billhsu has written 176 reviews for films during 2020.

  • Fast Color

    Fast Color

    ★★★★

    I can't add much to BeBraveMorvern's review:
    letterboxd.com/bebravemorvern/film/fast-color/

    Yes, this is what an apocalyptic movie about mutants should be like. The three lead women are terrific. The main arc is not surprising, but the narrative is packed with clever and charming details. And there's little of the talking down to the audience approach that ruins the Marvel mutant franchise.

    A sequel almost seems inevitable. I really really hope they don't fuck it up.

  • After Midnight

    After Midnight

    ★★★

    This could definitely be tighter. (See: extended birthday dinner soliloquys, and redemption by karaoke.) But there's decent chemistry between the leads, and charming and funny moments.

  • Queer Japan

    Queer Japan

    ★★★

    This is maybe a bit long and (understandably) heavy on the talking heads. But I really enjoyed the segments with Matsuda (one of the principals in Dairakudakan, my favorite butoh group), the gay manga pioneers Hasegawa and Tagame, and Saeborg, who looks nothing like her mind-blowing art.

    Streamed via the Roxie:
    www.roxie.com/queer-japan/

  • Precarious

    Precarious

    ★★★★

    This old-fashioned Lynch-ian fever dream is by far my favorite at Another Hole in the Head 2020 so far. (I sit through a lot of noble failures hoping to come across something like this.) Louise Franco's art direction is gorgeous and exquisitely detailed, especially considering the budgetary constraints. (The Oakland Museum's legendary fundraising White Elephant Sale is thanked.) The opening titles are immediately lush and memorable, and set the tone beautifully. Then the movie just effortlessly draws one into its…

  • Victim of Love

    Victim of Love

    ★½

    I'm partial to movies set in decadent old hotels with taxidermy in the rooms. And mysterious writhing bloody organs. But when the voiceover goes "Is Evil Born?", I get nervous.

    I could only take an hour of this. Part of Another Hole in the Head 2020.

  • The Curse of Willow Song

    The Curse of Willow Song

    ★★

    I don't know why people keep going into that creepy basement room. But they do.

    (Part of Another Hole in the Head 2020.)

  • On the Floor

    On the Floor

    ★★

    Part of Another Hole in the Head 2020.

  • Joe Finds Grace

    Joe Finds Grace

    ★★½

    There's some nice interweaving of live footage and hand-drawn animation. But on the whole, this didn't work for me.

    (Seen at Another Hole In The Head 2020.)

  • Some Southern Waters

    Some Southern Waters

    ★★★½

    This stylish little movie was at the top of my watchlist for Another Hole In The Head 2020. (Just look at that poster, and check out the trailer.) It wears its hipster influences (definitely Lynch, maybe Jarmusch) on its sleeve, but is pretty charming about it. Beautiful B&W cinematography and some nice camera movement build an unsettling dream-like environment, with the throwback sequences of chain-smoking and bad coffee, driving along deserted backwood roads at night, menacing Italian gangsters who love…

  • The Raspberry Reich

    The Raspberry Reich

    ★★★★

    My second viewing; my first was when it was making the festival circuit years ago. This is probably the best of LaBruce's movies that I've seen, better than I remember. The sardonic tone and relentless intensity are beautifully maintained through most of its 90 minutes. Susanne Sachsse is incredible as the leader of the cell. The revolutionary slogans come thick and fast, "Clyde" looks and behaves like a young LaBruce, Berlin porn stalwarts appear under alternative names, and Genesis P-Orridge…

  • Dead of Night

    Dead of Night

    ★★½

    This of course dates poorly, though each segment had a little twist that kept it from being totally obvious.

    I first saw this alone on TV one night, as a young teen decades ago. The third segment scared the shit out of me at the time. It's pretty tame by today's standards, but the exchanges between the mother and son, that slowly revealed their relationship, were nicely done.

  • Never Gonna Snow Again

    Never Gonna Snow Again

    ★★★

    The first hour or so reminds me of Warmerdam and Lanthimos, with the absurd domestic rituals in the sterile suburban development. Alex Utgoff keeps a detached, charismatic presence, in a series of quietly tense social interactions. Then a softer sentimental streak creeps in, that I don't think works with the earlier material. This is maybe too long for what it has to show, and doesn't quite have the obsessive vision of the best of Warmerdam or Lanthimos; there are many moments of interest though.