• Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

    Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

    TIL i wouldve been convicted of murder on 3 counts in West Memphis in the 90s because I was into Stephen King, Metallica and the Occult.

  • Jacob's Ladder

    Jacob's Ladder

    ★★★★

    Really dug Tom Rolf’s editing in this. Superb sequences that capture psychological turmoil effectively without being trite or "TriPpy." A tortured PTSD character study held together by Tim Robbins and a really solid script by Bruce Joel Rubin. Crazy to think this came from the same brain that scribed The Time Traveler's Wife.

    There's something I'm particularly drawn in by with stories revolving around past lives or the reoccurrence of simultaneous timelines in fictional work. I think there's a lot…

  • Birds

    Birds

    Bartok's piece pushes this poem into a natural metronomic rhythm. Really soothing and anxiety-inducing simultaneously somehow.

  • The Velvet Underground

    The Velvet Underground

    ★★★

    From the Velvet Underground fans I know, this is not the deepest dive. Many consider it surprisingly shallow given its runtime. My partner knows enough about them to chalk up some of the strange omissions in the doc. Why explain how Cale and Reed joined the band, but not Moe Tucker? Why no talk about Tony Conrad leaving the band?

    The doc reflects the pulse of most VU listeners, in that they know about Lou Reed and that's about it.…

  • Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

    Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

    ★★★★

    See, that's how you do political satire.

    Radu Jude's evocative tale of a teacher who is under fire from her peers/authorities for a leaked sex tape amidst the over-sanitized COVID-stricken Romania acts as a metaphor and terrific dramatic play.

    One of the few films this year that actually acknowledged that most of the Western world are in masks right now, Bad Luck Banging leans into its contemporaneousness nakedly, unlike the beloved Worst Person which guards itself from being too modern…

  • Smoke

    Smoke

    ★★★

    This is the most post-Tarantino, post-modern "classic 90s" film I've ever seen. Smoke starts off like Clerks set in a tobacco shop (Ok, you have me), and I loved its jumping point. The first 15 minutes is fantastic. Felt like a 90s hangout film as directed by Edward Yang or something. I kid you not, it was that strong of a start. Keitel, Giancarlo Esposito, William Hurt (!) shooting the shit in a smoke shop. But then it pivots into…

  • Small Deaths

    Small Deaths

    ★★★½

    A triptych of a small girl's life, slivers of her loss of innocence. Convinced Malick must've seen this because the third act has many shots that are reminiscent of The Tree of Life, kids running through long grass on super wide lenses, macro shots of insects, etc. Or maybe just great minds think alike. Either way, again, Ramsay masters tone and creates a movement with the images that not only build rhythm but propel the whole life forward. She starts…

  • Kill the Day

    Kill the Day

    ★★★★

    A terrific tonal piece, capturing the life of an addict. Even in Ramsay's earlier work, you sense her innate ability to frame and use sound design to make something that captures a phenomenon rather than a standard 3-act plot. Her strength is in capturing an experience and often times, those experiences draw you in with the propulsion of a black hole. This is almost entirely without dialogue and yet you're itching to see what happens next. It is as though Robert Bresson and Terence Malick had a child in the slums of Scotland.

  • Real Life

    Real Life

    ★★★½

    I'll take prescient films for $500, Alex.

    Albert Brooks plays himself (kind of) as a director seeking to capture the true American family experience. Is it an exercise in reliving his missed childhood? Is it a means to study their psychology and habits? Or is it merely a narcissistic attempt at making a "real" film that wins him accolades?

    If you guessed the last option, you win. More a study of American exploitation through the media than American families, Real…

  • The Brother from Another Planet

    The Brother from Another Planet

    ★★★

    Did Sayles ever get any royalties from Ed Solomon or Barry Sonenfeld for their spin-off, Men In Black?

    John Sayles makes a smooth socially conscious satire of the xenophobic immigration legislature under the Reagan administration by literally alienating a black character, played by Joe Morton, as if he's from a far-off planet. There is a lot of interesting thought and ingenuity put into this, held up nicely by some brilliant performances (especially in the first half) that give it a…

  • Taking Off

    Taking Off

    ★★★★½

    I have the two following questions:

    Why did it take me this long to watch this gem? and why did I not know that Kathy Bates once went by Bobo Bates during her New York beatnik days?

    This is one of the best comedies I've seen in years. The story follows a pair of parents of missing children in the East Village, who meet in a convention hall of the SPFC (Society of Parents of Fugitive Children) to help locate…

  • The Worst Person in the World

    The Worst Person in the World

    This captured a lot of emotions accurately for me. Pisces directors can do that. This is probably one of the warmer bouts from Scandinavia, a region known for their black metal and minimalist design.

    There's the Scandinavian neatness you'd expect in the work, where everything is placed precisely where it should be. Imagine 1980s Woody Allen with a lot of soft top lighting and sans serif title cards. Gotta love that even when the main character is a mess, the…