Winter 2014

Act Break: Director Denis Villeneuve Talks His “Jaw-Droppingly Weird” Enemy

In his newest film Enemy, French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve immediately springs on us an omnipotent sense of dread. The chiaroscuro-tinged opening — a dynamo dream sequence in a film that feels like one long, unending hallucination — takes us inside an invitation-only sex club, populated by hard-looking, well-dressed men, one of whom is Jake Gyllenhaal. What are they watching? Scantily clad women doing seemingly erotic things that involve tarantulas. Bear with me. Soon we meet a pregnant blonde (Sarah Gadon) who’s waiting at home for her husband. Is it Gyllenhaal whom she’s waiting for? The next time he’s glimpsed, he […]

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Features

Observe & Report

Alternately lulling and urgent, otherworldly and deeply intimate, visionary filmmaker Godfrey Reggio’s Visitors is a film like no other. With its 74 shots  — most feature films have hundreds if not thousands — and exquisite black-and-white imagery, it is, as Reggio says, “the odd one in” in today’s multiplex environment. And even with its Philip Glass score — mournful, haunting and one of the composer’s best — it still feels radically different than Reggio and Glass’s previous collaborations, the poetic films comprising the “Qatsi Trilogy.” No less visually seductive than those works, the non-narrative Visitors uses its images — which […]

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  • Gun Crazy

    Revenge is a dish best served cold.  That famous proverb has provided the template for many a revenge thriller, as steely protagonists emotionlessly hunt and mow down the enemies that have caused them pain and suffering. With a slight eyebrow raise or lip quiver, ’60s and ’70s icons Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin meted out their justice with a hypnotic intensity. Later, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Seagal and Robert Englund (as Freddy Krueger) added touches of black humor in the form of sardonic, post-killing one-liners. But by the early aughts, the revenge thriller would seem to have run its […]

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  • Mumbai Masala

    The way Ritesh Batra tells it, he used to be not very good at his job. The Indian-born writer/director had studied in the U.S. as an undergrad and ended up working at the financial consulting firm Deloitte, but though he “had a business background of sorts, I was a terrible, terrible consultant,” Batra says. “They call it ‘sitting on the bench,’ when you’re a bad consultant and they don’t want to send you to clients. I quit because I didn’t want to do something I was bad at all my life.” Batra, born and raised in India, had always wanted […]

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  • Eyes Wide Shut

    French director Alain Guiraudie’s first feature, the 2003 coming-of-age film No Rest for the Brave, opens in a nondescript bar in a sleepy town where Basile, the agitated protagonist, is recounting a strange dream to his friend Igor. The disturbed young man believes the dream carries a fatal warning: if he falls asleep again, he will die. What follows is a Buñuelian picaresque that is shot in the style of social realism but structured as a series of narrative ruptures creating the filmic equivalent of the surrealist game of exquisite corpse. Guiraudie has, over the past decade, continued to probe […]

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Also: Load & Play Super 8 Richard Shepard Editor’s Letter

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