John_Lehtonen has written 100 reviews for films with no rating.

  • Blood and Black Lace

    Blood and Black Lace

    One wants to write unreservedly on Mario Bava ― his formalism invites effusion, and his films repeatedly present characteristic ironies and a morbid aestheticization. And yet we’re confronted, in auteurist terms, with a black hole. True, this is much the essence of auteurism in general, to varying degrees of intensity: we project into myths, or project myths onto workers or artisans. Bava challenges because he gave us so little but derision of his own handiwork, and because, circling his event…

  • The Whip and the Body

    The Whip and the Body

    Bava pulls from sunset over sea to color his interiors — purples, blues, teals & greens, the burning of reds and oranges — but these are also colors of mortification, bruising, wounds. The blue of the sea and green of sickly flesh, the purple of twilight and that of lash marks on pale skin. The red-orange disc of the sun, the deeper red of a rose, the bloom of blood on cloth: the sun sets, the rose withers, and people die.…

  • Nomad

    Nomad

    The End of Romanticism

    See if you catch the Vibe: a group of youths, whose vision of utopia and freedom is entirely libidinal, have their bubble burst in an encounter with outside political reality. Beautiful because Tam still obviously loves them, sad because he can empathize with their drift — he, too, was openly searching. There’s much obfuscation of his 80s work, through one-sided observation: the colors and the lyricism take precedence over his politics and genre critique. But both are Tam.

  • The House by the Cemetery

    The House by the Cemetery

    This has a reputation as the most conventional of Fulci's Fulvia classics but that's a relative quality and only true at a glance. It has more narrative shape, to be sure, than The Beyond or City of the Living Dead , but, like Zombie, the semblance of coherence adds greater emphasis to the uncanny, giving it a nest to roost. There, the return of the colonial repressed, here, the atomization of the family. The shocks have more weight because there's…

  • Alien: Covenant

    Alien: Covenant

    some notes*:

    -A film on the daemonic nature of creation, art as diabolic in the Miltonian sense, the destructive marriage of death and procreation instincts in the organic lifeform, life as parasitism, and the rational as a projection of the psychosexual, which ties back to daemonic creation: the summit of rational perfection creates the negation of rational existence… or is it its ultimate perfection, this being of “purity”?

    -David's freedom was seized, it’s implied, by his programmed creative drive. He…

  • Alien³

    Alien³

    This foregrounds the survivor's guilt integral to the sequels, and keeps enough of Vincent Ward's concept alive (the novel low-tech texture), that I always find it easy to overlook its failures. Specifically, the thematic confusion regarding religion -- and "confusion" is charitable, as it never develops the topic once the plot proper gets underway -- has never bothered me. Mostly because this is, for all of the bruised male egos that battled through its creation, Weaver's film. Weaver as auteur…

  • Zack Snyder's Justice League

    Zack Snyder's Justice League

    There will be plenty of other reviews covering this film's themes, relationship to its predecessors, etc., so just a brief note on its form. Because what struck me, on first viewing (even on a sub-optimal rip), was its ability to inspire awe in the superheroic -- no small feat on a desktop screen, in a questionably chosen aspect ratio. Actual wonder in the spectacle.

    The similarities to the Whedon cut only make Snyder's unique action that much more palpable. And…

  • Prometheus

    Prometheus

    Most involving when delving into body horror or dealing with David's arc, essentially setting up a series of anxieties and ideas to be exploded in Alien: Covenant. On faith it mostly gropes — Shaw's character is more Hollywood Christian 101 than Billy Crudup's in the follow-up. Granted, their arcs and prominence in their respective narratives are different, but Prometheus splits awkwardly with Shaw and David. A generous reading would say this is intentional, Shaw's dangerous naiveté being obvious all the…

  • Shopping

    Shopping

    I don’t read the nihilism frequently mentioned in reviews. Jude Law’s character is nihilistic, or suicidal, to be sure, but the film doesn’t reflect his attitude. That’s why he’s tempered by Sadie Frost’s character. Her perspective puts Law and Sean Pertwee into a frame, a masculine competition that draws more attention, in the scale from them to Sean Bean’s character, to a social condition. All of their actions are reactions against their poverty. Law is, again, suicidal, unlike the grasping…

  • Event Horizon

    Event Horizon

    Shopping and Mortal Kombat aren't insignificant to W.S.'s ensuing filmography, their images and portions of their structures being reused repeatedly, but this was the leap forward. The hostility of design, or form cursed by the darkness in the designer. It authoritatively establishes the key conflict of his cinema, that between organic and more exacting geometries. One character cheekily likens a space to a meat-grinder. The grids and mutating, rapacious logic of Umbrella issue from here, a "dimension of pure chaos" given mathematical form, creating its own images.

  • Black Sunday

    Black Sunday

    Only barely related to its Gogol source, despite original intentions, Black Sunday instead finds Bava & co. interpolating his studio-trained artifice with the sensibility of Poe and suggestions of De Sade. Reality bends around Bava's improvisations as much as his effects -- the film having been insufficiently prepped -- so that two characters may enter a space in one sequence, and two others, later, can find new features in that same space (the nude of Asa in the secret passage). Propagating…

  • Predator

    Predator

    Not as fluid as McTiernan films to come -- he finessed his cutting philosophy with Frank Urioste and Jan de Bont during the production and post-production of Die Hard -- but clearly, robustly the work of a born filmmaker. Not only for his ability to create space out of the jungle, but also for his ability to give a plastic reality to thought and emotion through the camera.

    The long takes are unassuming yet sinuous: a dolly shot of the…