review_into the abyss

The supplementary title for Werner Herzog’s new documentary about capital punishment is “A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life.” These clauses are placed in a perplexing order that seems, at first, to run in reverse. However, when viewing the film, it becomes abundantly clear why life is not necessarily a linear trajectory that ends in death, with all the mutual exclusivity implied in the assumed separation of these categories. Instead, Into the Abyss argues that death is something one perpetually lives with, especially the certain knowledge of impending death in the case of state-run execution or in the memory of death when one’s loved one has been murdered. The certainty and harsh reality of death not only plagues the prisoner and the victim’s kin, but also profoundly effects a large array of individuals involved directly or indirectly with every heinous crime and execution. The timing of the release of Into the Abyss is worth noting. In September, Troy Davis was executed in the face of massive public protest and significant lingering doubts as to the fairness of his trial. Many anti-death penalty advocates saw the case as a potentially fatal blow for state-run execution, as it illuminated flaws within the system which in turn troubled capital punishment’s logic of justice. A mere two months later, the Troy Davis case has been almost completely forgotten in the public sphere as the news cycle has turned its lenses to Occupy movements and the ongoing reality show known as GOP debates. The […]



With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #26): “Execution” (airdate 4/1/60) The Plot: An outlaw from the Old West is saved from the noose by a scientist who gets in way over his head. The Goods: The funny thing about time travel is that if you invent it, you want to use it yourself. On the other hand, if it’s untested, you might want to see if you can grab an unwilling volunteer (which is an oxymoron, I know) to make sure people come out the other side with all their parts in the right places. In this episode, Professor Manion (Russell Johnson) uses his time-bending invention to pull a man from the 19th century, and it just so happens that Joe Caswell (Albert Salmi), the unwitting traveler, was a nanosecond away from shuffling off his mortal coil at the end of a rope.


The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Because this short is startling, funny, and gritty all in two minutes. That’s the sign of true talent – when you can take an idea and boil it down to its basics to tell a story that quickly. Tune for Two is the quick story of a execution that takes a strange turn. The camera work is first rate, and Tarantino fans will love it, but revealing who else would love it would spoil the glorious, wonderful surprise waiting halfway through. A gun is pointed at the back of your head as you stare down at the grave dug just for you. What do you do? What Will It Cost? Just 2 minutes of your time. Does it get better any better than that? Check out Tune for Two for yourself:


Boiling Point

I’m a big fan of survival. I figure not matter how bad life is, it’s always at least a step better than being dead. As such, my self-preservation instinct is very high. While I’m not risk averse or danger shy, if I’m faced with a life or death situation, I’m choosing life and doing whatever it takes to come out on top. I naturally assume that most people are like that. Living is pretty awesome. Why then, when faced with death do characters insist on opening their mouths? Many times in movies if you just keep your trap shut you’ll either slip by unnoticed or be allowed to leave. Not keeping your mouth shut is idiotic.

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published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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