Ravenous is a beautiful meditation on cannibalism, the meaning of courage, the dangers of isolation to the human psyche, and why Robert Carlyle is like that all the time. Anyone who grew up in the California public school system is intimately familiar with the American fixation on survival cannibalism and the way it tends to skirt the boundary between horrified fascination and something a little bit darker, but Ravenous makes explicit the metaphorical link between feasting gaining strength from human misery and the way manifest destiny is embedded in the settler-colonial DNA of this country in a way which only really tips over the line into heavy-handed once or twice.
The story begins with Guy Pearce’s Captain John Boyd, who is disillusioned with both himself and the national and military systems he’s a part of before they have even become a literal horror movie before his eyes, and things only get worse for him from there. Eventually Robert Carlyle comes along with his totally unsuspicious tale of woe and reveals to me personally once again that someone in Hollywood really ought to adapt Irvine Welsh’s Begbie-centric book for a Trainspotting-spinoff horror thriller, because Robert Carlyle has been in training to star in The Blade Artist for his entire career.
Like a lot of horror, this isn’t a story to come to for realism, and if practical considerations like the fact that dehydration works a lot faster than starvation are really going to bother you, I don’t entirely recommend it, but as horror-westerns which will make you seriously consider vegetarianism go, it’s a pretty stand-out specimen.
American Psycho: This is the role Christian Bale was born to play, and also neatly explains why he can be so off-putting in most other roles.
Velvet Goldmine: Speaking of Christian Bale being off-putting, making him the point of view of the frame story is my least favorite part of this otherwise excellent movie. All rock star fantasies should involve both aliens and Oscar Wilde. Also includes an entirely necessary naked and glitter-covered Ewan McGregor.
Inside Llewyn Davis: A lighthearted romp about the grinding inevitability of reliving your own mistakes over and over again no matter how hard you try to learn from them, and the sinking crush of depression of a life you must have chosen at one point, but which has gone wrong for reasons outside of your control, and which you can’t figure out how to wrench yourself out of. Perfect soundtrack.
Hard Core Logo: No, that’s not just a guy who looks like Joey Ramone in the talking-head montage at the beginning, it’s actually Joey Ramone. Mockumentary displaying highly questionable deployment of documentary ethics. You will only like this movie if you enjoy sad grunge punks, but if you do, you really ought to watch it. Julie and the Phantoms: I’m only three episodes in and already hooked. All the Disney Channel original movie vibes but people are actually allowed to be textually gay. Somebody give this child-protagonist a crash-course in not talking to ghosts in front of people who can’t see them. Being a ghost is traumatic, probably, but these three still just want to rock and roll.
Sidney Dritz is currently reevaluating what to do with the rest of her life, which makes the angle to take in bios tricky. She finished her three-college tour of America at the University of Southern Maine, and her poetry has appeared in Glass Poetry Press’s #PoetsResist series, in Claw & Blossom, and in Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters.