2018 is dead but I am not and neither, incredibly, is this site. Well it was, but like Lazarus risen, it comes forth with fresh new content! Is more to follow? Who knows, but I resolve to feign a college try or two before settling into effort-free idleness. But who am I kidding? I may have known when it started but 2018 saw the end of idleness in my life for some time. More on that in a moment.

I'm saying goodbye to the year that was with a recap of mine in love and movies, the noteworthy and the not-but-noted-anyway that color my memories of 2018. It was a monumental year that brought seismic change to our family with one unfortunate side-effect: limited time for cinema, a real shame because it was (I hear) a great year for movies. Throughout this post I'll call out a few titles from each month that I'd like to catch up on, so look no further if you're hunting for rental suggestions; they all come recommended by critics and others whose opinions I trust.

Without further ado, let's get started on this walk down my personal Memory Lane. Here's the serious and the silly that was on my mind in 2018. 

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Films I Missed: Paddington 2, Hostiles, Mary and the Witch's Flower
What a start to the year! The "Time's Up" movement took center stage, Oprah's Golden Globes speech raised presidential prospects, and Film Twitter was tearing itself apart over Three Billboards' racist cop. We spent most of the month catching awards nominees as they expanded into the Charlotte market but our very first movie of the year was less dignified: Green Lantern. Yikes! Speaking of yikes, remember when a bunch of troglodytes called for a no-girls-allowed cut of The Last Jedi?

We crossed an item off of our bucket list and became season ticket holders to the local theater. In January we caught two musicals: School of Rock (featuring ridiculously talented kids in a wonderful companion to a wonderful film) and Phantom of the Opera, which was less impressive than in previous tours (a very obviously disguised Phantom frequently appeared before the mirror scene, stripping any mystery from incidents that should be strange and unexplained beforehand.)

Films I Missed: Annihilation, Game Night, Early Man
In the early morning on February 21, my wife violently shook me awake and, waving a tiny white stick in the air, shouted "Hey! Hey! Want to have a baby?!" before bursting into tears. Not exactly an Instagram moment but one I'll certainly never forget (I got out a series of increasingly wide-eyed "what"s before myself dissolving into a puddle of happy tears.)

Another reason it was a good month: the Patriots lost the SuperBowl, during which Netflix set my timeline aflame by suddenly announcing the release of The Cloverfield Paradox; I joined in tweeting enthusiastically but then never watched the movie. I'm told it's terrible.

Films I Missed: Death of Stalin, Love Simon, Isle of Dogs, Unsane
Fresh off of the pregnancy news, it was off to the United Kingdom for the first major vacation since our honeymoon in 2011. A few highlights:

We toured Windsor Castle...
...visited dead royalty at St. George's Chapel (two weeks before the wedding!)...

...were awed by Stonehenge...
...walked the tomb-filled halls of Westminster Abbey (this was amazing)...

...went to as many museums as we could find...

...unwound with late-night scrabble.
It was a pretty amazing trip. And oh yeah, we went to Hogwarts.

The Warner Brothers Studio Tour - London: The Making of Harry Potter was one of the highlights of the trip for these two hopeless Potterheads. It begins with a brief welcome video but the screen soon retracts, revealing massive doors instantly recognizable as those leading to the Great Hall. They open, and you're there - the actual set, reconstructed and adorned with familiar props and costumes leading to front of the hall, where costumes for each Hogwarts professor are on display.

From there it's a leisurely stroll through sets and relics from the entire 8-film franchise: Hagrid's hut, Dumbledore's office, the Gryffindor common room, and more. 

Rounding the last corner you come face to face with the scale model used to film exterior shots of the castle, pictured above. It's breathtaking, massive and stunning in its detail. The lights are kept dim and music from the films soars around you. I was struck by how quiet everyone around us was, even how quiet we were, just taking in this monument from our youth. A truly magical moment; I may have gotten a bit misty. Accio tissue!

Films I Missed: You Were Never Really Here, Lean on Pete
Did you know that after 35 years, Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on cinemas and screened Black Panther (lightly edited to remove kisses and naughty words) to a mixed sex audience? It was a move that earned the kingdom some praise for moderating before it brutally murdered a journalist. Easy come, easy go, eh Prince Salman?

My birthday is in April; I got a PlayStation 4 and a minor obsession with Avengers: Infinity War. We celebrated by seeing Beautiful: The Carol King Musical, the second in a string of shows with plot-relevant pregnancies (in March we saw Waitress when we got back). Timely!

Films I Missed: Tully, First Reformed, RBG
Solo is remarkable in that it was the first Star Wars film I wasn't dying to see opening night. I did, of course, eventually see it and it was fine, if a bit "I Understood That Reference: The Movie."

Concerned about the potential negative impact of streaming distribution on the French theater industry, Cannes barred Netflix films from competition. Netflix responded by pulling their entire lineup from the official selection, which included Orson Welles' final film The Other Side of the Wind (unfinished when he died but since reconstructed) and Roma, a leading contender for the upcoming awards season. Netflix would go on to release Roma in a limited theatrical release (they want that Oscar), but the whole affair prompted interesting discussions about the uncomfortable coexistence of traditional and digital distribution models. 

Films I Missed: Upgrade, Leave No Trace, Hereditary, Three Identical Strangers
My June obsession is Gotti, the John Travolta biopic of John Gotti distributed in part by movie ticket subscription company MoviePass. It has a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, a 24 on Metacritic and responded to the poor reception by launching an ad campaign suggesting it was a conspiracy. Wowza!

Now more than halfway through the pregnancy, we decided to cap off the month with a last weekend getaway and headed to Hilton Head Island. 

Films I Missed: Eighth Grade, Sorry to Bother You, Blindspotting, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!
July saw the end of our MoviePass membership. As it turns out, there's not much profit in slashing ticket prices for consumers while paying full price yourself. Suddenly strapped for cash, MoviePass tried to stem the bleeding with a surcharge on popular movies and showtimes or outright removing them from the app entirely. The writing was on the wall; by month's end the service went down for a few days after the company failed to make payments to its card processor.  

Remarkably, MoviePass is still limping on, reigning in services and raising prices. Maybe it can make it but signs point to no. Recent filings suggest they've bled subscribers since implementing cost controls and HeliosMatheson, their parent company, has seen their stock price go from trading above $47 to less than $.02. That's right, two cents. So long, MoviePass, and thanks for all the movies.

Films I Missed: BlacKkKlansman, Alpha, Searching
But I'm a sucker for the movie ticket subscription programs so we immediately signed up for the newly announced AMC A-List. A bit more expensive than MoviePass but more flexibility with at-home ticket reservations and multiple movies in a day. Why I chose to do this right two months before our baby was due I'll never know. We saw Crazy Rich Asians, which was great, but now I've paid the A-List subscription fee for five months and have still only used it to see Crazy Rich Asians, because of course as an expecting couple there was other shit to do, Nick, you idiot, you absolute moron. If anyone asks if Crazy Rich Asians is worth seeing, tell them you know a guy who paid $100 for his ticket.

In other film news, the Academy of Motion Pictures announced and then quickly unannounced the creation of an Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film. Perhaps announcing the category alongside specific qualifying criteria would have helped avoid such fierce criticism, which was swift and came from everywhere thanks to its vague definition. The Academy was accused of both attempting to tilt the scale so Black Panther would be assured a nomination and of trying to prevent it from tainting the "real" Best Picture award. My guess is we'll see another attempt down the road. After all, these types of categories aren't unheard of; the very first Academy Awards presented Oscars to an Outstanding Picture and then a separate Best Unique and Artistic Picture. 

But please, a little more foresight next time, Academy.

Films I Missed: Mandy, Assassination Nation, The House with a Clock in Its Walls
With one month to go until baby, September remains a bit of a blur of nursery prep and parenting classes. What I can tell you is that at some point we got Life of Pi from Netflix (yes, we still use their DVD service). It remains unwatched. 

Oh, and The Phantom of the Opera has a sequel and it is an ugly, unpleasant, melodramatic nightmare that I found deeply funny.

Films I Missed: A Star is Born, The Old Man and the Gun, Bad Times at the El Royale, First Man
Summed up: Hamilton. Hocus Pocus. Had a baby. As for Hamilton, we cut it close. Our ticket date was October 16, our due date the 21st. Almost every expecting couple we knew started having their babies a week or two early. All of the old wives tales? We did the opposite. No spicy foods. No eggplant. I had to sleep in a different room entirely (I kid, I kid). And we got lucky. Also lucky: we originally had scheduled our UK trip for this month. Whew!

Hocus Pocus. When it came time for induction, we were neck deep in the "Freeform 31 Days of Halloween." Induction and labor lasted about 32 hours. Do you have any idea how many times you can catch Hocus Pocus over 32 hours? I do, and the answer is many. Thank goodness it's our kind of campy fun. The 25th Anniversary Special, though? No thanks. And as for having a baby:

That's Margaret Olivia. She was born October 21 and spent a week in the hospital with a bout of jaundice but is otherwise healthy.We call her Maggie and she's pretty great.

Films I Missed: Overlord, Widows, The Favourite
On November 1, we watched our first movie as a family of three: Murder on the Orient Express, starring Sir Kenneth Branagh's nigh miraculous mustache. Learning to be parents those first few weeks was certainly an adventure. A sleepless, poop-covered, oh-god-the-dogs-ate-the-diapers adventure. But we've grown into it together. At Thanksgiving, I was thankful to have a partner like Whitney. Loving to the last, ever patient when I'm frustrated, a reassuring voice when I'm feeling defeated. I'm a fortunate person, rich in love if nothing else. And I'm not just saying that because she'll be reading this!

On a less serious note, as new parents in search of cost cutting measures we finally made the decision to cut the cord, swapping from cable to PlayStationVue. Aside from some occasional issues with channels loading right away we're pretty happy with the swap.

Films I Missed: Mary Queen of Scots, Vox Lux, Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse, If Beale Street Could Talk, Bumblebee
We joined the Disney Movie Club after hemming and hawing about it for months. We want to have some animated classics on hand for when Maggie is ready to start watching movies (a few years down the line). It just so happens that Disney recently began issuing a new "Signature Collection" of Vault-eligible titles, so we snapped them up. Here's my first haul, total cost $23. 

We also got out on our first post-parenthood date night, sharing fajitas and taking in A Christmas Story: The Musical, which I didn't even know existed until we got the tickets. As a kid, I never really got the movie (it's been more than a decade since I last saw it, so it may need revisiting) but I enjoyed the show. As a musical it's entirely superfluous, but as a sweet, family friendly cup of Christmas cheer, it was exactly what I needed to get into the holiday spirit.

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And that was my year, told in about one thousand more words than necessary. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Looking into 2019, it's going to be a wild year for our family but I hope to find some time to get back to the theater, which I love and have missed. And for you and your loved ones, I wish for all the happiness this New Year can bring you.

Happy New Year.

Welcome to the official schedule for the fourth annual Shocktober! For the uninitiated, Shocktober is an October family tradition, a month-long celebration of the All Hallows spirit with 31-days of Halloween-themed film. This year's lineup is made up of 34 films spanning almost 65 years of film history. And as always, the line up includes a little something for everyone to enjoy, no matter how brave or squeamish.

Below you'll find our family's Shocktober list complete with notes on the cheapest ways to watch. You can also find the list in calendar form with more complete rental notes here. For those of you with a Letterboxd account, I've created a Shocktober 2018 List to make it easy to follow along and add films to your profile.

Have fun and remember: screaming is the reason for the season!

The Super Spooky Shocktober 2018 Schedule

1 - Prevenge, 2016 (Shudder)
2 - House on Haunted Hill, 1957 (Amazon Prime)
3 - Signs, 2002 (Hulu)
4 - Arachnophobia, 1990 (Cinemax)
5 - The Thing, 1982 (Starz)
6 - Suspiria, 1977 (Midnight Pulp)
7 - A Quiet Place, 2018 (Redbox) 
8 - What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, 1962 (Digital Rental)
9 - Aliens, 1986 (HBO)
10 - Theatre of Blood, 1973 (Digital Rental)
11 - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, 2016 (FX Now)
12 - Rear Window, 1954 (Starz)
13 - Cat People, 1982 (Starz)
14 - Practical Magic, 1998 (HBO)
15 - American Psycho, 2000 (Hulu)
16 - Christine, 1983 (Digital Rental)
17 - A Ghost Story, 2017 (Amazon Prime)
18 - Eyes Without a Face, 1960 (Amazon Prime)
19 - Children of the Corn, 1984 (Netflix, Hulu)

20 - The Science Fiction Double Feature
Repo! The Genetic Opera, 2008 (Digital Rental)
Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975 (Digital Rental)

21 - Horror of Dracula, 1958 (Digital Rental)
22 - Tucker and Dale vs Evil, 2010 (Netflix, Hulu)
23 - The Wicker Man, 1973 (Digital Rental)
24 - Jaws, 1975 (Amazon Prime)
25 - Shaun of the Dead, 2004 (Digital Rental)
26 - What We Do In the Shadows, 2014 (Amazon Prime)
27 - Frankenweenie, 2012 (Digital Rental)

28 - Slasher Sequels
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, 1985 (Digital Rental)
Halloween 2, 1981 (Digital Rental)
Friday the 13th Part 3, 1982 (Digital Rental)

29 - Tales from the Crypt, 1972 (Amazon Prime)
30 - It Follows, 2014 (Netflix)
31 - Hocus Pocus, 1993 (All-Day Marathon on Freeform) 

Will you be doing your own Shocktober? Do you have any fun Halloween movie traditions? Share in the comments below!

Welcome to the first of my Bite-Sized Reviews! I'm throwing down brief thoughts on the three most recent films we've seen in a non-theatrical setting. Think of this as a journal entry from my road to watching every movie. Today I'm taking a quick look at a superhero flop, singing cats, and orcs on the force.


Green Lantern (2011)

Well, I'll just come out with it. Green Lantern is not a good movie. It would be easy to trash for its lousy special effects (That costume! That mask!) or impossibly silly villains, but I'll settle for casting barbs at its screenplay.

Green Lantern is utterly unambitious; it aspires only to execute on then well-established genre formula. Mediocrity is not criminal as long as it is competent, but Green Lantern neither does anything new nor seems to really understand the betters it seeks to mimic. A superhero movie is more than powers and a boss fight. As with any satisfying story, we want our hero to learn something, to change, to grow. This script is unburdened by such frivolities as character development or story arcs. Hal Jordan begins the film as a high flying ace, the best at what he does, and ends it the same way, only having traded his jet for a magic ring.

Does he learn anything? Not really. Infuriatingly, in a film where the villain is literally fear given form, it seems obvious to have your hero learn to face and overcome his own fears and doubts. The script seems vaguely aware of this. Early in the film, Hal, having flown a successful mission, suddenly becomes paralyzed by memory of his father's death in a plane crash (in an unintentionally hilarious scene, his father throws a thumbs up before exploding). Brushing off his troubled feelings, Hal tells his family its "my job to not be afraid." And that's that, it's never brought up again. Hal accuses others of giving into fear then saves the day without resolving any of the internal conflict, clumsy though it may be, that might make him an interesting character.

Anyway, it's got Ryan Reynolds, so that's good I guess.

Score: 2 of 5 of those who try to stop whats right burn like my power, Green Lantern's Light! 

The Aristocats (1970)

Here's a bit of colorful fun! It's probably among the weaker of Disney's earlier animated portfolio, but I'd be lying if I didn't catch myself chuckling as paint splattered kittens jump around on piano keys or compulsively humming O'Malley's theme tune a few days after watching the film. On the other hand, "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat" might be the worst Disney song of all time (I look forward to your letters) and that's before considering the sequence's abrupt veer into racist caricature.

Distasteful relic of a less sensitive time aside, I can see why the people who grew up with The Aristocats love it. The characters are cute and quotable (noted non-feline duo Napoleon and Lafayette made me laugh out loud more than once; they are good boys, yes they are). There's a good-natured silliness running through the entire adventure. Comparisons to One Hundred and One Dalmatians, which preceded The Aristocats by about a decade, are unavoidable; after all, both films feature cuddly pets escaping schemes to off them. The Aristocats is undeniably the simpler film and, having traded the very frightening Cruella de Vil for bumbling butler Edgar, is less scary, too, and so better suited for the very youngest children.

I always feel a twinge of loss watching the old Disney classics. Not to diminish the artistry of modern animation, but there's something amazing about hand drawn features and their little flaws. An errant sketch line is a momentary reminder of the human touch on every frame, each an imperfect labor of love.

Score: 3 of 5 kittens learning their scales and their arpeggios. 

Bright (2017)

And then there's Bright, a generic buddy cop movie spliced with generic fantasy tropes that would be mediocre but inoffensive if not for its tortured exploitation of real race issues on an ill-advised quest for relevance. The script, presumably a first draft written in crayon, is allergic to subtlety and so (rather than with skillful symbolism) presents an instantly recognizable caricature of America where black people have been essentially replaced by orc stand-ins, orcs which are universally depicted as blinged-out, baggy-clothed gangsta stereotypes (well, near universally - our hero orc cop is one of the good ones, I guess). Anyway, maybe watching cops beat and abuse thuggish orcs instead of brown people will jolt Joe America out of his All Lives Matter idiocy, but I somehow doubt it.

The film doesn't actually do anything with all this imagery, by the way. Bright isn't really about racism or racial injustice, the film just wants you to know it knows they exist. How very progressive.

If it feels like I'm harping on the point, that's because the rest of the film is entirely forgettable! I did enjoy the future-fantasy aesthetic and the interactions between Will Smith and Joel Edgerton. And that's all I got. I wouldn't not watch a sequel (I do not value myself or my time), but I definitely wouldn't re-watch this.

Score: 1.5 of 5 fairies brutally murdered while Will Smith exclaims "Fairy lives don't matter today!" (No really, that happens. Yikes.)


Thanks for reading! If you've seen any of these films and want to agree (or disagree) with my takes, I'd love to talk about it, so leave a comment or send an e-mail!

Welcome to the official schedule for the third annual Shocktober! For the uninitiated, Shocktober is an October family tradition, a month-long celebration of the Halloween spirit with 31-days of Halloween-themed film. This year's lineup is our biggest yet: 37 films from three continents representing almost 60 years of film history. And as always, the line up includes a little something for everyone to enjoy, no matter how brave or squeamish.

Below you'll find our family's Shocktober list complete with notes on the cheapest ways to watch. You can also find the list in calendar form with more complete rental notes here. For those of you with a Letterboxd account, I've created a Shocktober 2017 List to make it easy to follow along and add films to your profile.

About half the films on this year's list are available via some streaming service; the rest are available as digital rentals from various platforms. If you want to celebrate Shocktober but want to avoid spending, you can always use sites like Just Watch to find streaming substitutes. Have fun and remember: screaming is the reason for the season!

The Super Spooky Shocktober 2017 Schedule

1 - IT, 2017 (In Theaters)
2 - Psycho, 1960 (Digital Rental)
3 - The Omen, 1976 (Digital Rental)
4 - Cujo, 1983 (Digital Rental)
5 - Let the Right One In, 2008 (Hulu)
6 - Rosemary's Baby, 1972 (Amazon Prime)
7 - Get Out, 2017 (Redbox) 
8 - Spring, 2014 (Digital Rental)
9 - Tucker and Dale vs Evil, 2010 (Netflix, Hulu)
10 - The Sixth Sense, 1999 (Netflix)
11 - Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974 (Amazon Prime)
12 - Teen Wolf, 1985 (Amazon Prime, Hulu)
13 - Coraline, 2009 (Netflix)

14 - Horrible Horror Movie Triple Feature
Birdemic: Shock and Terror, 2010 (Amazon Prime)
Night of the Lepus, 1972 (Digital Rental)
Maximum Overdrive, 1986 (HBO Go/Now)

15 - Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1992 (Digital Rental)
16 - Godzilla, 2014 (Digital Rental)
17 - The Wicker Man, 1973 (Digital Rental)
18 - The Fly, 1986 (Digital Rental)
19 - Aliens, 1986 (Digital Rental)

20 - Science Fiction Double Feature
Repo! The Genetic Opera, 2008 (Digital Rental)
Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975 (Digital Rental)

21 - Spooky Story-time Double Feature
Kwaidan, 1965 (Digital Rental)
Creepshow, 1982 (Digital Rental)

22 - The Witch, 2016 (Amazon Prime)
23 - Pet Semetary, 1989 (Amazon Prime, Hulu)
24 - Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, 2016 (Starz)
25 - Under the Shadow, 2016 (Netflix)
26 - Frankenweenie, 2012 (Digital Rental)
27 - Honeymoon, 2014 (Netflix)

28 - Slasher Sequels
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, 1985 (Digital Rental)
Halloween 2, 1981 (Starz)
Friday the 13th Part 3, 1982 (Starz)

29 - Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977 (Digital Rental)
30 - It Follows, 2015 (Netflix)
31 - Hocus Pocus, 1993 (All-Day Marathon on Freeform) 

Will you be doing your own Shocktober? Do you have any fun Halloween movie traditions? Share in the comments below!

By now you've heard that seemingly everyone hates mother!, a polarizing work of art-with-a-capital-A that might be best described as an anti-crowd pleaser. It's true - this enigma of a film is not for everyone, certainly not for the casual moviegoers seeking the bog standard horror flick unhelpfully promised by bait-and-switch marketing. Weird from the word go, mother! only gets weirder as it swells to a crescendo of surreal, fever-dream crazy that will bewilder, anger, shock and upset. Make no mistake: there will be walkouts. But for patrons with an appetite for the eccentric or a hunger for a bit more than popcorn flick fluff, mother! serves up a twisted allegory drenched in symbolism ripe for interpretation that's fun to watch and more fun to argue about after the credits roll.

From its opening scene, mother! signals it is a different kind of movie, welcoming us with flickering, dream-like visions: a face in flames, an otherworldly crystal, a house shedding its burnt-out husk to become beautiful, and finally a woman formed out of the ash - the titular Mother, played by Jennifer Lawrence. She shares this home with her husband, a poet played by Javier Bardem wrestling with writer's block without inspiration for his next great work. She clearly loves him, but he is distracted and distant. When she shows warmth, he withdraws and retreats to work, staring at blank pages. Still, she is devoted and pours herself into an all encompassing renovation of their home to create, she says, a paradise for him.

Then comes a knock at a door - the first of many to come that will throw Mother's happy quiet into chaos. A man (Ed Harris) mistakes their home for a bed and breakfast. Mother is wary but her husband, delighted to meet someone new, invites him to stay. The two are unnaturally fast friends, sitting up all night laughing and swapping stories. The next morning, to Mother's horror, the man's wife (Michele Pfeiffer) arrives. She is probing, inappropriate, and drips with contempt for Mother, but she too is invited to stay.

If mother! felt like a dream before, here it starts to creep towards hazy nightmare. mother! isn't a particularly scary film, but it is consistently disquieting. Mother begins to have disturbing visions (because this bonkers ride is best taken totally unspoiled, I'll leave it at that). As the unwanted visitors' ever-presence becomes suffocating to Mother, the film becomes claustrophobic thanks to camerawork fixed permanently and uncomfortably close to her face. The film has no real musical score, leaving our focus squarely on the sounds of life around the house. Experienced through Mother, they are cold and isolating. Even her beloved husband, delighted by the guests and their stories, increasingly disaffected by Mother's pain, seems alien.

There are more knocks, more (and worse) guests and mother! shifts from a psychological suspense drama to something more like a home invasion quasi-horror. And then, suffice it to say, the film goes places.

With the camera so intimately close to her for the entire two hour running time, this is Jennifer Lawrence's film and she performs admirably. Her role requires both great restraint and range, both of which she demonstrates. Some have complained that her Mother seems muted and inhuman. I wonder if that doesn't miss the point. More importantly the reserved Mother of the first act makes an explosively emotional second act all the more gut-churning. Lawrence is supported by secondary performances impressive in their own right. She and Michele Pfeiffer's wonderful, deliciously hateful wife share some of the film's best scenes. Ed Harris is perfectly affable. Javier Bardem's presence is appropriately but ambiguously menacing.

At some point while watching mother! you will have a "what the hell is happening" moment. And of course, what is happening is... well, it depends on who you ask. This is clearly a film about something other than the action on screen, but what exactly that is depends entirely on the viewer. mother! is a puzzle whose pieces can be put together into many different pictures, withholding "meaning" from those that do not look for it. Many disagree. mother! has been hammered by both those who see it as confusing, pointless provocation and those who argue that it is a pretentious and shallow film playing at high art - both meaningless and meaningful, just not meaningful enough. Perhaps. It wasn't to me.

There is one truly disappointing thing about mother!, though. Since the film's disappointing box office over the weekend, Darren Aronofsky has taken to explaining his intended "true meaning" in a series of widely publicized pieces. I hope this doesn't deter newcomers from finding their own. After all, isn't that what art is all about?

Score: 4 / 5

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