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Mentaculus

Celluloid Junkie - 2667 Rankings

Member Since: Jun 29, 2007

Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Bio: After a fairly Lynchian childhood in an affluent American suburb, I moved to Japan at 13, saw foreign film, and it destroyed my fragile little mind. Now forever damaged, I live in LA, have degrees in Cinema and Religion, a Masters in Information Science, and watch too many films in between writing projects. Life goals: direct a film, and see a UFO.

more Featured Reviews
98 T10 Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922) - Jan 24, 2009
"One of the most effective silent films I've ever seen, and notoriously underrated. Does it really dismiss spirituality away with reason in its final chapter? Or does the whole film basically enchant its audience anyway? ~ Really, one circular joke that can be viewed many times with differing interpretations."
92 T10 Bringing Out the Dead (1999) - Dec 06, 2009
"Probably Scorsese's most underrated film. And considering the collaboration of all those involved, that's rather confusing. Yes, it's a spiritual successor to Taxi Driver, but since when is that a bad thing? BotD has some of Scorsese's most beautiful cinematography (partially thanks to Dante Ferretti), bolstered by Schrader's religious wit and some great performances, especially by Cage and Rhames (and Cliff Curtis!)"
82 T8 Nazarín (1959) - Aug 19, 2011
"I can see it now: When I die and go to heaven, after I pass over the threshold and catch up with all the souls from life - who will I see but Bunuel, sipping a dry martini and arguing passionately with Michael over some arbitrary theological definition of the Eucharist. I'll introduce myself, we'll talk about his art. Then he'll take me aside, out of earshot of the saints, and whisper earnestly, "How the fucking hell did I get here?""
82 T8 Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) - Dec 10, 2012
"Too many "cult" films focus on propaganda as if there are keywords that cause all who listen to them to fall prostrate at a masochist's feet. MMMM rightly revolves around three elements instead: emotion, ambiguity, & their intersection. A difficult subject, but Durkin makes it work because, like Hawkes' character, you feel immediately as if you are in good hands, and then it messes with you in deep and frightening ways. It's a beautiful debut film that will continue to say more with time passing"
94 T10 Secret Sunshine (2007) - Jun 13, 2012
"Exhausting. This should be used in Christian circles - not to show the damnation of the faith, because it never goes down that rabbit hole; nor as propaganda, because the Church in many ways exacerbates Sin-ae's suffering. But that's why it should be seen. What Chang-dong Lee is showing is a person's slow mutation of insufferable grief into pride, and the community's part to play in the matter. Lee's getting to the point using only a few performances and nuanced cinematography is masterful."
98 T10 Simon of the Desert (1965) - Dec 07, 2008
"SOTD is truncated, incomplete, and barely known - but it is the one Bunuel film I continually return to. This has something genuine to say about the falseness of altruism, the relationship between Man and God, and the death of the Enchanted Age. Or I'm reading too much into it. God bless Bunuel."
81 T8 Ancient Aliens (2009) - Oct 26, 2015
"COULD IT BE [insert hand gesture] that, hidden away from the furthest reaches of respectable scientific inquiry [pan to ruins of Puma Punku], this show piques SOME... KIND... of legitimate interest in real archaeology, linguistics, classics, & history? Some Ancient Astronaut theorists say Yes. [Insert CGI UFO over Giza Plateau] Further proof can be found by looking at the renewed interests in ancient artifacts [insert CGI glowing Ark of the Covenant], & the editing techniques... of other shows."
82 T8 Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) - Dec 21, 2015
"TFA may be overly polished in some of its beats and characterizations, but finds a raw vitality in its battles, dogfights and lightsaber duels that is arguably missing from the other films. I came away mesmerized by its newfound intensity. It also leaves enough narrative room for the right kind of questioning: the old-school, daydream-leading type of conjecture and curiosity in its world building, that creates a real, breathing popular fantasy- and a worthy and welcome addition to the franchise."
80 T8 Retribution (2006) - May 24, 2010
"Fascinating as it completely summarizes Kurosawa's previous work, going so far as to copy, shot-for-shot, a glorious scene from Pulse. But it's not so much a retread as a potent embodiment of the director's obsessions. The murders are merely a parenthesis in a story of urban decay, moral morass (pun intended) and a worldview - closer here than ever before - about to teeter off the edge towards a personal and grand apocalypse. Very recommended."
94 T10 Toy Story 3 (2010) - Jun 23, 2010
"Pixar is the only American animation studio that can take some of our most iconic characters, have them swim in existentialism, get tortured by a villain who refuses redemption, and send them to a literal hell and back - but do it with such undeniable tact, grace and aplomb nobody even bats an eye. Actually, it might make the ending that much more stirring. It's a good thing there are credits videos for those... um, other people, clearly... who teared up."