Barbarian (2022), Zach Cregger [4/5]
It's an exhilarating trap of the horror genre that it can exploit fears and paranoias unique to a specific time to weaponize an...
My favorites? The personal cinema of John Cassavetes, the minimalist film noir of Jean-Pierre Melville and that early period of New Hollywood in the 70s (of course Polanski and Coppola.) I also focus on directors working today like the Safdie Brothers, Paolo Sorrentino, Jane Campion, Denis Villeneuve, Jordan Peele, Emma Seligman, David Cronenberg, and Hong Sang-soo.
At Columbia University, I specialized in media studies and cultural criticism. Here I was exposed to the great cultural critics of the 20th Century: Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Jean Baudrillard, Jonathan Rosenbaum and more. Although I disagreed with many of their takes, Sontag’s formalism and Kael’s socio-political commentary became the bedrock of my critical lens for movies.
But I'm also wary of the sort of ivory tower academicism that divorced many critics from audiences in the mid-century. I always kept an ear to the ground as a PA in film production and press & venue staffer at film festivals in New York. Twitter — while a very imperfect tool — has also become an essential data point for the modern movie critic, and I often report on my impressions of the online discourse there in my reviews.
In 2022, I set a challenge to watch and review a new movie every day. In addition to the long form reviews written below, I have catalogued nearly 1000 reviews on my Letterboxd (@msxviii). I hope you follow me on this journey!