Surfaces and the search for transcendence in Kanye West’s Jesus Is King

Jesus Is King is a flat and ugly sounding record. Listening to it is to be confronted by rough, clearly differentiated sounds that coexist but never mesh. Every bassline comes separated from the drum, every key chimed directly out of the keyboard, every voice sits outside of the mix. In other words the mixing is done… Continue reading Surfaces and the search for transcendence in Kanye West’s Jesus Is King

Dead space, empty time, and the negation of storytelling in The Irishman

Maybe thirty seconds into this film De Niro's quietly mumbling voiceover becomes a quietly mumbling soliloquy — he gets away with it because there's no story to tell exactly, no way to form it, and no one listening. The director has used narration and direct address to the point that it's something like a signature… Continue reading Dead space, empty time, and the negation of storytelling in The Irishman

Missing information and the fabricated forensics of space in Minority Report

Doesn't stay anywhere long enough to make its turbulence count, which is fine if you are onboard the ride, and unbearable if you are not. I found it unbearable but what it does with image-making is more important than my qualms about it as a narrative work and aesthetics is the stage where it most… Continue reading Missing information and the fabricated forensics of space in Minority Report

A landscape of missing people in Argento’s Phenomena

Argento's funniest film, it is also most sensitive to the bonds that form between caring people against a backdrop of power and apathy. Where we might expect another doomed marriage of convenience orchestrated by unseen forces, Phenomena has friendship as a positive, naturally occurring force that exists for its own good. Its scenes of reciprocity are isolated… Continue reading A landscape of missing people in Argento’s Phenomena

Imaginary archives in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight

Demon Knight sustains this brash pace where it make-pretends expecting the viewer to already know what's up, and so does wonders playing into the inherent strangeness of the anthology format where it can neither conventionally begin nor end, but must instead convince that it is already fully formed and that its best days are behind it.… Continue reading Imaginary archives in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight

The digital image as virus in Dawn of the Dead (2004)

We're going to the mall It makes complete sense but then it's so gratifying that like Fleischer's experimental Inkwell shorts or Cage's Imaginary Landscape No. 1, the early adopters of digital did such significant work teasing it out as a medium before it became the invisible norm: Lynch's bit rot, Mann's real-time hyperconnectivity, Snyder's virus. Dawn of the Dead's opening… Continue reading The digital image as virus in Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Witchcraft, loneliness, and missing women in Jessica Hauser’s devastating Hotel (2004)

Hausner returns to the 'direct shot' its sense of framelessness, a formal rigour that has the space, the subject matter, invade ours. This is significant in Hotel because it is a latent sense of what has and will happen in the space that constitutes its subject matter, which all bears on that which is photographed as present.… Continue reading Witchcraft, loneliness, and missing women in Jessica Hauser’s devastating Hotel (2004)