HOMECOMING: Mirror, Mirror

HOMECOMING: Mirror, Mirror

Historically, thrillers have softened the blow of their depictions of helplessness and confusion by etching clear distinctions between the good, vulnerable, but nevertheless conquering heroes with whom we identify and the powerful, evil villains onto whom we can project our anxieties. More recent thrillers, however, have become more challenging, demanding that we recognize that the world is not that easy to read. Homecoming (2018), an Amazon Studios streamed series created by Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz, is such an evolved thriller, or at least it is in its auspicious first season. As it peels away the layers of appearances toward its big reveal, it makes us feel that too often good is sleepwalking and evil is not easy to comprehend, let alone battle.

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RUSSIAN DOLL: The Epic of A Sweet Birthday Baby

RUSSIAN DOLL: The Epic of A Sweet Birthday Baby

Stories about journeys made by men in which women play supporting roles as inspirations, antagonists, and helpers have been the foundation of Western Civilization. The old Bards stuck to narratives in which the old heroes explained the patriarchal cosmos through their exploits as they conquered death in one way or another. Options are now more various. The new, gloriously audacious Netflix series, Russian Doll), gives the ancient male quest a modern, feminist twist as Nadia Vulvokov (Natasha Lyonne), whose name emphasizes her femininity, finds herself on a woman’s voyage for more modern purposes in a female inflected universe.

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INSPECTOR LEWIS: Crime, Art, Imagination, and Fantasy

INSPECTOR LEWIS:  Crime, Art, Imagination, and Fantasy

Dialogue between imagination and fantasy happens. It happens both in the mass media and in high culture, and, as might be expected, the home team has the advantage. When great works of the imagination explore fantasy, they express a high culture perspective on fantasy as intense and dangerous, likely to run amok, as for example in Blake’s epics, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the works of David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock, and Orson Welles. When fantasy looks at art, it serves an opposing impulse, a low culture, leveling urge to cast itself as more genuine and delicious than what it points to as dry, high-fallutin’ art.

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Movie Review: ROMA, Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking

Movie Review: ROMA, Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking

The very ephemeral nature of moments in which life and death come to a head unweaves the old neo-realist assurances of the powerful weightiness of the least of us. Rather, Cuaron distances us from any pretensions to human importance as he opens the door to his vision of how fleeting, brief, and weightless human life is. This is a realism that is harsh medicine to the individualist American and to all cultures that are Americanized.

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