• Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

    Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

    ★★★★½

    A Turkish parable with a Turkish Jude Law is a Turkish delight.

    You’re welcome. 

    A couple thoughts:

    The stations of the people are prominent, not their individuality.

    It’s slow, noting and lingering those aspects of life we usually pass quickly over, whether images or conversations, lending the film its haunting quality. 

    It’s about the stories we tell ourselves, the stories we live instead, and how those stories are written in others’ lives whether we want them to be or not. What can be done to change the tenor and substance of the tired stories of a tired people living in a tired world?

  • THX 1138

    THX 1138

    ★★

    It's an ambitious debut for Lucas that borrows much from classic dystopian sci-fi like 1984 and the like.

    It seems more intent on giving hints of a world and story in service to the atmospheric dread and opaque worlds in which this genre so heavily, traditionally banks. Unfortunately, this leaves the film cold, disjointed, and confused, with some dramatic flourishes to liven things up but which make little sense in the story.

    While there are some memorable visuals and sequences, it's too sterile to capture the attention with how little it gives. It doesn't scare so much as it drags. It tried. It just didn't work.

  • American Graffiti

    American Graffiti

    ★★★½

    Honestly have never seen pre-Star Wars Lucas. Some major Linklater and Vast of Night vibes so you can see the influence this film had on these works, all trying to tap into that same tension being in transition between nostalgia and an unknown future.

    Found it most fascinating as a time capsule. The more things change, the more they are the same. Some of the films threads worked better than others but they were all well written. It’s unique how unironic it is in its sentiment and yet it refuses to take itself too seriously.

    Lucas was pulling a Linklater before Linklater was cool.

  • Paterson

    Paterson

    ★★★★½

    Highly affected in its approach but the effect never wavers for a moment. 

    “No ideas but in things.”

    Repetition, fluidity, and what is overlooked are the points where this film and poetry meet. Both seek to transcend to the impossibility of emotion and significance that lie within all this. But this film has Adam Driver. Your move, poetry.

    It’s gentle attention to our days, drawing the poetry from them, is as moving as it is brilliant.

  • Crimson Peak

    Crimson Peak

    ★★½

    There's a lot to like in the visuals, motifs, and set pieces. Evocative, elaborate, overly rich imagery that matches the fairy tale style del Toro loves so much.

    But the story, themes, and characters around which all this is wrapped, are just too much. Exaggerated, convenient, and circumstantial with little thought to credibility or pacing.

    Less of a ghost story than it is a theme park ride. That's not a good thing.

  • Driveways

    Driveways

    ★★½

    This film is exaggerated and overstated in everything it does in service to its aim. It is very one note. Either you will resonate with that note or not.

    Beyond some well written lines there isn’t much humanity on display here. More just undulating, ungrounded feelings trying to exhaustively sustain a certain emotional high.

  • Bonnie and Clyde

    Bonnie and Clyde

    ★★★½

    Beatty and Dunaway are the bond that keeps the film together. The bloody depiction of violence keeps the stakes high as we follow the duo's spree. Does a great job of conveying it's fun until it's not.

    A bit rough though for me in some areas, especially the sound mixing department. And I know it's been lauded, but there are some pretty bizarre editing choices here.

    Love the New Wave influence. Just doesn't always look great on all the elements involved.

  • Stowaway

    Stowaway

    ★★

    Was I supposed to watch the Oscars? Yes. At this point, I admit I have a problem with Netflix films. I can't say no. Toni Colette and Anna Kendrick were the bait here.

    This film hits all the familiar expected narrative beats but rather than delving into some Lord of the Flies in Space territory as I was hoping, it veers into heavy handed emotion and an earnestness that collapses in on itself and manages to be two hours long.…

  • The King of Staten Island

    The King of Staten Island

    ★★½

    Apatow sticks to his guns, namely some deeply flawed, human elements within in a bloated runtime and lots of elongated scenes. At this point, that either works and you have the patience for it, or it doesn't. With the right story for me, it does.

    The film's heart cannot be denied, but it just gets lost. The writing and plot go from candid to overly manipulated and too heavy handed to give us much connection to anything anymore. That third act laid it on pretty thick in particular.

  • Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands

    Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands

    ★★

    Watched for an upcoming 'Mad for Mads" episode. I was not mad for this movie.

    When Nicolas Winding Refn isn't having fun, no one's having fun. This is scrubbed of his style largely and what’s left is rough.

  • Moonrise Kingdom

    Moonrise Kingdom

    ★★★★

    I relapsed pretty hard into Wes films. Sometimes you need reckless symmetry in your life.

    "I can't argue with anything you're saying, but then I don't have to because you're twelve years old,"

    That's the entire heart and spirit of this film.

    There are some minor quibbles with some design choices and narrative beats but then I didn't make Life Aquatic or Rushmore, so ignore me. The real question to be asking here, is why is Wes Anderson so perfect?

  • The Darjeeling Limited

    The Darjeeling Limited

    ★★★★★

    The Luftwaffe Automotive scene alone is one of my favorite Wes scenes of all time and perfectly encapsulates the entirety of the film in that moment as well as the mournful heart at the center of many of Wes' films and his wit and aesthetic.

    It gives us the three brothers, their personalities, and their faults, and how they lose their way, their family, and each other. How they give up. Then they are accidentally given it all back again,…