky, but as in not getting blown up on the subway. You know how every time there’s a terrorist attack, the media tricks some rescue worker or unfortunate bystander into using the phrase “body parts everywhere”, which they can then morbidly quote with relish? The next batch of human soup you […]

11’09″01 – September 11

A series of short films inspired by or in reaction to 9/11 made by directors from nearly every continent. At first, I thought for sure I would be giving this one more than three stars, but the quality of the short films takes a steep dive after the first two. The first in particular, by […]

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