• The Celebration

    The Celebration

    ★★★★½

    How can a movie that feels like a swift kick in the nuts still be... enjoyable? Probably due to the masterful touches provided by an incredible cast, a solid script, and some deceptively complex editing.

    Dogme 95 has been talked to death at this point so I'll pass on that discussion, except to say that the rawness of this film gives it a nervous, jangly energy that never lets up, and is entirely perfect for the story the film tells.…

  • Black Mirror: San Junipero

    Black Mirror: San Junipero

    ★★★★½

    Finally watching Season 3 of Black Mirror (yes, 5 yrs later) and managed to get here without seeing any spoilers. Loved everything about this episode, including seeing that the series can hit more than the one note it's known for.

  • House of Gucci

    House of Gucci

    ★★★★

    Not as camp or farcical as the trailers might lead you to believe. I was unsure if I'd be able to see Lady Gaga as a character rather than as Lady Gaga, but she disappeared into the role of Patrizia Reggiani completely.

    I appreciated the ways the movie used its period setting without turning it into a theme park; the music cues (some of them anachronistic) were pretty great throughout. And probably not surprisingly, the costumes in this film are absolutely ace. I loved the whole film overall, a welcome and surprising treat.

  • The Green Knight

    The Green Knight

    ★★★

    A film that's as pretty as a painting, and with about as much depth.

    The decision to leave the original poem's odd signs and portents just as disconnected and unexplained as they are in the text was certainly.. a choice, but it leaves the film feeling lost in its own ponderousness.

    Dev Patel's terrific performance seems to come from an entirely different movie, being as warm and human as it is. The only other characters who feel similarly alive are…

  • Eight Hours Don't Make a Day

    Eight Hours Don't Make a Day

    ★★★★★

    Thirty minutes in, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this. After eight hours (five 90-minute episodes), I wanted more.

    German network WDR hired Fassbinder to make a series about working-class characters, and he turned in a small epic of everyday life, which is also a rallying call for workers' rights. The terrific cast (played by a crowd of Fassbinder regulars plus many others) bring humor and sincerity to their roles, which are often archetypes, but all of whom…

  • Uncut Gems

    Uncut Gems

    ★★★

    Finally started to get into it in the last 30 minutes, then hit that ending which made me feel like a sucker for ever caring. A very loud film, with lots of shouting-as-acting, but not much to say.

  • Nightmare Alley

    Nightmare Alley

    ★★★★½

    An absolute corker of a movie, following a charismatic con man from his start at a dusty carnival, through his rise in influence and wealth, only to watch him miscalculate and bring the entire enterprise crashing down. Fascinating to see a mainstream Hollywood film of this era draw a line so directly from sideshow hucksters, through nightclub mentalism and psychoanalysis, right up to religion, portraying them all as varying ways for the wise to manipulate the foolish.

    Tyrone Power is…

  • The Sparks Brothers

    The Sparks Brothers

    ★★★★★

    Pure joy for any fan of the band, but also a true-life shaggy dog story about artists remaining faithful to their extremely personal vision through five decades of fleeting fashions and widespread cultural changes.

    The film's trailer had me a little worried that the film would be Hollywood-smarmy, and honestly there ARE two or three too many famous faces with no real personal or artistic connection to the band. But thankfully the film, like the band, refuses to ever take…

  • Jacob's Ladder

    Jacob's Ladder

    ★★★★½

    As pop-philosophy it's facile, but as a movie I just enjoy the hell out of it. Kudos to Adrian Lyne for taking a script that apparently featured actual angel/devil creatures (yikes) and making them so much more ambiguous, the kind of corner-of-the-eye nightmares that stalk insomniacs and those in withdrawal. The effects, which were all created in-camera, still hold up after 31 years.

  • Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon

    Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon

    ★★★★½

    Less a biopic than a series of moments, incidents, and scenes, all filtered through a slightly nightmarish visual style that echoes Bacon's most famous works. The clash between the somewhat larger-than-life acting, and the stylized, sometimes stripped-down settings, worked to give the whole film the feeling of a bleary, hung-over memory. I loved it.

  • The Lottery

    The Lottery

    ★★★

    I saw this film in 10th grade English class, and looked it up on YouTube today just before watching "Shirley." This little movie messed with my head back then. Now I can appreciate how it does so much with so little, and it's still dark as all get out.

  • Shirley

    Shirley

    ★★★★½

    I've always been fascinated by Jackson as both author and human, and this biopic does justice to both of those facets of her life. It seems like this would be pretty much inscrutable to anyone not already familiar with her work and biography, and I'm so glad that the movie just doesn't give a damn.