We Are Still Here

If horror films have taught us anything, it’s that you should always be suspicious of a really good real estate deal. is that house a gorgeous vision of Victorian craftsmanship on the market for peanuts? Don’t buy it, unless you plan to use it as a place to which you invite a group of apparent strangers with the promise that if they can survive spending one night in it, you’ll give them a million dollars.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Although lord knows the world doesn’t need another origin story — modern films are positively obsessed with explaining every single detail of every single character in film history, leaving nothing to assumption or mystery and never accepting that sometimes we simply don’t need to know — The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an origin story.

Spectre

Unfortunately, the remainder of the film’s obsession with mythology building and referencing previous films results in a tangled mess that, despite being over two hours in length, still feels like an hour of the film is missing.

Cultural Gutter: That’s What She Said

This month on The Cultural Gutter, I’m tackling Ann Leckie’s Hugo Award winning space opera Ancillary Justice. That’s What She Said examines the awesome sleight-of-hand Leckie pulls by writing a pretty straight-forward, old-fashioned space opera with one tweak: deciding to use “she” as the default pronoun for all characters instead of “he.”

The Great Beauty

Italy’s Berlusconi era was characterized by the decadence and corruption of the country’s prime minister. Director Paolo Sorrentino admits that while the decadence was fun, it created a cultural stagnation from which, perhaps, it’s time to emerge.

Gangs of Wasseypur

The small town of Wasseypur is located in northeastern India, absorbed in many ways by the larger city of Dhanbad. Wasseypur is sort of the Newburgh, New York or Camden, New Jersey to Dhanbad’s New York City or Philadelphia — a small, incredibly dangerous, largely lawless enclave attached to the outskirts of a much larger…

Cultural Gutter: No Masterpiece Without Madness

Among these fans was Michel Seydoux, the scion of a wealthy French family who dreamed of becoming a movie producer. He sought out Jodorowsky and told the filmmaker he wanted them to make a movie together, and Jodorowsky could do whatever he wanted. “I want to make Dune!” he exclaimed enthusiastically, because there is nothing that Jodorowsky doesn’t do enthusiastically. Jodorowsky had never read Dune, mind you.