Cinematic Codes Review: ISSN 2473-3385 (print); ISSN 2473-3377 (online): features works in all visual genres, especially those with moving pictures, be they music videos, feature films, documentaries, photography, or just about any other mode or genre of art that does not fall into the realm of “literature,” which will be the primary object of Anaphora’s Pennsylvania Literary Journal. The other term in the name is “codes” and the intention here is to go beyond the simple summary or theme of the projects criticized in this journal’s pages to the codes and meanings that are hidden beyond the superficial. The third component of the journal is a dedication to reviewing and criticizing the arts, as opposed to applauding and viewing them. A great review should help artists to make better art by pointing out flaws. There is no such thing as perfect art, as all art is still in its infancy, and the last couple of centuries have seen great leaps in its evolution. There is a long road ahead for art, and it’s the critics’ job to take it in the right direction. Artists are not children that need to be congratulated on their mistakes. They should see profits in honest negativity, and the downfall of creativity in false flattery.

“Thank you for a very fair review of my show. You seem to understand it very well. Appreciate you taking the time to go through several episodes, not just the pilot. Many more good things on the way and hopefully the show will get even better. I’m certainly having a blast.” –Jack Maxwell, Host, Booze Traveler, Travel Channel

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Reviews of Netflix Films: Volume I, Issue 1: Spring 2016: ($10, 114pp, 6X9”, ISBN-13: 978-1-533169-08-2; Purchase on CreateSpace or Amazon): This first issue of Cinematic Codes Review includes three film studies essays. Richmond B. Adams writes about an alternative perspective on Canon Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Trevor Seigler’s essay focuses on Paris as Antoine Doinel saw it. Finally, Michael T. Smith discusses subversive sexuality in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. The Editor, Anna Faktorovich, contributes a series of reviews of pop, art, documentary, series and other films she has been watching on Netflix with screenshots to illustrate her points. There is also a review of Livide, a vampire horror film, by Jane M. Kubiesa. The last section includes drawings from a widely displayed artist, Allen Forrest.

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Interviews with Ripley’s, an Illustrator, and the Winners of the BFF: Volume I, Issue 2, Summer 2016: ($15, 6X9”, 236pp, ISBN-13: 978-1-5374-6124-3, September 3, 2016; Purchase on CreateSpace or Amazon): This second issue of the Cinematic Codes Review includes innovative scholarship and critical pieces. The essays include cinematic theory studies such as Felicia Cosey’s examination of paternal authority in post-apocalyptic films. Carolin Kirchner examines aesthetics in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s work. Robert McParland studies value in Apocalypse Now. Keith Moser’s new contribution to Anaphora’s journals looks at the crisis of simulation in Black Mirror. Antonio Sanna looks at grandeur in the Star Wars series. And Barbara Gambini considers the cinematic effects in Pascoli’s industrial oblivion. The interviews section includes two interviews conducted by the editor, before, after and during her trip to the ALA conference in Orlando, Florida, with Mark Wayne Adams, the award-winning illustrator, and Edward Meyer, the Vice President of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Their replies are frank, surprising and informative. For the first time, a couple of the interns have stepped up to help add a new perspective. Garrett Donnelly, a Columbia student, conducted a series of interviews with the winners of the Brooklyn Film Festival this summer. These BFF interviews are with Bentley Brown, Lou Hamou-Lhadj and Andrew Coats, Alix Blair and Jeremy Lange, Alicia Slimmer, and Claire Carré and Charles Spano. And Samantha Lauer wrote a set of reviews of films that she liked and disliked watching, offering some detailed criticisms for viewers and academics alike. The cover image is from Alicia Slimmer’s Creedmoria film, and her interview can be found amount Donnelly’s other BFF discussions.


The Intersection Between Dance and Art: Volume I, Issue 3: Fall 2016: ($20, color, 96pp, 6X9”, ISBN 978-1-541227-40-8; December 21, 2016; Purchase on Amazon or CreateSpace): This third issue of the Cinematic Codes Review includes an interview with Barbi Leifert, who has managed to build three fantastic careers in dance, painting and reporting. She has exhibited across the country including at The Museum of Contemporary Art in London, and she is the Art Chairperson for the Tacoma Dome District. In the essays section, Richard Baker, Professor of English at Adams State University, compares Casablanca (1942) and Jean-Paul Sartre’s resistance play The Flies (1943). Christopher Boon, researcher at the University of Queensland, discusses the reception of the latest 2016 Ghostbusters film and its use of an all-female cast in place of an all-male leading cast in the original. In her now regular film review section, Samantha Lauer closely examines a number of popular and artistic films including, The Purge: Election Year, X-Men: Apocalypse, The Little Prince, Rhymes for Young Ghouls and several others. In contrast, Arvi Sepp’s two reviews of the complex, German experiments, Group Portrait with Lady and Goalkeeper’s Fear of the Penalty use a more scholarly approach.

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Criticisms of Films, Past and Present: Volume II, Issue 1, Spring 2017: Cinematic Codes Review: ($10, 88pp, 6X9”, ISBN13: 978-1-546734-81-9; Purchase on CreateSpace or Amazon): This issue includes five film reviews from Cinematic Codes Review’s regular contributor, Samantha Lauer, which are illustrated with stills. There is also a scholarly film review of Ben-Hur from Antonio Sanna. One of the authors that previously published two poetry books with Anaphora, Jason Holt, made a critical essay contribution, with a study of Rocky IV’s training montage. Nichole DeWall, an associate professor of English at McKendree University, writes about two re-interpretations of two of William Shakespeare’s plays. And Brian Rowe writes about the intended victim in John Carpenter’s 1978 horror film, Halloween.

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Interviews with a Photographer and a Filmmaker: Volume II, Issue 2: Summer 2017: ($25, 114pp, 6X9”, ISBN: 978-1-975613-89-1; Purchase on Amazon or CreateSpace): You will find dozens of great color images in this issue. In an interview with Director Jorge Thielen-Armand, the winner of eight international film awards, there is a focus on what it’s like to make a first feature film in a troubled country like Venezuela after finishing a film program in Toronto. In the second interview, David Blevins, an award-winning photographer and forest ecologist gives advice to budding photographs on craft and art, as well as on the beauty of the natural environment in North Carolina. In the regular feature, Samantha Lauer presents several detailed film reviews with stills. Finally, Jessica Van de Kemp contributed an essay on disability as it is portrayed on the screen, with a focus on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Do the Right Thing.

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Interview with Francisca Alegria and Birgit Gernboeck, Sundance Winners: Volume II, Issue 3: Fall 2017: ($25: 86pp, 6X9”, 978-1-981896-38-7; color, softcover; Purchase on Amazon): This issue contains an interview with the Director, Francisca Alegria, and Producer, Birgit Gernboeck, of a Sundance-Winning short film, And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye. They answer questions about filming outstanding, artistic films in Chile and in other countries. They also touch on comedy versus tragedy, realism and spiritualism, and how to build up a career by making connections during an MFA at Columbia, or by building up a reel of outstanding work. The film reviews section once again includes reflections from Samantha Lauer and Antonio Sanna. Sheri Chinen Biesen examines Andrew Davies’ media adaptations of Jane Austen from BBC’s Pride and Prejudice (1995) to Sense and Sensibility (2008). Finally, Anthony Ballas offers criticism of Studios Before the System: Architecture, Technology, and the Emergence of Cinematic Space by Brian Jacobson.

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Interview with Jerry London, Emmy Award-Winning Filmmaker: Volume III, Issue 1: Spring 2018: ($20, 62pp, 6X9”: 978-1-719440-01-1, color; Purchase on Amazon): This issue of CCR includes an interview with Jerry London, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, who has worked with some of the top stars in Hollywood. He talks about the directing craft, art, and about the perils of the film industry. Samantha Lauer once again reviewed a set of interesting films, with screenshots to illustrate the descriptions. Finally, an essay from Judity Williams analyzes the rhetoric in the Game of Thrones.

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Interviews with Scholars: Volume III, Issue 2: Summer 2018: (84pp, color, 6X9”, Softcover: $15: 978-1-68114-477-1; Hardcover: $25: 978-1-68114-478-8; Literary Collections—Interviews; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): This summer issue features three interviews with established researchers and writers. Dr. John Milton Hoberman (University of Texas at Austin) discusses a variety of topics connected with his books, including his most recent book, Dopers in Uniform, on steroids in policing. Allen M. Hornblum (covered widely on CBS, CNN, and BBC) replies to questions on medical ethics and smear campaigns in sports, topics related to his latest release, American Colossus: Big Bill Tilden and the Creation of Modern Tennis. And professor Michele McArdle Stephens (West Virginia University) touches on the use of the hallucinogenic drug, peyote, in the Huichol culture, the subject of her first major book-length publication, In the Lands of Fire and Sun: Resistance and Accommodation in the Huichol Sierra, 1723-1930. Then an essay of film criticism by Heather Duerre Humann (Florida Gulf Coast University) discusses gender in science fiction in the film Sucker Punch. Samantha Lauer contributes her regular feature with reviews of recently released films that she particularly enjoyed including Coco, Mother! and Annihilation. In keeping with CCR’s mission to promote all visual and audio arts, the last section is a photography project on the themes of timelessness and comfort from a widely published photographer and author, Fabrice Poussin (Shorter University).

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Innovations and Repetitions: Volume III, Issue 3, Fall 2018: (78pp, 6X9”, $10: ISBN: 978-1-792070-86-0; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): Inside you will find a series of film reviews from the Editor on Fake or Fortune? Transcendence, Children of Men, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, Get Shorty, Bodyguard and Rake. In the essays section, Abidemi Olufemi Adebayo writes about African culture and sustainable development in Yoruba Nollywood films. John Basourakos discusses black, male hyper-masculinity in August Wilson’s Post-1950s plays Two Trains Running, Jitney and King Hedley II. Lastly, Mike Cordle describes whim work in a creative nonfiction essay.

Criticizing Film and Nutrition: Volume IV, Issue 1, Spring 2019: (110pp, 6X9”, $25: ISBN: 978-1-072097-54-9; dozens of color illustrations; Nonfiction—Health & Fitness—Diet & Nutrition—Weight Loss; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): The weight-loss essay from the editor, Anna Faktorovich, provides a survey of the frequently cited nutritional research to distill weight loss, veganism, and exercise theory into practical advice for the 71% made up of overweight Americans. The five film criticism essays cover the topics of: violent release comedy in All the Devil’s Men, dramatized emotions and racist politics in John Carter, humanitarian extermination and the death-threat in Avengers: Infinity War, the corporate subtext behind the gaming documentary, Playing Hard, and the architecture and politics of gardens in A Little Chaos. The one external contribution is five urban trees photographs from Keith Moul.

American Culture Under Review: Volume IV, Issue 2, Summer 2019: (46pp, 6X9”, $10: ISBN: 978-1-689190-08-4; 32 black and white illustrations; Nonfiction—Performing Arts—Film & Video—History & Criticism; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): This short issue includes a set of film reviews by Susie Gharib, which included analysis illustrated with stills of: V for Vendetta, The Piano, Never Let Me Go, Edward Scissorhands and The Wall. It also features an essay on Puritanism and out-of-culture experiences in Dubai by Gail Hammill (Assistant Professor of English at the American University in Dubai).

Documented American Fraud: Volume IV, Issue 3, Fall 2019: (102pp, 6X9”, $25: ISBN: 978-1-650214092; 82 color still illustrations; Nonfiction—Performing Arts—Film & Video—History & Criticism; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): This issue features four paintings, including the piece utilized as cover-art, by Nawwar Morelli (member of Latakia Plastic Artists). It also includes six essays from the Editor, Anna Faktorovich, in the first part, called “Fraud in American Documentaries”, of a two-part “Theoretical Film Studies” project. The topics covered are: Walter Benjamin’s annihilation of quality in mass cultural reproduction in Gasland Part II; Bernard Stiegler’s “Star” in Steve Burrows’ bleeding mother; Adorno and Horkheimer’s “idiotic plot” and representations of Elizabeth Holmes’ fraud; Slovoj Zizek’s “subject’s conception” and “death” in the tragic arc of Leaving Neverland; the fraudulent hoax of the “Banksy” art myth; and Luce Irigaray’s “loss of identity” and female empowerment through a skiing legend. The collection concludes with a regular installment of film reviews by Susie Gharib.

Comic and Tragic Films: Volume V, Issue 1, Spring 2020: (108pp, 6X9”, $25: ISBN: 979-8-65018-114-9; 79 color illustrations; Nonfiction—Performing Arts—Film & Video—History & Criticism; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): This issue includes a set of film studies on over-puffed comic and tragic television series, including Ballers, Barry, Silicon Valley, Succession, Veep, Game of Thrones and Sopranos, from the Editor, Anna Faktorovich. The essays section also features two articles by Jessica Van de Kemp on gender and art in Little Women and toxic masculinity in Thirteen Reasons Why. There are also several film reviews from Susie Gharib and several mixed color/black-and-white photographs from Fabrice Poussin. In the final piece, Carol Smallwood interviews Roland Barksdale-Hall, the first president of the Pittsburgh Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. 79 vibrant color stills and photographs illustrate these pages.

Television as a Builder of American Culture: Volume V, Issue 2, Summer 2020: (color: 100pp, 6X9”, $25: ISBN: 979-8-677671-00-5; 72 color stills; Nonfiction—Performing Arts—Film & Video—History & Criticism; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): This issue includes seven essays from the Editor, Anna Faktorovich, on what American CBS television series are saying about America’s and the world’s modern cultural values. Star Trek: Short Treks is explained as a compressed series of storyline formulas that are designed to serve a propagandistic version of what represents moral behaviors. Star Trek: Discovery is analyzed in terms of its failure to position a rare strong female hero in a positive or independent light, instead repeatedly stressing her dependence on her parents and on society to do her favors to escape from self-perpetrated illegalities. The scenically-drawn and elegantly choreographed warmongering behind Star Trek in general and the new Picard series in particular is questioned to determine who stands to benefit from this pro-military position common to symbolic science fiction narratives. To understand how the same pro-war messages are portrayed in claimed to be reality-based military shows, SEAL Team is analyzed for how it presents or avoids explaining the motives and perspectives of the foreigners or aliens being hunted by the Navy. If the Other does not have a voice in the narrative, the Other’s annihilation can be presented as a supreme “good” without hearing a defense that explains how this Other side came to the same conclusion about the “good” Team. Bull is used as an example of how America’s media turns the corruption of the judicial system with hacked evidence, jury tempering and other paid-for manipulations into seemingly positive stories of victories in favor of attractive and innovative tricksters. A study of the new version of MacGyver questions the ethics of an unsanctioned or secretive agency taking upon itself to execute undisclosed assassination missions that are justified by vague references to the evilness of those killed via accusations of common international crimes without the assurance of the accuracy of this evidence in a trial. On a lighter note, The Open Road with Dr. Chris is described as an example of how documentaries can find the good in the world if they turn towards species other than humans for their subjects. And Susie Gharib offers her regular set of film reviews that help us grasp our current human predicaments.

Reviews of Anti-History: Volume V, Issue 3, Fall 2020: (color: 66pp, 6X9”, $20: ISBN: 979-8-584475-83-3; 77 color stills; Nonfiction—Performing Arts—Film & Video—History & Criticism; Purchase on Amazon): This issue includes illustrated with stills film reviews from Anna Faktorovich and Susie Gharib. Editor Faktorovich criticizes and theorizes on six recent television series. The topics covered include: the pro-monarchic satire and propagandistic anti-history in The Great, the tribal death-drive of American culture in Outsiders, the suspiciously fraudulent statistical solutions in Numb3ers, the simplified version of the mega-Sherlock-detective-myth in Elementary, avoidable disasters in a rigged industry in the Deadliest Catch, and the romantic perspective on white-slavery and piracy in Black Sails. Gharib reviews A Monster Calls (2016), Mary Shelley: The Birth of Frankenstein (2003), Last Knights (2015), and Philadelphia (1993).

Reviews of Film Dialogue: Volume VI, Issue 1, Spring 2021: (color: $25, 98pp, 6X9″, ISBN: 979-8-511419-49-7; 89 still images, 6 photographs; Purchase on Amazon): This issue includes a set of seven cinematic close-analysis review articles by the Editor, Anna Faktorovich, covering: Ray Donovan (anti-language that grunts with violence), American Greed (condensed societal analysis), Suits (arguments to argue without communicating), Vikings (research shortages and drama-overload), Covert Affairs (faking linguistic knowledge to perpetrate mass-murder), Brave New World (horrific nonsense), and The Hobbit series (the profit-motive). The focus of this particular set is on the dialogue, questioning the popular formulas, methods, and content that has been included in these mass-consumed cultural products. The extended transcripts of dialogue from these modern experiments are compared with segments of dialogue from the Inaccessible Renaissance Modernization Series that Faktorovich is working on, such as the previously untranslated satirical first quarto of Hamlet. Susie Gharib’s set of film reviews analyze artistic films from Australia and other parts of the world, and also include an analysis of some of their dialogue. And a few photographs are featured by Fabrice Poussin.

Alternative Mystery Solutions to American Crime: Volume VI, Issue 2, Summer 2021(color: $15, 70pp, 6X9″, ISBN: 979-8-463045-21-8; 71 still images; Purchase on Amazon): This issue includes reviews from the Editor, Anna Faktorovich, and from CCR’s regular review contributor, Susie Gharib. Faktorovich’s reviews offer alternative solutions to American crime mysteries that have dominated media broadcasts. The review of Trial by Media addresses the question the series proposes regarding if the media can motivate a murderer or be bought by the wealthy to temper with the jury to reach a desired verdict. A study of Operation Varsity Blues addresses the prevalence of academic fraud (plagiarism, paper-buying, cheating, deceit) not only among the richest but as it is perpetrated by the majority of American students and teachers. The analysis of How to Fix a Drug Scandal explores the frauds perpetrated by crime drug lab chemists Sonja Farak and Annie Dookhan in Massachusetts. And the review of This Is a Robbery addresses the most likely theory of whodunnit, which is not considered in this documentary, or that two actual police officers worked with all employees in the Gardner Museum during the planned incident and with the two witnesses to create a false-narrative that instead points to amateur thieves, to cocaine smugglers and to pretty much anybody other than those involved.

Brisk Film Reviews: Volume VI, Issue 3: Fall 2021: (Softcover Color: $20: ISBN: 979-8-786592-21-5; 66pp, 6X9”, 71 color still photographs, Nonfiction—Performing Arts—Film & Video—Guides & Reviews; Purchase on Amazon): This issue includes Anna Faktorovich’s brief philosophical reviews of curious films watched on Netflix, including Tiger King, Blacklist, Metal Shop Masters, Locke & Key, Tread, Circus of Books, Blown Away, I Care a Lot and We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks. It also includes a new set of film reviews by Susie Gharib, including notes on Rush, Madame Bovary, and the Water Diviner. And James R. Russo’s essay revisits Weimar cinema (made during the Weimar Republic in Germany history between 1918 and 1933), including G. W. Pabst’s Diary of a Lost Girl, and Fritz Lang’s M, comparing them to a later German film, The Lost One.

High-Satire in Tragedy and Anti-Catharsis in Death-Satire: Volume VII, Issue 1: Spring 2022: (Softcover Color: $20, 50pp, 6X9”, 52 color still illustrations: ISBN: 979-8-830537-37-7; Purchase on Amazon: Softcover): This Spring 2022 issue includes Editor Anna Faktorovich’s critical analysis of the distinction between satirical, tragic and grotesque film-violence, with a review of past scholarship and an application of this theory to a morally executed portrayal in the Gomorrah dramatic series and an amoral portrayal in the Peacemaker satiric series. The distinction between these two is in the degree of realistic detail that is offered to characters before they are murdered, and if violent actions are excused as justified or are consistently shown to be unjustifiable wrongs committed by irrational actors. Gomorrah is advertised as a tragic drama but actually achieves high-satirical notes, whereas Peacemaker is advertised as a satire but crashes as tragedy without the required sympathy for the dead. And Susie Gharib reviews a new set of films including: No Time to Die (2021), Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), The Last Samurai (2003), Season of the Witch (2011), and Ladies and Gentlemen… Mr. Leonard Cohen (1965). The film reviews are illustrated with 52 color stills. And two drawings are included by Phyllis Hartman Green: Chair/Dog under chair (1993) and Three Herons (2022).

Documentary Film Analysis: The Environment and Prostitution: Volume VII, Issue 2: Summer 2022: (Softcover: $20, 58pp, 6X9”, color: 979-8-846015-79-1; Purchase on Amazon): This issue includes Editor Faktorovich’s critical analysis of the structure and social implications of two seemingly critical, but subversively too puffing of perceived accomplishments documentary series. The first of these is Black Gold, which advertises the genius power of Exxon-Mobil to have presented doubt across decades into the scientific discord to delay any actions being taken to prevent further catastrophic global-heating. The delay continues into our disaster-filled present, as the just-passed Inflation Reduction Act guarantees that basically for every renewable credit opportunity, the oil producers will be able to build a new project to dig for more oil. The second study describes the complex unexplored strings behind the Ghislaine: Partner in Crime series about Ghislaine Maxwell’s 2021 child sex trafficking conviction on a 20-year sentence. This reconsideration of the case points to obscure side-cases such as the ghostwriter who sued over an unfair split of royalties. It also presents the statistical data regarding prostitution in America to understand why this is one of the rare cases where the pimp and madam were prosecuted, instead of the prostitutes they sold to Johns. There is also a set of reviews from CCR’s regular review contributor, Susie Gharib, who takes a close look at Official Secrets, The Book of Henry, Doubt, The BFG, Johnny English Strikes Again, and King Arthur.

Reviews of Ultra-Violent Shows: Volume VII, Issue 3: Fall 2022: (Softcover: $20: color: 88pp, 6X9”, 43 still photographs: 979-8-371139-91-7; Hardcover: $27: 979-8-371142-48-1; Purchase on Amazon): This issue includes Editor Faktorovich’s reviews of three ultra-violent television shows. Killing Eve is discussed as a contradictory portrayal of loving empathy in an antisocial psychopath who is cannot perceive others’ suffering. Preacher is dissected as an example of Hollywood-generated mythology that attempts to placate Christians, while leaping to the far-reaches of immorality. And The Purge is considered as a formulaic example of serial killers being granted the benefit of victimhood. Additionally, Jack Love reviews the struggle between an Empire and its rebels in Star Wars’ Andor. Douglas C. MacLeod analyzes the process of communication in Night on Earth.Jeremy Freeman presents an analysis of hushed speech and pain in McDonaugh’s The Banshees of Inisherin. Maya Balakirsky Katz considers the quality of the maker of Elvis! (2022). And Quentin Stuckey takes a look back at Todd Berger’s It’s a Disaster (2012). Finally, Subarna Mondal’s essay engages in a choreopolitical Gandhi-perspective reading of Dandi and Dharasana protests.

Amazon Fictional Television Series Reviews: Volume VIII, Issue 1: Spring 2023: (Softcover: $20: color: 78pp, 6X9”, 30 still photographs: ISBN: 979-8-396622-18-0; Hardcover: $27: ISBN: 979-8-396622-53-1; Purchase on Amazon): This Spring 2023 issue includes a modern art composition called “Movies of the Future” by Janis Butler Holm. The bulk of the issue is taken up with reviews of classic and recent films. The Editor, Anna Faktorovich, reviews fictional television series viewed on Amazon Prime across the spring season. The generally dark and pessimistic shows structurally and artistically analyzed included: Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, Mozart in the Jungle, Mr. Robot, Billions, Animal Kingdom, The Musketeers, Boundless, Sneaky Pete, The Tick, The Boys, Good Omens, Hanna, Alpha House, The Expanse, and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Additionally, Jack Love reviews a senses of homeland in Seven Kings Must Die, Douglas C. MacLeod reviews the dance film Rize, Jeremy Freeman considers the queer rage in Knock at the Cabin, and Quentin Stuckey turns to the past to weigh the simulacrum in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958).


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