Category: Movie Commentary

Wall Writers: Graffiti in its Innocence

Wall Writers: Graffiti in its Innocence

The Writing on the Wall: New York and Philly in the Early 1970s Before the politically adroit stencils of Banksy, the beautiful calligraphic designs of Retna, and the clever humanoid figures of stikman, most graffiti consisted of simple tagging. Writing your name -- or, more commonly, your nickname -- on as many locations as possible … Continue reading Wall Writers: Graffiti in its Innocence

‘Apparition’: Haunted Guilt

‘Apparition’: Haunted Guilt

Several compelling horror films -- from Robert Wise's classic The Haunting to Jennifer Kent's terrifying The Babadook -- skate along an ambiguous boundary between psychological disintegration and truly supernatural horror. Apparition also explores this territory, with mixed success. Directed by Quinn Saunders from a script by Pete Cafaro and Andrew Kayros, Apparition is a portrayal … Continue reading ‘Apparition’: Haunted Guilt

The Maltese Falcon: The Scene of the Crime

The Maltese Falcon: The Scene of the Crime

The Maltese Falcon begins with the murder of Sam Spade's partner Miles Archer, a crime that takes place in a fog-shrouded San Francisco alley. As portrayed in John Houston's 1941 film, however, the location of the murder seems rather puzzling. After an establishing shot of a street sign -- the intersection of Bush St. and Stockton … Continue reading The Maltese Falcon: The Scene of the Crime

Movie Title Misdirection and Meaning: ‘Gravity’ and ‘Cast Away’

Movie Title Misdirection and Meaning: ‘Gravity’ and ‘Cast Away’

This article contains major spoilers for the movies Gravity and Cast Away. If you haven't seen both films, you may not want to read it. Based on the trailer and preview clips I had seen, the title of the Alfonso Cuarón movie Gravity perplexed me. Doesn't the entire film take place in outer space, where … Continue reading Movie Title Misdirection and Meaning: ‘Gravity’ and ‘Cast Away’

Neal Dhand’s ‘Second-Story Man’

Neal Dhand’s ‘Second-Story Man’

Second-Story Man, Neal Dhand's feature film debut, is a moody drama that, despite pacing problems and a somewhat meandering narrative, unfolds as a thoughtful meditation on morality. In cold, snowy upstate New York, Arthur Black (Christopher J. Domig) and his girlfriend Valerie Evering (Monique Low) commit petty robberies of small shops and liquor stores with … Continue reading Neal Dhand’s ‘Second-Story Man’

‘Resurrect Dead’: Photos, Reviews, and Ongoing Mysteries

‘Resurrect Dead’: Photos, Reviews, and Ongoing Mysteries

Jon Foy's fascinating documentary film, Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, recently ended its inaugural Philadelphia run, playing to capacity crowds. Due to the success of the initial screenings, a sixth show was added to the originally-planned five shows at Philadelphia's International House. The movie now moves on to additional screenings across the U.S. Resurrect Dead … Continue reading ‘Resurrect Dead’: Photos, Reviews, and Ongoing Mysteries