joolsd has written 20 reviews for films during 2021.

  • I Care a Lot

    I Care a Lot

    “The backstory of Marla is that she had a vape business until she was Walmart-ed out of business by a great big discount vape store opening across the street, which she was furious about. I think that was her shot at the American dream played fair. She had a small-time business, she was a small-time business owner, she got screwed and then she thought, ‘Right. Chips are down. I’m going all out. I’m gonna play the system like everybody else.’…

  • Can't Get You Out of My Head

    Can't Get You Out of My Head

    Adam Curtis's best documentary since The Mayfair Set. A grand synthesis of the last 25 years of his career, and argued (mostly) with a lot more clarity than his last couple of films. I am more than a little tired with the claim that he "makes the same film every time": consistent interest in certain themes, and a distinctive form and style are not sins, especially when most widely-released documentaries now are Netflix true crime trash. The carping about "manipulative…

  • The Postman

    The Postman

    When this finished I was laughing hysterically for a solid four or five minutes: I still have the giggles as I write this. It is a testament to whatever Kevin Costner is, or whatever he was in the nineties, that his name is far more frequently attached to Waterworld than this monstrosity. This is Costner on Costner, Costner squared, Costner reaching the later stages of stellar evolution and engulfing the planets orbiting closest to him.

    The first hour is solid…

  • Belly

    Belly

    I was worried I'd have to write a lot here, happily I can just direct you to Nick Pinkerton's 2014 essay about this film and Hype Williams which says everything I would have said and more

    www.filmcomment.com/blog/bombast-belly-hype-williams/

    and say that it's genuinely a crime against culture that Hype Williams has not been able to or has not been allowed to direct any more films.

    Oh, and I guess I can expand a bit on what Pinkerton says about Belly's action…

  • Last Action Hero

    Last Action Hero

    A complete but at times interesting mess. Incredibly badly paced, apparently due to hasty editing. What's odd is that it anticipates all the meta-self-referential films that started to become trendy about 5 years later. The fatal flaw is that it also can't escape the action parody genre at all. Had this played the film-within-a-film entirely straight (or at least straighter - imagine if this had been wrapped around a different Beverly Hills Cop 3 instead of the unwatchable dreck John…

  • Patlabor 2: The Movie

    Patlabor 2: The Movie

    There's a moment, about a third of the way through, where the music rises, the sky is pastel behind a static shot of a derelict warehouse, and you realise that a gear somewhere has shifted subtly, and you're really watching a film essay about the ambiguities of postwar Japan. Then almost as soon as you've noticed, the music fades, and you are set back down to continue with the narrative. It's effortless, and beautiful, and is just one of the…

  • Patlabor: The Movie

    Patlabor: The Movie

    Pretty good techno-cop thriller with a brave attempt to look a decade into the future. Oshii does well in his projections, aside from the giant robots, and pre-asset bubble crash land reclamation projects. I suppose the robots are priced in though. Some interesting ideas about how automation changes little aside from diffusing control and making it obscure. It also looks great, though the music is mediocre.

    But I'll admit, I only watched this because I wanted to watch the sequel...

  • Wax, or The Discovery of Television Among the Bees

    Wax, or The Discovery of Television Among the Bees

    Incredible that (apparently) the first film streamed across the internet managed to avoid all the unreasonable optimism for the medium that characterised the rest of the decade. Instead we have a piece of film-theory-fiction about the networked past, present, and future of imperialism.

    A lot of other reviewers have said that there's nothing like this, which is in part true, but it's more that this occupies the centre of a very obscure Venn diagram, which would include things like the…

  • When I Will Be Dictator

    When I Will Be Dictator

    A misleadingly megalomaniacal title for a very personal film. If there's a megalomania here, it's that of a child seeing the future and all its possibilities laid out before them. Yaël André uses a host of what seem to be family film archives as the backdrop for the story of a friend's madness and suicide. Sometimes the footage is directly illustrative, presented as if it is really them and their experiences, and sometimes used more abstractly in relation to the…

  • 48 Hrs.

    48 Hrs.

    Not sure how San Francisco became the city of choice for so many cop films - the architecture, the street layout? - but this is simultaneously an entry in that Bullitt-Dirty Harry lineage, and also the start of something new.... the buddy cop film. However, genetically this has much more in common with those films than Rush Hour. This seems to get billed as an action comedy but the only comedy, really, is Eddie Murphy cracking wise in a world…

  • Labyrinth of Dreams

    Labyrinth of Dreams

    If you told me this film had been made 30 years earlier, then, Hiroyuki Onogawa's ambient score aside, I would have believed you. Contemporary concerns - this film having been made towards the end of Japan's (first) Lost Decade - seep in beneath the level of form. Driving a bus, or being a bus conductor are not good honest work, but badly-paid drudgery, monotonous and lonely. Both are at the mercy of machines, and, it seems, regarded by passengers as…

  • The Metamorphosis of Birds

    The Metamorphosis of Birds

    "Painterly" is maybe over-used to describe the look of a film, but in this case is hard to escape: Catarina Vasconcelos's debut feature is defiantly so. Her essay-documentary-art installation is trying to capture a kind of transubstantiation in objects and places through memory: her grandmother's hands peeling an apple in the kitchen, the maritime memorabilia brought back by her grandfather from sea, hide-and-seek in a kitchen cupboard. The medium and the mise en scène clearly suggest a year before -…