Craft and Curious: Vin Diesel’s The Last Witch Hunter

TheLastWitchHunter-720x340

Promoting his off-season fantasy Season of the Witch a few years back, a deadly earnest (or beautifully pranking) Nicolas Cage referred to his then-current acting style as “nouveau shamanic,” while professing his great love for the movie’s disreputable sub-genre. A similar brand of inscrutable sincerity informs the new Vin Diesel vehicle The Last Witch Hunter, which riffs on the gravel-voiced star’s apparent taste for Dungeons & Dragons and reworks it into a creaky action-fantasy thriller. Continue reading

Advertisements

Close Encounters: Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies

Bridge-of-Spies-Checkpoint-720x340.jpgIt’s been historically easy for critics to dismiss Steven Spielberg as a skilled populist devoid of moral complexity (as though mass entertainment was inherently a bad thing), thereby running the risk of dismissing his earlier blockbuster cinema in favour of frantic “mature phase” reappraisal. Yet the director’s new Bridge of Spies offers further proof—if ever it were needed—that Spielberg has always been one of the finest chroniclers of a certain brand of anxious American idealism, a master of refracting the national psyche through the lens of how it wants itself to be seen. Continue reading