‘Knives Out’ – A Satisfying Whodunnit, A Better Social Satire

To be frank, Rian Johnson feels overqualified for the whodunnit. Known for his subversive-style storytelling, Johnson has a knack for one-upping the genres he’s operating in: Brick, a high school thriller wearing a hardboiled fedora & trench coat; Looper, a time-travel movie more invested in drama than sci-fi; and The Last Jedi, an age-old good vs. evil blockbuster that transcends Chosen One tropes. With Knives Out, Johnson is back in detective mode, but the genre can’t contain his ideas or idiosyncrasies. Knives Out is flesh and blood a murder mystery, but the real hat-trick is that it’s simultaneously a satire that slyly carves its way into the beating political heart of America. Continue reading

‘Star Wars’ and the Nature of Expectation

“This is not going to go the way you think.”

There’s a reason this was the money quote for The Last Jedi. The very placement of this film as the middle chapter inevitably invites the comparison to Empire Strikes Back. Writer-director Rian Johnson seems acutely aware of this and it becomes his main storytelling drive to take everything we know about Star Wars and turn it on its head, much to the benefit of the franchise.  Continue reading