• Kin-dza-dza!

    Kin-dza-dza!

    ★★★½

    I found this amusing, but waaaaaay tooooo slooooooow.

  • Blood on the Moon

    Blood on the Moon

    ★★★½

    Mitchum is excellent, and it was a bit of a revelation for me to see a young Robert Preston playing (what else?) a charming con man. Also, though uncredited, I enjoyed seeing "The Crying Indian," Iron Eyes Cody, in a small role.

  • Private Parts

    Private Parts

    ★★★½

    I was pleased to discover this to be less broadly camp than expected.

  • Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

    Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

    ★★★★½

    Winner of the Best Film award at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival, and easily one of the most fascinating films released in 2021, Romanian director Radu Jude's BAD LUCK BANGING OR LOONY PORN opens with a lengthy and very explicit, homemade hardcore sex video involving light S&M, roleplay and talkin' dirty. This serves several purposes. First, it makes sure viewers know right off the bat what they're in, rather than blindsiding them later. Secondly, the explicitness provides full context…

  • Licorice Pizza

    Licorice Pizza

    ★★★★

    Forget what you’ve heard. This movie is about nothing more or less than an era. It’s about pinball and waterbeds and Weird-Ohs and Batman and marijuana and The Munsters and political awakening and feeling stuck at the crossroads of a permissive wanna-stay-young-forever youth culture and simultaneously wanting to stake one’s claim on a stable future. The films protagonists are essentially two sides of the same coin on an ever-yo-yo-ing collision course. Or maybe, as my wife says, it’s simply about…

  • Midnight Mass

    Midnight Mass

    ★★★★

    I found this to be a mixed bag with a lot of flab and a couple of chatty Hallmark Greeting Card segments, but the elements I liked were strong enough to require me to give this 4 stars overall. Still, if I had my way, I'd cut a large part of the 1st, 2nd and 4th episodes, and leave only the 5th episode fully intact.

  • Red Rocket

    Red Rocket

    ★★★★

    Though not as strong a fan of this as I am of Baker's previous features (The Florida Project and Tangerine), I still enjoyed visiting with these all-too-recognizable people. One of the biggest plusses for me was the depiction of the drug-dealing family, who - with the possible exception of the wannabe-gangster daughter - are shown to be "just folk" like you and I who are occasionally called upon to play the tough guy. I also liked how the mother-in-law, despite…

  • West Side Story

    West Side Story

    ★★★½

    I really really enjoyed this despite lead performances that didn't take my breath away. Pretty much all of the supporting characters are excellent, however, especially the actress in the role that went to Rita Moreno in the original. Plus, speaking of Moreno, fans of hers can't help but be moved by the nature of her (prominent) role in this remake.

    As for the gender-fluid character in the story, it's great that he exists, but I felt he was rather inelegantly…

  • Crazy Safari

    Crazy Safari

    ★★★★

    Incredible cultural hodge-podge mixing Mr. Vampire with The God's Must Be Crazy. Has to be seen to be believed.

    And, oh... contrary to what is stated in the letterboxd description, the Chinese lead (Lam Ching Ying) plays Taoist Priest, not a magician.. though, as a Taolist Priest, he performs magical rites.

    Plus, unlike others, I don't think enjoyment of the film is hindered in the least by the absence of the translation of the Stephen Chow & Ng Man Tat's occasional voiceover narration... (which I'd guess was added as an afterthought anyway).

  • Executioners from Shaolin

    Executioners from Shaolin

    ★★★★½

    A fave tale about the legendary Shaolin rebel, Hong Xiguan (aka Hung Sze-kuan; Hung Hei Kwun) with a narrative twist that absolutely floored me the first time I saw it via its dubbed clamshell video version. Watching the new subtitled Arrow blu-ray version, the "twist" seemed far more telegraphed than previously, but the film is still revolutionary for featuring a young gender-fluid hero long before its time.

    One quibble... the subtitled version does not do as well of a job of explaining what it is that Hong learns about Bai Mei's vulnerable spots in the lead up to his 2nd challenge against him.

  • Drive My Car

    Drive My Car

    ★★★½

    While I enjoyed everything here, I don't feel it was all necessary in the telling of the story. Also, about the revelation on the hill... while it feels generous and I really wanted to embrace it, it also brought me discomfort knowing that it could fairly easily be twisted to serve a serial cheater as an argument for his or her partner to "just deal with it."

  • Nightmare Alley

    Nightmare Alley

    ★★★★

    You'll guess where this fable is going, but that's the very nature of beast. The joy in the storytelling is entirely in the route taken. My only quibble is that the one-line description found on this site and elsewhere ("hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is"), says too much. Alternately, if this is going to be stated, then maybe tease it out a bit more and then slowly reel it back in. As is, the turn of the screw felt a bit rushed.