The Sci-Fi Channel’s Battlestar Galactica is 15 years old this year, and it’s still making news. A new film from Universal is in the works, a podcast about the show is underway, and a retrospective is on bookstore shelves. One of the secrets of Battlestar Galactica’s success is the moral complexity shown both by its [...]
Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man

I'm a fan of superhero films. But the genre has gotten mired in a disturbing trend that needs to be discussed. Ten years ago, I had the opportunity to tour the Vatican Museums. The collections were displayed in chronological order, and they told a fascinating story as I walked from room to room. The art [...]
Song from the Second Floor - Kitchen Scene

Sånger från andra våningen - Songs from the Second Floor (2000) dir. Roy Andersson Songs from the Second Floor brings us back to the turn of the century and anxiety over the apocalypse. Our fear at the time, seen better in retrospect, wasn't that the apocalypse was about to happen. Rather, our fear was that [...]

I've seen two Bollywood films during the past few weeks that really stood out – not only for their engaging quality, but also for the ways they each promoted Indian nationalism. I've been reading about the growing sense of national identity in that country during this century. I found that each promoted nationalism for India [...]

Audition (2000) - dir. Takashi Miike I love horror films with a slow, patient build. Audition is the best at this I've ever seen. It follows the same basic pattern as Hitchcock's The Birds. The first 90 minutes of a film with a 115-minute running time plays like an elegiac romance. Aoyama is a lonely [...]

Werckmeister harmóniák aka Werkmeister Harmonies (2000) - dir. Béla Tarr In the opening scene of Werckmeister Harmonies, Janos explains the nature of an eclipse to a group of men in a bar. He begins scientifically, charting out the motions of the heavenly bodies. As the men's movements turn into an ethereal dance, János ventures into [...]

Dancer in the Dark (2000) dir. Lars von Trier Even the film's defenders say the big musical numbers fall flat, and the plot seems more like it belongs to a 1912 melodrama than a 21st Century art film. Its critics are even less kind - The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw called it "perhaps one of the [...]

Zodiac (2007) dir. David Fincher The 1891 Sherlock Holmes story "The Five Orange Pips" is loaded with some of the genre's most delicious tropes. It spans two continents, includes a secret society, two mysterious deaths, a will and a locked room mystery. Holmes, true to form, solves the mystery without even leaving his home. Or [...]
The Gospel According to St. Matthew - Enrique Irazoqui

The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) - dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini "Could these also be reasons why God has given us two creation stories and four versions of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus?" - Merold Westphal Pasolini, a dedicated Marxist, was not the most obvious person to make a reverent film about [...]
La Jetée

La Jetée (1962) dir. Chris Marker Time travel is a popular device among sci-fi writers, and have often provided a glance at possible utopias and dystopias. Throughout the history of film and literature, only a tiny number of works on time travel have attempted to portray a realistic outcome.  La Jetée is one, and derives [...]