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Mentaculus

Celluloid Junkie - 2651 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
83 T8 Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) - Jun 23, 2015
"Like the best satires, it's slyly written, and in absolutely terrible taste. A dizzying pastiche of Bond and modern actioners with a vicious populist message that is as wacky and culturally primed as Cooper's Behold A Pale Horse. As nasty and unrestrained as this film was, I immediately wanted to rewatch it. I think there's more being said here - in script, tone and especially its self-aggrandizing violence - than is immediately let on. Just like the best conspiracy theories."
99 T10 Mary Poppins (1964) - Sep 09, 2008
"Some films may equal, but will never surpass, the amazing "Jolly Holiday" sequence for pure joy and imaginative beauty. Whatever you say about Disney, this is his crowning achievement. A close look at the narrative shows this is more for adults to experience the joys of innocence and imagination - and really, we could all use a bit of that."
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."
87 T9 Starship Troopers (1997) - Sep 09, 2008
"Starship Troopers is an open question: childish and violent, but swimming in subtext about appropriation of war, propaganda, The Other, and so forth. Why does it cast all white actors as Spanish characters from Buenos Aires? What does it say about engendering violence in our schools, or how the war splits the characters apart (for a common goal)? Verhoeven's brilliance is so in-your-face, it flies under the radar."
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."
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."
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?""
99 T10 The Magician (1958) - Sep 12, 2010
"A black comedy mocking, of all things, the post-Reformation debate between reason and superstition - but here told through sex, drag, a ghost who won't quite die, a Papageno wannabe and a 220-year-old witch. While the Magician's facades (and the cinematic trappings that help him along) all dissolve by the film's end, does that mean reason wins? Kinda. Not really. Sometimes all you can do is laugh."
100 T10 A Serious Man (2009) - Feb 20, 2010
"A modern-day Job, but in this variation, despite the same pleading and anger due to surreal happenstance, God has no voice to rebut either the 3 rabbis or poor Larry. What does that mean? I dunno. Jefferson Airplane."
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"