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Cinema is the church of the future. New film analysis essays every Sunday.

Most people familiar with Miyazaki consider Spirited Away to be his finest work, and for good reason. Of all his movies, Spirited Away perhaps feels the most resonant because of its iconic and poetic imagery, or because of its familiar story of a child from the ordinary world going on an adventure in a fantasy world. There is a dedication to excellence evident in the film’s stylistic execution; everything is drawn with both elegance and loving care. The movie is committed to evoking beauty both visually and emotionally; in other words, it embodies the ideal of what art should be…


When I was a child, some of the earliest media I was introduced to were the children’s books written by Beatrix Potter and the 90s animated miniseries which adapted them; later in childhood I was similarly exposed to Kenneth Graham’s Wind in the Willows, which felt like a continuation of this calm watercolor world of woodland creatures. The 1978 film adaptation of Richard Adams’ novel Watership Down seems to me to inhabit the same aesthetic; the fact that it is intended exclusively for adult audiences makes it my favorite iteration within this pastoral British nature fantasy genre. When I was…


I first heard of Stardust when it was introduced as one of the options at a summer camp movie night. When a vote was taken on what to watch, few people voted for it, and I can guess why. Its lesser-known status in comparison with the multi-film franchises it was competing with, in combination with its lackluster DVD cover, gave it an “off-brand” aura. One worried its production value would be closer to that of a made-for-TV movie than a theatrical release. Thankfully, this is not the case. Stardust is every bit as spectacular as its contemporaries. Why, then, has…


Recently I revisited three Pixar films (Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille) in an attempt to decide which film I wanted to promote as the studio’s true masterpiece (Toy Story has received the most critical acclaim due to the novelty of its being the first; as the studio reached greater heights in its 2000s golden age, we must rethink which film represents the apex of its talents). Both Finding Nemo and The Incredibles were better than I remembered; as for which I would champion as Pixar’s magnum opus, I have to pick the former. Finding Nemo has a purity to…


Most animated movies have a runtime of 90 minutes or less; The Incredibles, with a runtime of nearly two hours, feels like Pixar’s epic. Its story is segmented into a series of acts (the glory days, the family’s home life, the first journey to the island, the second journey to the island, the grand finale) each given the time it requires because the writers are comfortable with painting on a large canvas: The Incredibles wants its world to breathe, to feel real and dramatically present. This quality of Pixar’s 2000s output is especially noticeable in contrast to the way in…


Finding Nemo was the first movie I ever loved; seeing it in theaters at age 5 was the first landmark moment in my exposure to cinema. I had seen a few movies before (all for children) both in theaters and on home video. It was the dawn of the DreamWorks era, when animation studios that aimed to rival Disney were adopting the strategy of doing so through subversion; movies like Shrek and Ice Age were the farcical caricatured equivalents to the beautiful art and music of Disney’s 90s output. …


For few years Being John Malkovich was my favorite movie. I fell in love with it during my final year of high school and by the end of my first year of college I’d seen it nearly ten times after having shown it to all my friends. I’m a trans woman, but at the time, I hadn’t yet come to terms with this. I believe this is why Being John Malkovich spoke to me.

Being John Malkovich is a romantic comedy with fantasy elements; contrasting it with other films in this genre reveals where it excels (beyond, of course, its…


I’m using this post to keep track of the reviews I’ve written; I will be updating this list regularly. The purpose of these reviews is to create an encyclopedic catalogue of the movies within my personal collection, with each review explaining a movie’s significance within my canon. Each entry on this list (arranged in reverse chronological order) has, alongside the year and title, a short paragraph describing the film.

His Dark Materials (2019): A BBC serial adaptation of Phillip Pullman’s trilogy of fantasy novels impressive for its imaginative alternate-history aesthetic, its interesting premise of travel to parallel universes, and its…


As fascinated as I am by India’s culture, I am embarrassingly under-exposed to its cinema. I can count the number of Indian films I’ve seen on one hand (4 so far, to be exact) but Om Shanti Om is the first one I’ve really connected with. It’s an entry point that marks the start of my journey into Bollywood from this point forward. When I write about any movie, I try to draw attention to what makes it special and what sets it apart from similar films. My frame of reference is too limited to do this with Om Shanti…


The works of Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier are as controversial as he is. What I know of the man is scattered and cryptic, yet what draws me to his work is the same pretentious streak which repels others from him. His one consistent quality is his ambitious scope, which is why the results vary: sometimes his reach exceeds his grasp, at other times his attempt to explore an idea will hit some resonant note even if the execution is imperfect or messy. A movie like Antichrist alienates viewers when they sense the author considering himself worthy of discussing grandiose…

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