david foster wallace standing at a lectern
david foster wallace standing at a lectern

Introduction

To focus exclusively on David Foster Wallace’s creative nonfiction when he wrote one of the most esteemed novels of the 20th century,[1] Infinite Jest, may at first seem ill-judged. Though the writer’s work was critically and commercially[2] well-received at its time of publication, scholarly material on Wallace, who published three novels (one posthumous), three short story collections and three essay collections (one posthumous), began to notably increase after the author took his own life in 2008, aged 46. Among this criticism, there has been scant critical material specifically relating to Wallace’s creative nonfiction; Josh Roiland[3] and Jeffrey Severs are…


a still of james spader and deborah kara unger in crash
a still of james spader and deborah kara unger in crash

David Cronenberg’s glacial and oddly moving fetish thriller Crash turns 25 this year. But has its depiction of futurism and kink become dated, or does this erotic thriller still shock?

“Slow down, slow down, not so fast,” a man moans. Not during sex — he’s in a car, and his driver is moving too quickly for his liking past a deadly car crash. The man has his camera poised; he is ready to take photos of the crumpled bonnets and dazed victims. The cars themselves, wrecked and steaming, look somewhat spent and post-coital.

Crash, David Cronenberg’s fourteenth and most controversial feature film, is filled with such scenes that have to be seen to be believed. Having already established his reputation as an expert in bringing a certain poetic beauty to…


What do fictional serial killer Patrick Bateman and I have in common, aside from an encyclopaedic knowledge of the musical ‘Les Misérables’? Our favourite film is Body Double.

Despite its schlocky veneer, make no mistake: Body Double is a carefully crafted masterpiece that parodies and pays homage in equal measure. Sure, in American Psycho the violently deranged sociopath Patrick Bateman rents it 37 times. But in the same way that many mistake Bret Easton Ellis’ novel for anything other than satire, Body Double is often misunderstood. Curiously spurious and endlessly entertaining, it might seem like an odd choice for a 23-year-old woke Millennial’s favourite film. That said, I’m not sorry about it, nor would I try and suggest that it’s a ‘guilty pleasure’ — it’s a breathtaking piece…


How do you solve a problem like Paul Schrader?

It’s difficult to think of a director with a filmography as varied in quality as Paul Schrader’s. Having penned the scripts for Taxi Driver and The Last Temptation of Christ and directed many celebrated films from First Reformed to American Gigolo, Schrader is known for his contemplative interrogation of faith, masculinity and sleaze. But he’s also directed a series of dead-on-arrival duds: just look at the bizarrely bad Lindsay Lohan-James Deen joint The Canyons.

I had high hopes that Forever Mine, written and directed by Schrader in 1999, might fit into…


Some may find the sweeping chilliness of Francis Lee’s sophomore feature too bleak, but consider this critic’s cockles warmed. Saoirse Ronan and Kate Winslet are devastatingly brilliant in Ammonite, forming an unlikely romance between a sickly young wife and a respected paleontologist.

Though most take a little warming up to their craft, Francis Lee’s directorial feature God’s Own Country was widely acclaimed upon its 2017 release: as masterful in its filmmaking and storytelling as any veteran director. Little surprise, then, that he managed to bag two enormous stars for his follow-up, Ammonite: the four-time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan and the…


Thirty-six years after Stop Making Sense set the bar stratospherically high for the concert film, an unlikely duo has created an urgently joyous match. Spike Lee and David Byrne’s new venture combines the rapturous joy of Byrne’s music with Lee’s trademark style of confronting us with contemporary truths. The result is nothing short of wondrous.

Especially in 2020, the words ‘American’ and ‘Utopia’ seem oxymoronic when put together. In his bid to Make America Great Again, President Trump has created a canyon of fear and loathing, whipping up racial hatred and contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands with his mangled COVID strategy-and that’s just the start of it. “I’m a toddler / I’m a government man”-seems about right (“Born Under Punches”). But Byrne and Lee don’t wallow in this widespread despair, nor are they so gauche as to suggest that a good time at a concert could ever be enough to overwrite our…


erica riva in the intruder el profugo film review
erica riva in the intruder el profugo film review

Erica Riva plays a traumatised woman drowning in the sound of her own nightmares in this De Palma-esque thriller.

The Intruder is an unnerving Argentine thriller from Natalia Meta, that sets out to explore how PTSD can manifest itself in the wake of horrific events.

Erica Riva plays Inès, a fortysomething woman who relies on her voice for work: she’s a voice actress for foreign film audio dubbing, as well as a soprano in her local choir. But after a traumatising, unexplained event, she begins to think that people in her nightmares are trying to take control of her body: physicalized by a barely-there electromagnetic hum emanating from her voicebox.

Although her life revolves around sound, it soon becomes…


colin firth and stanley tucci in ‘supernova’
colin firth and stanley tucci in ‘supernova’

Supernova is an elegant, elegiac story of two soulmates facing the cruelty of dementia, with director Harry Macqueen crafting a mature, affecting story of galactic proportions.

Every star in the night sky looks the same to me-glinting uniformly in the inky darkness, unthreatening in their anonymity. Would I find the night sky less beautiful if I was told that each tiny dot in the sky once had a face and a name? Would it matter if I remained blissfully ignorant of a thousand memories long-faded from my brain-is it disquieting to not know what is ‘out there’? A smattering of stars may be beautiful to some and terrifying to others, a reminder of our smallness in a world we cannot control. …


“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”

This is a proverb quoted early on in Charlie Kaufman’s arresting and poignant new film, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, which spends most of its time under a flurry of snowfall. We’re not quite sure what the sin is. All we know is that the snow is inescapable, and things, fittingly, aren’t as they seem. Or are they?

“I’m thinking of ending things,” the protagonist (Jessie Buckley) tells us at the film’s opening. Said in a voice that doesn’t seem like it belongs to her: a curious mix of whispering and vocal fry. She repeats this statement, her thoughts tessellating…


The three most-liked reviews of Captives on the film social network Letterboxd are pretty similar in their brazen horniness for Tim Roth.

“this was absolute garbage but i want tim roth to spit in my mouth” reads the first. “MY BODY IS LITERALLY A HOLE FOR TIM ROTH I WANT HIM TO CHOKE ME!” reads the second. “Watching tim roth suck on that finger singlehandedly cured my depression, cleansed me of my acne, watered my crops,” reads the third. Such is the beauty of this genre, in which films are rated on their ability to titillate.

The beauty of watching…

Steph Green

Journalist, film critic and copywriter from North London. www.stephgreen.co.uk

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