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Out in Theaters: ‘ARRIVAL’



A palindromic tour de force, Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival is a real film lover’s film. A product of deep emotional and intellectual beauty, loaded with provocative philosophical treatises, smart symbolism and crafty red herrings, Arrival’s rich palette of heady questions and satisfying answers make for a movie-going experience that will surely dwell on long after the film reaches its sock-knocking, bittersweet conclusion. Cast doubt aside. Villeneuve, after four English-language films, manages to maintain his unfathomable winning streak and appears to only continue to sharpen his craft as a storyteller and visual artist. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘SICARIO’

Amongst the best in its entire run, episode seven, season two of Breaking Bad, “Negro y Azul” sees decorated DEA agent Hank Schrader’s fated run-in with a Cartel informant known only as Tortuga (a perfect in the role Danny Trejo). The syndicate snitch assembles a wish list of “thank you” gifts from a SkyMall mag – the going rate for Cartel rats. Hank butts in, jeering Tortuga to hurry it along and dispense with the bullshittery, awaiting the familiar nods of approval he’s used to as big dog back in Albuquerque. A tidal wave of censure bears down on him like a face full of hot Champurrado; sodden scorn pours from the eyes of colleagues and the turtle-titled turncoat alike. Taken aback, Hank swallows the salty-but-sure fact that what may soar in the Northern-most stretch of American border comes to die here in the infertile Mexican desert. He’s a bald eagle, snatched up and spanked by the very red, white and blue claws that feeds him. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ENEMY

“Enemy”
Directed Denis Villeneuve
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini
Erotic Thriller
90 Mins
R

Enemy.jpg

Doppelgangers have been contemplated endlessly in history. Shortly before he died, Abraham Lincoln wrote in his diary that he had dreamt an encounter with his doppelganger. It’s an eerie concept:  two completely identical copies in the same dimension. Cloning isn’t natural, it’s dangerous, un-Godly. Dopplegangers bring out the evil inside.

“Chaos is order yet undeciphered,” flashes on the screen in deep yellow font. Enemy tricks and weaves, flowing its way through psyche until you’re left wondering what’s true and false, what’s real and what’s not.

Enemy is steganography in its purest form. Every twist and turn holds some truth within the winding web Director Denis Villeneuve spins. All is hidden in plain sight, or maybe it isn’t hidden at all.

The film is based on a Spanish novel, The Double, which looks into the life of a man who meets his exact replica, a man who can ruin his life. Jake Gyllenhaal is a history teacher at a university in Toronto. He lectures about time, about Mesopotamian empires. These empires use distractions to divert the masses, to entertain them and keep them at bay. History repeats itself. Time is a flat circle.

But the film doesn’t begin there. Another Jake Gyllenhaal walks through a dimly lit corridor, sliding a key into an austere door, revealing a strange underground club of ponderous-looking men. There’s a main stage. A pregnant woman masturbates in front of them. She orgasms. Gyllenhaal buries his face in his hands. He’s shocked.

Then, the main attraction. A woman walks out with a silver platter. She disrobes, pulls the lid off the silver plate. Out steps a tarantula crawling around the stage.

Gyllenhaal—the history teacher—he’s boring. We’re not sure who that just was at that Tarantula mess, but it definitely wasn’t him. It couldn’t have been. This man’s too clean-cut. His evenings are spent tangled in bed railing his girlfriend, falling asleep alone when she goes home. His days are spent delivering the same lecture, over and over again. History repeats itself. Time is a flat circle.

One day a colleague tells him to check out a movie. What movie? Any movie. Sure, why not? Not like he’s got much else to do.

Gyllenhaal rents a random film, pops it into his laptop. A deep organ sounds, the score eviscerating the scene, ripping the emotions out of you: there’s another Jake Gyllenhaal, an extra in the film dressed as a bellhop.

Enemy_2.jpg
Enemy
catches you quick, pinning you down, choking you to the edge of that last breath. Things cavalcade, piling on until the tension boils over. Contributing foremost is the sound design, which is monstrous, creeping and crawling like an eight-legged beast on your skin, making you shiver at the slightest touch. The organ tones, the elegiac score pulsate and drip their venom in your deepest corners. Daniel Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans spin a masterpiece, weaving you and garroting you until you turn blue.

Villeneuve is no stranger to quirky set design. Rooms in the film are eerily dressed, calling attention to the empty space as if there’s something lurking underneath, inside, everywhere. Every set piece has an uncanny quality. A bed with green sheets takes on the appearance of a murderer. For a film that relies so heavily on symbology to confuse and contort, Enemy’s set-work is a masterpiece.

Enemy has an incandescent glow to it, a yellow hue mixed in with the dark shadows. Villeneuve wipes his color pallet clean save a gelatinous yellow and a ghastly black. Walls ooze a chaotic nausea. This film uses color psychology to wreck your psyche, gnaw at you with anxiety on the brain. Every symbol, every color in Enemy is carefully thought out, fine-tuned to bring out the soul’s deepest fears and terrors. It’s a creepy brand of traumatic.

We mustn’t forget Jake Gyllenhaal, however, who here collaborates with Villeneuve again after their work on Prisoners. Gyllenhaal has two credits in Enemy, possibly more. He plays too men, completely identical yet separately unique. When they meet, their temperaments flash. One is aggressive, almost murderous; the other is terrified, squirmish. They pull up their shirts to reveal the same scar. Were they born on the same day? History repeats itself. Time is a flat circle.

What occurs as Enemy progresses is quaking, the earth below your feet seems to tremor faster and faster, moving its way up the Richter scale. A floating Tarantula as big as a Goodyear blimp slinks its way over Toronto. A woman’s body with a Tarantula’s head walks upside down through a corridor. At 90 minutes, it shrinks and expands the mind, then ends abruptly with no questions answered. Enemy is a rollercoaster personally designed by the Devil. Twist and turn, crash and burn.

Billed as an erotic psycho-thriller, Enemy is bare as “After Dark” on CineMax, but far more violently erotic. Naked bodies contort together, almost like two spiders dancing on a delicate web. Aggressive, deep thrusts and hollow moans add to the erogenous aura that swallows the theater whole. Villeneuve uses sex like a weapon, goring open the mind’s thoughts and bleeding them out like venom. Mélanie Laurent and Sarah Gadon are splendid in their supporting roles. They make writhing spine-tinglingly sexy.

I have never left a theater so thoroughly mind-wrecked. Gyllenhaal’s gritty performance combined with all the production elements that Villeneuve flaunts breaks this story open. They subject you to their hegemony then trap you in it. The story is captivating, corrosive. It scared the shit out of me then left me fallow. This is more mysterious than Memento, more intricate than Inception. Enemy is the movie you’re too afraid not to watch twice. It will take a while to decipher this psychosomatic chaos.

A-

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Out in Theaters: ENEMY

“Enemy”
Directed Denis Villeneuve
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini
Erotic Thriller
90 Mins
R

Enemy.jpg

Doppelgangers have been contemplated endlessly in history. Shortly before he died, Abraham Lincoln wrote in his diary that he had dreamt an encounter with his doppelganger. It’s an eerie concept:  two completely identical copies in the same dimension. Cloning isn’t natural, it’s dangerous, un-Godly. Dopplegangers bring out the evil inside.

“Chaos is order yet undeciphered,” flashes on the screen in deep yellow font. Enemy tricks and weaves, flowing its way through the psyche until you’re left wondering what’s true and false, what’s real and what’s not.

Enemy is steganography in its purest form. Every twist and turn holds some truth within the winding web director Denis Villeneuve spins. All is hidden in plain sight, or maybe it isn’t hidden at all.

The film is based on a Spanish novel, The Double, which looks into the life of a man who meets his exact replica, a man who can ruin his life. Jake Gyllenhaal is a history teacher at a university in Toronto. He lectures about time, about Mesopotamian empires. These empires use distractions to divert the masses, to entertain them and keep them at bay. History repeats itself. Time is a flat circle.

But the film doesn’t begin there. Another Jake Gyllenhaal walks through a dimly lit corridor, sliding a key into an austere door, revealing a strange underground club of ponderous-looking men. There’s a main stage. A pregnant woman masturbates in front of them. She orgasms. Gyllenhaal buries his face in his hands. He’s shocked.

Then, the main attraction. A woman walks out with a silver platter. She disrobes, pulls the lid off the silver plate. Out steps a tarantula crawling around the stage.

Gyllenhaal—the history teacher—he’s boring. We’re not sure who that just was at that Tarantula mess, but it definitely wasn’t him. It couldn’t have been. This man’s too clean-cut. He spends his evenings tangled in bed railing his girlfriend, falling asleep alone when she goes home. His days are spent delivering the same lecture, over and over again. History repeats itself. Time is a flat circle.

One day a colleague tells him to check out a movie made in the local scene. Sure, why not? Not like he’s got much else to do.

Gyllenhaal rents the film, pops it into his laptop. A deep organ sounds, the score eviscerating the scene, ripping the emotions out of you: there’s another Jake Gyllenhaal, an extra in the film dressed as a bellhop.

Enemy_2.jpg
Enemy
catches you quick, pinning you down, choking you to the edge of that last breath. Things cavalcade, piling on until the tension boils over. Contributing foremost is the sound design, which is monstrous, creeping and crawling like an eight-legged beast on your skin, making you shiver at the slightest touch. The organ tones, the elegiac score pulsate and drip their venom in your deepest corners. Daniel Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans spin a masterpiece, weaving you and garroting you until you turn blue.

Villeneuve is no stranger to quirky set design. Rooms in the film are eerily dressed, calling attention to the empty space as if there’s something lurking underneath, inside, everywhere. Every set piece has an uncanny quality. A bed with green sheets takes on the appearance of a murderer. For a film that relies so heavily on symbology to confuse and contort, Enemy’s set-work is a masterpiece.

Enemy also has an incandescent glow to it, a yellow hue mixed in with the dark shadows. Villeneuve wipes his color pallet clean save a gelatinous yellow and a ghastly black. Walls ooze a chaotic nausea. This film uses the psychology of color to wreck your psyche, gnaw at you with anxiety on the brain. Every symbol, every color in Enemy is carefully thought out, fine-tuned to bring out the soul’s deepest fears and terrors. It’s a creepy brand of traumatic.

We mustn’t forget Jake Gyllenhaal, however, who here collaborates with Villeneuve again after their work on Prisoners (even though this was filmed before that). Gyllenhaal has two credits in Enemy, possibly more. He plays too men, completely identical yet separately unique. When they meet, their temperaments flash. One is aggressive, almost murderous; the other is terrified, squirmish. They pull up their shirts to reveal the same scar. Were they born on the same day? History repeats itself. Time is a flat circle.

What occurs as Enemy progresses is quaking, the earth below your feet seems to tremor faster and faster, moving its way up the Richter scale. A floating Tarantula as big as a Goodyear blimp slinks its way over Toronto. A woman’s body with a Tarantula’s head walks upside down through a corridor. At 90 minutes, it shrinks and expands the mind, then ends abruptly with no questions answered. Enemy is a rollercoaster personally designed by the Devil. Twist and turn, crash and burn.

Billed as an erotic psycho-thriller, Enemy is bare as “After Dark” on CineMax, but far more violently erotic. Naked bodies contort together, almost like two spiders dancing on a delicate web. Aggressive, deep thrusts and hollow moans add to the erogenous aura that swallows the theater whole. Villeneuve uses sex like a weapon, goring open the mind’s thoughts and bleeding them out like venom. Mélanie Laurent and Sarah Gadon are splendid in their supporting roles. They make writhing spine-tinglingly sexy.

I have never left a theater so thoroughly mind-wrecked. Gyllenhaal’s gritty performance combined with all the production elements that Villeneuve flaunts breaks this story open. They subject you to their hegemony then trap you in it. The story is captivating, corrosive. It scared the shit out of me then left me fallow. This is more mysterious than Memento, more intricate than Inception. Enemy is the movie you’re too afraid not to watch twice. It will take a while to decipher this psychosomatic chaos.

A-

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