• Between the Lines

    Between the Lines

    ★★★★

    Dragged my pale over to the film criticism well for the first time in a hot minute, finding it, to my surprise, not totally tapped. Here are my program notes for this very fine film, in advance of its Friday screening at UW-Cinematheque, which is honoring Joan Micklin Silver (and Ray) with a four-film series.

  • The Protégé

    The Protégé

    ★★★

    Three-star movies don't get better than this.

  • Interstellar

    Interstellar

    ★★★★

    Proclaiming my love for this film, whose many obvious faults now seem to me vastly subordinate, in a tearful, years-deferred recognition scene.

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Palpatine looks like Mr. House rigged onto GLaDOS. (Not great.)

  • Tropical Malady

    Tropical Malady

    ★★★★½

    Grateful I got to program this film for the UW-Cinematheque, off a UCLA print. I wrote a blog post for the occasion, linked here, about the film, its reception, and Apichatpong's funny place in art cinema today. Seeing Tropical Malady for the first time in three years, I totally forgot how it briefly turns into the ending from At Land right before the tiger scene. Deeply weird and powerful film.

  • Doctor Sleep

    Doctor Sleep

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    *extremely Stefon voice*
    "Now if you're looking to see Jacob Tremblay get straight-up murdered."

    Really, though, I liked this—loved, even, multiple scenes. Too unwieldy with its many constituent parts for me to embrace on first viewing, and conflicted to the core between King, Kubrick, and Flanagan in ways unsatisfying, if also fascinating. That said, I didn't expect to be so affected by the AA scenes and the treatment of alcoholism throughout. Ewan McGregor has a talent for imparting earnest, po-faced…

  • Tide of Empire

    Tide of Empire

    ★★½

    By-the-numbers "boom town" silent western, of note for Renée Adorée's presence, three early zooms (two of which were filmed late at night and are nearly illegible), and a love triangle with unusually equal shadings between the three points of Adorée, her male suitor, and her brother.

  • Where Is My Friend's House?

    Where Is My Friend's House?

    ★★★★½

    I wrote about this film for the UW-Cinematheque blog, paying special attention to the empathetic compositions and use of doors throughout the film. As for this viewing, 1) Janus's restoration looks incredible! and 2) the flower tucked into the last shot never fails to choke me up.

  • Knot/Not

    Knot/Not

    ★★★★

    UW-Madison just hosted two days of Larry Gottheim, who screened nine of his films, his latest Knot/Not included, at the UW Cinematheque and visited our campus archives. This soft-spoken but highly reflective and warm person has been one of the heavyweights in American experimental cinema, and "structural film” (a term he does not love), for five decades. But my sense is that he is not championed or talked about enough—whether that is due to his humility or his career’s lulls…

  • Judy

    Judy

    ★★

    I sat between my friends and Eddie Redmayne for this lol.

  • Beanpole

    Beanpole

    ★★½

    Really love what DP Kseniya Sereda does here with tungsten, natural light, and color, especially green and vermillion. Narratively, however...extremely Russian!

  • Seed

    Seed

    ★★★★★

    John Stahl’s mostly score-less melodramas win points today for their understatement, but in the case of Seed, understatement is another word for the acute, merciless observation of euphemism, willed silence, and passive aggression. The narrative revolves around Lois Wilson’s Peggy, who makes a series of decisions that are, at once, self-injurious, overreactive, and admirably defiant. Anti-romantic compared to the classic Stahl weepies I have seen (those being Only Yesterday, Back Street, and When Tomorrow Comes, which is aching and just…