New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Inside the Boxd: ‘Maestro,’ ‘The Banshees of Inisherin,’ ‘Valhalla Rising’ and ‘Mulholland Drive’

Inside the Boxd is a weekly column documenting WSN staffers’ recent film reviews on Letterboxd. Grab some popcorn and get that watchlist ready!
Yezen Saadah
(Illustration by Yezen Saadah)

With roughly 10 million site-wide users in 2023, including the likes of NYU alumni Martin Scorsese and Ayo Edebiri, Letterboxd has become the premier social media platform for the modern moviegoer. Whether you are an esoteric film buff or a casual viewer, the New Zealand-based cataloging website enables people to share ratings, reviews and lists covering all corners of cinema.

In this new column, WSN staffers share some of their most recent watches that they logged on the app: covering everything good, bad and downright ugly. This week’s offerings include a run-of-the-mill biopic, a modern Irish gem, an epic about homicidal Norsemen and a perplexing David Lynch cult classic.


“Maestro” (2023)

“Obnoxious futility to the max. The cinematography is nice to look at, the production design is good, the score is good, Carey Mulligan is good, but everything else is so stripped down and reminds me of any other cookie cutter, Oscar bait biopic. I never emotionally resonated with it, and it felt so artificial and pretentious — especially that dialogue. Bradley Cooper’s performance in particular is very strange and not convincing at all. There are occasionally moments where it tries to do something interesting, but it genuinely does the bare minimum most of the time and is often so painfully manipulative. It really just boils down to this at the end of the day: I do not care, and it didn’t make me care.” (2 stars)

— Yezen Saadah, Deputy Managing Editor

If this movie doesn’t instill utter disdain in you for Bradley Cooper as a person, I don’t know what will.


“The Banshees of Inisherin” (2022)

“I once again raise my question: will they ever make a movie about happy Irish people? The cinematography was stunning and the acting was fantastic but it was also torturous emotionally. Sometimes the simplest plots make you feel the most and that was definitely true of this.” (4.5 stars)

— Anna Baird-Hassell, Copy Chief

Whether it’s “The Quiet Girl,” “Wolfwalkers” or “The Banshees of Inisherin,” if there’s one thing I’m gonna do, it’s love on an Irish movie. This film was no exception. From yet another strange Barry Keoghan character to a plethora of dismembered fingers, this film knows how to do weird right. Yet it is also a surprisingly intimate portrait of friendship and family set in the backdrop of the Irish Civil War, grounding the movie in a cautionary reality.


“Valhalla Rising” (2009)

“It’s a mads ting.” (3.5 stars)

— Mick Gaw, Film & TV Editor

Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2009 Viking epic is a 90-minute, blood-soaked affair, filled with nightmarish dream sequences and outrageously gory killing sprees. The film follows One Eye (Mads Mikkelsen), an enslaved fighter in 11th-century Scandinavia, as he liberates himself from captivity and joins a group of fanatical Christians on a voyage to the Holy Land. While the film vaguely engages with the horrific legacies of sectarian conflict and settler colonialism, you’re really only watching this film for Mikkelsen’s electrifying performance as a silent, tattooed slave-warrior. Unlike his famous portrayal of the slick poker-playing banker Le Chiffre in “Casino Royale” (2006), Mikkelsen’s One Eye is a brutish force of nature. Never uttering a single line of dialogue throughout the film, he beats, mutilates and disembowels his way through a bleak world of perpetual violence and despair.


“Mulholland Drive” (2001)

“I have no idea what happened. I’m a firm believer in any sort of media I consume that if I finish it confused you did not do a good job. Literally what was this movie. If they did a better job making it make sense this could’ve been so good. I should not have to now google ‘what happened in mulholland drive.’ The beginning was the most boring thing I’ve ever seen which I think was intentional but idec bc I’m so mad at the ending not making any sense. Anyway that wasted my time.” (1.5 stars)

— Emily Genova, Deputy Managing Editor

I have nothing else to say.

Contact the Arts Desk at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Anna Baird-Hassell
Anna Baird-Hassell, Copy Chief
Anna Baird-Hassell is a junior studying Sociology with a minor in Irish Studies. She is an at-home barista fond of hugs, meditation, speaking her limited Irish Gaelic and reviewing films on Letterboxd @abairdhassell. You can also find her on Instagram @annabairdhassell or email her at [email protected].
Emily Genova
Emily Genova, Deputy Managing Editor
Emily Genova is a junior studying Media, Culture, and Communication at Steinhardt. She spends her free time reading, obsessing over pop artists, and speed walking around campus. You can find her on Instagram @emilygenova or email her @[email protected]
Mick Gaw
Mick Gaw, Film & TV Editor
Mick Gaw is a junior double-majoring in History and Public Policy. When he’s not holed up in a cinema, he's probably perusing the aisles of an Asian grocery store, wandering around museums or taking ugly pictures of his meals. You can find him on Instagram as @gawmick and occasionally on Letterboxd as @micks_canon.
Yezen Saadah
Yezen Saadah, Deputy Managing Editor
Yezen Saadah is a sophomore studying cinema studies, journalism and Middle Eastern studies. He's a lover of cinema, history, art and literature, and he enjoys writing about pretty much anything. If he isn't in the newsroom or at the movies, he's probably just trying to enjoy his day off. Contact him on Instagram @yezen.saadah, Twitter @yezen_saadah and — most importantly — Letterboxd @Yezen, or just send tips to [email protected].

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