The Comedian Who Fell To Earth: Rick Alverson’s Entertainment

7The idea of the sad clown is as old as comedy itself, and yet it’d be too easy to classify Rick Alverson’s new film—which revolves around the existential journey of a standup performer—as just another in the long line of stories about depressed funnymen and the dark lives behind the laughter. Though certainly an expert exploration of a comedian unravelling, Entertainment also conjures up an elegant portrait of a nation lost in a surrealist slipstream, drawing on the iconography of its past and the shell of its present. It’s one of the best American movies of the year. Continue reading

Live and Let Die: Sam Mendes’ Spectre

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The best Bond films were wise enough not to take themselves too seriously, generally aware that they were selling a fantasy package of moral escapism, aspirational (hetero) sexuality and—most importantly—killer theme tunes, the majority of which have endured as richer cultural artifacts than the movies themselves. But what happens when the product decides it needs to be profound? Continue reading