Vulgar Auteurism

June 11, 2013

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As a Johnny-Come-Lately to such things, I thought I would weigh in on The Great Vulgar Auteurism Debate of 2013, which has blown up in recent weeks amongst cinephiles on social media and across the film blogging world, where everything has probably already been said on the subject.  This blow up was as inevitable as World War I, and as the Young Ottomans posted about the Resident Evil franchise, the Empires were bound to clash.  To extend the shaky metaphor, Calum Marsh’s piece in the Village Voice was the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand, and since then all hell has broken loose, just as long as we define “hell” as a few vicious subtweets, a pretty harsh article by Nick Pinkerton, and a number of even-handed, thoughtful comments and blog posts, not the least of which are from Peter Labuza and Girish Shambu.  This is, however, a problem of terminology more than anything, and though I shan’t redress that particular issue (as Will Young once titled a song, “Who Am I?”), I’d like to explain my thoughts.  Read the rest of this entry »

Side Effects

June 8, 2013

Warning: This film is very plot and twist-heavy, so SPOILERS are present.

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In his supposedly penultimate film (I take his ‘retirement’ with a grain of salt), Steven Soderbergh once again genre-jumps feet-first into a Hitchockian “Wrong Man” thriller that draws heavily on the tradition of psychiatric suspicion.  Working again with a screenplay by Scott Z. Burns, Soderbergh’s observant, seemingly dispassionate (some say cold) approach is probably not best suited to the genre staples he’s working for, but it does offer a rich critical broadside against corrupted institutions and the people (knowing or unknowingly) complicit in them.   Read the rest of this entry »