The Moviegoer: Movie Making and the Politics of the Exfiltration Thriller

Argo

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.Let me set up a story for you. A CIA operative who specializes in "exfiltration" arrives in Tehran--the capital of Iran--to rescue six Americans who have evaded a mass hostage situation at the US embassy. Hiding out in the home of the Canadian Ambassador, these six escapees grow more wearied with each passing day as they are haunted by the thought of impending capture and, most likely, execution. But the operative … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: Sinister Images

Sinister

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) both has trouble seeing and is increasingly troubled by what he does see. In Scott Derrickson's latest horror film, Sinister, we continually see shots of Ellison fumbling, readjusting, and donning his black-rimmed glasses. More often, we get close-up shots of Ellison looking intently through those glasses as the reflection of sinister images rolls across the lenses, and we see him growing … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: Looper, Selfhood as Travel Agency, and Intergenerational Responsibility

Looper

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.A Special Note from the Future: Hey moviegoer who hasn't seen LOOPER. This is your Future Self. You're about to read this column without having seen the film. Trust me:  you're going to regret this decision. I'm still mad at you. Do us both a favor and see the film, and THEN read this wordy guy's spoiler-filled column. It's not set in stone yet! You are free! Make the responsible choice! ***** Two men sit across f … [Read more...]

A Lost Cause?: The Master and the Search for Desire’s Anchor

20121009.no.mastA

P.T. Anderson's recent film sheds light on two souls who find themselves both adrift and trapped by their own desires.Editor’s Note:***SPOILER ALERT*** We’ve had Nick write a commentary which is intended for those who have seen the film. Fair warning!If there is one image that feels representative of Paul Thomas Anderson’s much anticipated film, The Master, it’s of cult leader Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and newly acquired follower Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) imprisoned si … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: The Law Made Arbitrary

kinopoisk.ru

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.As is standard for many films of its genre, John Hillcoat's Lawless puts the viewer in the position of cheering on the "bad guys" and despising the "good guys" by making the criminals honorable in some sense and displaying the corruptibility of law-enforcers. No surprise that a gangster-meets-western film about famous bootlegging brothers titled Lawless would feature the sense in which all of humanity has and will act … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: "The Queen of Versailles" and Living the Dream

Queen of Versailles, Jackie Siegel

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.What's conspicuous in the background of shots at the Westgate Resorts headquarters is a platitude writ large as motivational tagline poster: "Living the Dream." The Dream's possibility has catapulted the timeshare empire's owner, David Siegel, into a billionaire. During the first third of the documentary, David recounts the story of his since-dead parents routinely going to Las Vegas so that they could feel like … [Read more...]

Live Free or Die Hard? Walter White's Spectacular Imaginative Failure

20120910.no.bad

Editor's Note: Spoiler alert if you're not up to date on Breaking Bad.Breaking Bad has always been about the .111958%.In season one we see a flashback of high school chemistry teacher Walter White at a chalk board discussing the chemical makeup of the human body. He is able to account for 99.888042% of the elements that constitute a human being. Wondering aloud about the remaining .111958%, Walt tells his former love interest that there has “got to be more to a human being than that.” Later i … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia," and Narration as the Longing for Innocence

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.Editor's Note: Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is presently available on Netflix Instant. *** Nuri Bilge Ceylan's masterwork, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, opens with a close-up shot of a window pane, but what is happening on the other side is not immediately transparent to the viewer. Momentarily, though, we see three men boozing and conversing, and one of them--alerted by the sound of a barking dog outside--shuffles … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: Bourne of Green Pills and Blue Pills

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.There's a flashback scene in the middle of The Bourne Legacy (Dir. Tony Gilroy) which is representative of the theme that drives this fairly acclaimed action thriller franchise. After unintentionally sacrificing innocent lives in battle, Operation Outcome agent Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner, replacing Matt Damon as the franchise's poster-boy) confronts his then-Colonel Eric Byer (played with callous verve by Edward Norton) … [Read more...]

The Dark Knight Rises and Truth Has its Day

Editor's Note:***SPOILER ALERT*** We've had Nick write a commentary which is intended for those who have seen the film. Fair warning!Over at Christianity Today, Nick's commentary on Christopher Nolan's filmography, "Deception's Darkness," may be of interest as a complementary piece to his  take on The Dark Knight Rises. *** Unlike its predecessor, The Dark Knight Rises does not begin by dumping the viewer in the middle of a villain-reveal. Instead, Rises opens with Commissioner Jim Gordon a … [Read more...]


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