Elisha has written 41 reviews for films rated ★★★ .

  • Person to Person

    Person to Person

    ★★★

    The Wendy storyline/character felt a bit contrived, but other than that I had a great time with this. Needed a laugh after a day like today, and this had plenty. Good to see Philip Baker Hall working (and sharing scenes with Isiah Whitlock Jr!). The entire cast is fantastic and they each consistently make interesting choices with these lines.

  • Giving Voice

    Giving Voice

    ★★★

    Me and Pop had a good time with this one. Inspirational stuff watching these kids reach for their dreams :’-)

  • Faces

    Faces

    ★★★

    “Definition of serious: blah, blah, blah, blah.”

    “Cry, c'mon that’s life honey.”

    The first 40-50 minutes of this reaaally tests (in fact, borderline abuses) the empathy machine in a way that that one long scene from Husbands does, but without the sadism that strung that scene together. Cassavetes’ characters inhabit a heightened and emotionally naked reality so well that it eventually begins to feel like reality itself, because you connect with their honesty. The first half of this rarely ever…

  • Something Useful

    Something Useful

    ★★★

    2nd Pelin Esmer film.

    SPOILERS:

    The first half of this film is incredibly immersive cinema.

    The train crawls across dark suburbs, city nights, and vast country sides; mimicking the flow of time and using the most banal of incidents to inspire the imagination and draw us further in. It's much like Leyla's poetic mind, and like her the story is going nowhere fast as it gently rolls it's central conflict into the fray without so much as disturbing it's rhythm.…

  • Ashes and Embers

    Ashes and Embers

    ★★★

    You can watch Ashes and Embers for free on Sankofa TV, as well as other films from Haile Gerima and Shirikiana Aina such as Bush Mama and Footprints of Pan Africanism. All you need is a free account, which takes about 5 seconds to make.

    To be brief with my thoughts, while I conceptually connect with Gerima’s approach of weaving lived dreams, memories and realities into one, I think that this films execution is threadbare at points and relies too heavily…

  • The Two Faces of a Bamileke Woman

    The Two Faces of a Bamileke Woman

    ★★★

    Leaving to hear my heart beat
    Leaving to hear the voices lost to silence
    Facing difference to discover 
    Other face colors
    Other colors 
    Of my face
    Discovering other stories, other feelings
    Leaving to see the birth
    of another part of myself
    Buried in pain,
    in suffering 
    These faces—bashful, dignified, strong
    are what I have always known

    With all that, I made my way

    Why this choice?
    Why did these people choose 
    Not to give me
    this part of themselves?
    This…

  • Shadows

    Shadows

    ★★★

    Didn’t watch this today, but I watched it last year. I’m reading Cassavetes on Cassavetes right now, and there are so many interesting tidbits from the man himself in regards to this film’s legacy.

    For one, he openly admits to severely overplaying the improvisational aspect for the sake of press. The story is actually very structured and scripted, and Cassavetes would demand Stanley Kubrick-amounts of takes if he didn’t like something (one unused love scene with Lelia Goldoni was shot…

  • Killer's Kiss

    Killer's Kiss

    ★★★

    Personally, I had a lot of fun. This is an exponential improvement over Fear & Desire, and though some people mark Paths of Glory or Dr. Strangelove as the first time "Kubrick becomes Kubrick", I think it’s actually here that Kubrick begins. Elements like the dollhouse confrontation, one-point perspective dream sequence, and the dancing ballerina (played by Kubrick’s second wife, Ruth Sobotka) bring a dash of the surreal to this otherwise novelistic genre-film. It provides a glimpse of the artist that will…

  • When We Were Kings

    When We Were Kings

    ★★★

    I have wrassled with a alligator
    I done tussled with a whale
    I done handcuffed lightnin’
    Throwed thunder in jail
    That’s bad!
    Only last week, I murdered a rock!
    Injured a stone 
    Hospitalized a brick
    I’m so mean I make medicine sick!

    Damn I love and miss this man. I was having an incredibly rough night, so I settled on Leon Gast’s 1996 documentary When We Were Kings to cheer myself up by revisiting the life of Muhammad Ali.

    All…

  • Lady Snowblood

    Lady Snowblood

    ★★★

    Ultimately left me pretty cold, but it was just...really fucking cool? I guess I see in this what other people see in Suspiria. There’s an undeniably awesome usage of color, a proclivity for comic book body compositions, and a story in full embrace of its pulpiness to keep everything going. I think there’s a message in here about westernization (or maybe war and vengeance itself) leading to the eventual downfall of Japan. Particularly in the second to last scene—with guns, swords,…

  • Bush Mama

    Bush Mama

    ★★★

    About to watch again.

  • Drylongso

    Drylongso

    ★★★

    Not a spoiler-heavy review, but you may want to check out the film here first. It’s worth it!

    Ahhh yet another Black independent film debut! This one comes from multimedia artist and filmmaker Cauleen Smith (check out some of her incredible studio installations here).

    The first thing that strikes me about this film is its penchant for love. Not solely romantic love—although it is present in all of its tenderness and playfulness—but ultimately, the love and healing power of creativity, friendship,…