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Articles by Shahbaz Khayambashi

Reviews

Dawson City: Frozen Time

Film, as a physical material medium, is an unusual object: film reels can often survive in strange settings, remaining undiscovered for decades, and yet these same reels can suddenly go up in a blaze, often taking their surroundings with them.  This is an underplayed theme in Dawson City: Frozen Time, the newest work of filmmaker Bill Morrison.  Film is at once destructive and salvageable, destroyed and saved.

Reviews

It Comes at Night

There is a tradition in American horror cinema of making a short film with a lot of effects and minimal plot to be eventually used as a calling card.  It seems like this practice has found its way into the feature length semi-mainstream.  At least, that’s the only explanation for the existence of Trey Edward Shults’ It Comes at Night, a film which shows the director’s abilities as a horror filmmaker – including his great gift for…

Reviews

Urban Hymn

A racially-diverse group of children cause havoc until a teacher comes along and sets them straight.  No, this isn’t about Stand and Deliver or Dangerous Minds.  This is about Urban Hymn, yet another film which takes the familiar plotline and runs nowhere with it.

Reviews

Raw

There is a horror renaissance going on right now that everyone should be excited about.  The genre has struggled to keep up with the horrors of the real world and has returned to top form;  with many of the best films of the last few years coming from the auteurs of screams.  One of these films, a film which made this critic’s top ten list last year, is Julia Ducournau’s Raw, which is finally getting…

Reviews

XX

It’s no secret that women are all too frequently shut out of the film industry, with few of them being able to make a living or having their work seen.  In recent years, there has been a renaissance of genre films made by women, but their work is still a minority in cinemas or at film festivals.

Reviews

Exit: Music

Nazis plundering art has been a subject of much consideration and curiosity ever since the objects began to be recovered.  Plenty of focus has been placed on paintings that were lost and found in this way, and the reasons for it are plain to be seen: the paintings have famous, long-deceased names attached and, due to their singular status, they can only be experienced by a limited number of people and can be valued at…

Reviews

The Founder

Director John Lee Hancock and his company on The Founder have proven themselves to be geniuses for one reason: without a hint of pretense, they have managed to make people pay them to watch a feature length McDonald’s advertisement. 

Reviews

Under the Shadow

Horror cinema is often limited to its wheelhouse of established fears – ghosts, demons, strangers, monsters, or disturbing details.  Horror hounds are always looking for different scares though, and are always welcoming of a filmmaker’s ambition.  Failure is still an option, but the best case scenario is that these directorial risks pay off and make lasting provocative impressions – much like Babak Anvari’s Under the Shadow.  It’s an incredible horror film that deals with not just the supernatural, but also…

Reviews

La La Land

In this age of postmodernism, filmmakers are always willing to go back to the well and make films which are heavy on pastiche from an earlier Hollywood – these tributes are very hit-or-miss.  Damien Chazelle’s La La Land is a strange film that succeeds at its recreations, but fails at everything else.