Film Review: “Nightmare Alley” (2021)

“People are desperate to tell you who they are.”

A dark parable that casts viewers as adjudicator and soothsayer, signalling the ending and waiting for the main character to catch up to his destiny. The supernatural elements Del Toro is most famous for are relegated here to set dressing and production value, building the world and genre encroaching upon the troubled soul we follow, from carnival trappings to brutalist art deco noir and back again.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Why is the call of the carnival still so strong even though they’re barely a thing anymore? Every time I’m overwhelmed, I hear Willem Dafoe’s voice ushering me towards a field somewhere. That’s normal, right?”

Film Review: “A Simple Favor” (2018)

“That was very cinematic.”

A super stylish and composed neo-noir comedy that has a lot of fun with the tropes of the genre and a killer French pop soundtrack. So high-tone.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “I know, above all else, that life is better and filled with more intrigue when there’s a French pop soundtrack behind it. It’s a shame, then, that I’ve had ‘Kiss From a Rose’ by Seal from Batman Forever on repeat since 1997.”