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  • A Touch of Zen

    A Touch of Zen

    ★★★★★

    Trees shimmer. Sword glints. Light winks off water. Blade blurs. A body falls. The wind blows. Struggle ties us to this world, knots us to this dominion. Once untangled, we bleed gold.

    A landmark in the elevation of wuxia. There are sequences so impressionistic, so hypnotic and mesmerizing, that watching them delivers on the title of the film completely.

    Told in three separate acts, each so distinct from one another as to almost be three short stories. Yet, as character perspectives shift and the narrative blooms, we realize everything is part of a larger connected tapestry, rich and wide and singularly conscious.

  • Tokyo Drifter

    Tokyo Drifter

    ★★★★★

    A heroic act of production design. A visionary attack on editing. A mise-en-scène monster. A pure product of limited budget coupled to endless imagination. The interactions of shapes, the control over color, the ability to visually externalize the internal emotions of the characters, all in service to a dream masquerading as a traditional gangster-flick.

    Godard never quite caged the pure essence of cool to this extent and no one else is even worth mentioning on this front. The entire convention…

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  • Kuso

    Kuso

    ★★★

    The inevitable outcome of a generation of dank artists raised on Adult Swim and memes finally coming of age. Relentlessly, radically, militantly scatalogical (kuso, 糞,くそ,“shit”, “also used to describe outrageous matters and objects of poor quality” - we all have the same internet).

    To be honest I would’ve rather just watched a flick that focused on Mr. Quiggle - the bug that lives in George Clinton’s asshole - and the subsequent characters that revolved around that storyline, including B, the…

  • Def by Temptation

    Def by Temptation

    ★★★½

    Big City Woman is the source of all man’s ills in this parable about a southern country preacher straying from Grandma’s (and Samuel L. Jackson’s) wisdom, only to end up tempted by the devil and the wide monstrous world she inhabits, making for a charmingly prudish - a Troma first - super fun, no-budget horror take with a staunch Southern Baptist soul.

    The depiction of Woman as Lilith, not just unredeemed but utterly coopted from her Mesopotamian roots (Ki-sikil-lil-la-ke, the…

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  • The Seventh Seal

    The Seventh Seal

    ★★★★★

    Max von Sydow was twenty-seven years old when he starred in one of the greatest films ever made. He died today. He was ninety. This is a movie about death.

    My wife found out the lump on her throat was benign today and then I watched this movie for the first time in probably twenty years while waiting for her to come home from work so I could give her a kiss. This is a movie about life.

    Death cheats at chess. Life cheats at death.

    The Max von Sydow project starts now.

  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle

    We Have Always Lived in the Castle

    ★★½

    It’s strange when the biggest change you make in adapting a novel to the screen is to add lots of physical violence against the female characters (even a backstory of abuse that’s not stated in the source material).

    It’s interesting that a female filmmaker has done so much to take the inherent dark power away from the female characters and decided instead to victimize them.

    I absolutely love Jackson’s dark comedic masterpiece which this is based on, so even though…