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  • Welcome to Chechnya

    Welcome to Chechnya


    Hardly any place on Earth is as hard on its LGBT citizens as the southern Russian autonomous region of Chechnya. Starting in 2017 the state authorities started rounding up gays and torturing, disappearing and killing them. This documentary follows a few victims as they are helped to escape from the country by a group of activists. The filmmakers used hidden cameras and unique special effects to disguise the filmed appearances of the refugees. The film radiates a tension that cuts…

  • Better Days

    Better Days


    A film about high school bullying in China with superb acting by the two principals: Jhou Dongyu as Nian, the smart girl tortured by the gang of pretty but vapid fellow students. And Jackson Yee as Bei, the handsome, tough kid from the other side of the tracks who tries to protect her. Standard school days melodrama; but I was totally engaged by the the off-center love story. Turns out that Jackson Yee is a famous pop star in China; but here he shows an acting talent to reckon with.

Popular reviews

  • El Topo

    El Topo


    The New York Times contacted me today for background about my review of El Topo that was published in the L.A. Free Press on April 23, 1971. They provided me with a scan of the article, and I'm reposting it here. Maybe 43 years later its verbiage is a little embarrassing; but I stand by what I wrote back then. How often do we get an opportunity to view what we thought about films through the prism of the far…

  • Joy



    David O. Russell's popularity and reputation for enlightened whimsy eludes me. I can't blame the actors in what has become his "stock company" for my dislike of this film. Rather it must be Russell's mechanistic, by-the-numbers script filled with neurotic characters acting nonsensically. I know I'm out of step with audiences here; so forget that I ever tried to review this film.