Author: Brandon Irvine

April 10, 2017 / / Main Slate

By Brandon Irvine

Arrival’s premise, though fairly original as far as movies go, is so intuitively appealing that you would guess it must be derivative: Twelve alien ships have just shown up on Earth, scattered around the globe, and governments around the world are rushing to figure out why they’re here. Our protagonist is Louise, an academic linguist enlisted by the military to communicate with who- or what-ever is in the enormous pod suspended over a field in Montana.

January 28, 2017 / / Main Slate

By Brandon Irvine

You might have the feeling, watching Targets, that director Peter Bogdanovich has welded together two unconnected movies. I’m not talking about the intercutting of two plots – a ubiquitous storytelling technique – but the weaving together of two narratives that feel starkly dissimilar. We begin the movie following Byron Orlok, an aging actor who resembles, in almost all ways, Boris Karloff, the actor playing him. Orlok is sick of being an actor, tired of the same-y scripts and the inanities of being a thespian in slow decline. His back-and-forth with the various facets of the Hollywood machine trying to get him into another picture is a farce, setting the tone for half the movie.

December 15, 2016 / / Main Slate

By Brandon Irvine

If you look at the biggest neo-noirs of the aughts and squint, you can almost see a series of controlled experiments, each taking the noir concept in a new-ish direction. Memento filtered the grit of the genre through non-linear storytelling; Sin City was Grand Guignol, a comic book come to life; Mulholland Drive was a baffling art film; Brick was half farce, half tragedy and set in high school; and The Man Who Wasn’t There was, well, a Coen brothers movie.