Articles by Shahbaz Khayambashi

Reviews

Spinster

One of the best things to happen to 21st century genre cinema is the transgression that comes with newer understandings of social norms.  After about one hundred years of cinema, the tropes of classic Hollywood became less of a necessity and more of a suggestion, allowing filmmakers to tell stories that go against the grain when it comes to the necessities of living.

Reviews

It Must Be Heaven

If you like filmmaker Elia Suleiman, you will like It Must Be Heaven.  This may well be an unusual start to a review, but this is not meant for the fans, because they already know what they are getting into.  For the rest of you, how would one go about describing a Suleiman film?  Well, Suleiman is a rare filmmaker: he is a Palestinian who is less concerned with doom and gloom, preferring to speak…

Reviews

Judy & Punch

Punch and Judy are a couple of characters in a traditional British puppet show who are not exactly known for their subtlety.  Punch is placed in charge of taking care of their kids.  He hits the kid, his wife gets mad, he hits his wife, a cop shows up, he hits the cop, and so on and so forth.  As such, it is a bit unusual that someone decided that this story, or rather the…

Reviews

The Roads Not Taken

Sometimes, a filmmaker will come up with a unique, unprecedented concept and turn it into a one-of-a-kind feature.  More often than not, however, the concept confounds the creative;  leading to a muddled mess that disappoints the viewer even more than the average bad effort.  Case in point: The Roads Not Taken.  It’s the latest film from once-celebrated English filmmaker Sally Potter, a woman who once managed to turn the perplexing Orlando into a film, which…

Reviews

She’s Allergic to Cats

She’s Allergic to Cats is an absolute anomaly.  Incorporating elements of American independent cinema, Jon Moritsugu-style filmmaking and even early video art, music video director Michael Reich has created something that is, at once, missing a cohesive audience and the sort of work that we need right now.

Reviews

Rootwood

What is the point of making a found footage film when it is surrounded by a traditional narrative style?  Not like Cannibal Holocaust, where the traditional style was used as a framing device to present the found footage, but rather a traditional narrative that occasionally cuts to a shot from the point-of-view of a camera with a red record signal in the corner.  With Marcel Walz’s Rootwood, there isn’t even a documentary concept surrounding the whole thing, as…

Reviews

True Fiction

What role does the precarity of labour play in young people choosing to take on dangerous jobs?  In the #MeToo era, how does one go about separating an artist’s actions from their work?  Is anonymity possible in the 21st century?  What is the difference between violence and a simulation of violence?  If unethical acts lead to brilliant art, is it ethical to consume the art?  What do these questions have in common?  Well, for one, they…

Reviews

Bombshell

In 2016, Fox News almost came unraveled in a few days as its CEO, Roger Ailes, was accused of sexual harassment before being forced to resign.  The story of Ailes’ journey from creating the most successful American news channel to death might well be a fascinating one, but a deft hand is needed to do it (see: Addison Wylie’s review of Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes).  Unfortunately, director Jay Roach (HBO’s Recount and Game Change) does…

Reviews

A Hidden Life

Terrence Malick is a fascinating oddity of cinema.  After making two highly acclaimed features in the 1970s, he disappeared for two decades before returning sporadically until the 2010s, when he suddenly completed six features at a rapid-fire pace.  This sudden burst of productivity did have a negative effect however.  When a new Malick film was reviewed every handful of years, his visionary filmmaking style was exciting.  However, getting a new one every year makes the…