On a rare occasion, the passage of time helps a film age like a fine wine. Such a rare example of this phenomenon is best observed in the case of Georges Franju’s French horror film, Eyes Without a Face (1960). Released the same year that Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) was criticized for its “vulgar” shot of a flushing toilet, Eyes Without a Face is a movie that phenomenally blends emotional turmoil with the grotesque into a simple story whose unnerving aura transcends time and language. With four screenings of the film scheduled for this week thanks to the Secret Celluloid Society, now is an opportune time to sit back and re-examine a classic that deserves more mainstream attention than it currently has.
To believers of the supernatural, the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California is the remnant of an unfortunately haunted widow, while skeptics see the mansion as a monument to the power of inherited guilt. After consulting with a medium who foretold that the spirits killed by Winchester branded rifles would haunt her until her death, Sarah Winchester’s mansion became legendary for having been under construction every day of her life. The end result was a beautifully ornate mansion that once stood seven stories tall, and was filled with over a hundred and fifty rooms, stairwells and doors that lead to nowhere, and had the chaotic floor-plan of a labyrinth. Knowing this, when I heard there were plans to make a film about Sarah Winchester and her interactions with a psychiatrist, I was genuinely excited by the prospect of a horror film that blurred the line between a genuine haunting and tragic psychological turmoil.
How foolish of me to anticipate a horror film released in February.
One of the greatest tragedies that can fall on a film is being forgotten in the shadow of a remake or a reinterpretation with a greater relevance in popular culture. Such a phenomenon happens equally with both great films and terrible films, such as John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) or Rupert Wainwright’s The Fog (2005) – both of which are remakes which have overshadowed their predecessors in mainstream consciousness. Such a fate may soon fall on Dario Argento’s unnerving and influential horror film, Suspiria (1977). With a remake slated for release this year, and a screening of the recently discovered uncut version of the film coming to the Coral Gables Art Cinema, now’s a better time than ever to examine why this film from the creator of 1978’s Dawn of the Dead has developed its persistent cult following.
The opening titles of Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, Phantom Thread, enthrall the viewer into a tale of twisted love and obsessive passions through the delicacy and precision of the musical score – written by former guitarist of the band Radiohead, Johnny Greenwood. In Daniel Day Lewis’ final performance before retirement, he plays Reynolds Woodcook, a fashion designer consumed by his work. He dresses heiresses and princesses in his elegant and impressive London townhouse alongside his loyal sister Cyril, played by Leslie Manville, and together they preside over their team with fanatical efficiency. He is a man too preoccupied with his own work to worry about the trivial feelings of others, like the women he sees before meeting Alma.
Are you an Outlaw or a Regulator? Christian Gudegast’s Den of Thieves (2018) pushes the viewers to choose. The movie premiered at Regal Cinemas of South Beach with noteworthy appearances from stars O’Shea Jackson Jr., Pablo Schreiber, Curtis “50 cent” Jackson, and Gerard Butler. Before the picture began, Butler, who also produced the film, discussed the feature’s six-year filmmaking process. Comedically, 50 cent continued with explaining their two weeks of military and police tactical training. As the laughter and applause slowly diminished simultaneously with the lights, the widescreen lit with the viewer promptly thrown right into the action.
To apply an overused turn of phrase, good mystery stories are typically not about the destination, but rather the journey. Despite this, the ending should still be a satisfying reveal, or else the journey would’ve been for nothing. Unfortunately based on the Agatha Christie novel of the same name, Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express could’ve been an okay film, had it not managed to fumble its way to a disappointing ending.
Batman. Superman. Wonder Woman. The Flash. Cyborg. Aquaman. These are some of comic book history’s most storied heroes ever who have saved infinite dimensions from countless cataclysmic events — but they just can’t seem to beat public perception. Justice League takes place shortly after the events of Batman vs Superman. Superman’s death in the battle against Doomsday seems to have made the rounds on the inter-galactic Internet and the grossly overly-CGIed big bad Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) randomly shows up on Earth to do comically generic bad guy things. Guilt-ridden by his role in Superman’s death, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) attempt to recruit some new metahumans to help them push back against Steppenwolf’s invading army of parademons.