billhsu has written 56 reviews for films during 2021.

  • Young Diego

    Young Diego

    ★★★½

    Easily my favorite of Frameline 2021's Dark Twisted Fantasy program (which is not terribly dark or twisted), with its ambiguous and uncomfortable narrative.

  • GUO4

    GUO4

    I have no idea what to make of this. When are we getting another Peter Strickland feature?

  • Dennis: The Man Who Legalized Cannabis

    Dennis: The Man Who Legalized Cannabis

    ★★½

    Basic, but worthwhile.

  • Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation

    Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation

    ★★★

    Enjoyable enough, but could have been more.

  • Anything for Jackson

    Anything for Jackson

    ★★★½

    Horror movies with humorous touches usually don't work for me. But this is great fun and nicely done. Excellent performances from Sheila McCarthy and Julian Richings as the sometimes scary, sometimes dotty old couple, and Josh Cruddas as the socially inept occultist who still lived with mom. The decontextualized family dynamics and homilies are hilarious (well, I thought they were), and the occult rituals are messy and over-the-top. The ending is satisfying.

  • Caveat

    Caveat

    ★★½

    I liked the multiple unreliable narratives, and that creepy drumming rabbit toy. But the soundtrack has its mercilessly telegraphing moments. And surely we're all tired of extended scenes of flashlights swirling around in dark basements.

  • Days

    Days

    Much as I enjoy watching Lee Kang Sheng moan as he gets a massage in the nude, I can't say I consider this one of Tsai's major films.

  • The Orchid
  • Abel

    Abel

    ★★★

    This is way earlier than my other two Warmerdam films (Borgman and The Northerners). There's certainly a lot to enjoy here. While it lacks the frigid obsessiveness and cruelty of the two later films, it has a bizarre absurd energy that is attractive. A fair amount of dysfunctional family slapstick, and those blinding reds! The lighting in the homes and in the Naked Girls facility, the doors, interiors, outfits, rouge, lipstick. And doesn't Warmerdam here look more than a little like the young Denis Lavant?

  • Smithereens

    Smithereens

    ★★★½

    I don't know what took me so long to see this. Thanks to BeBraveMorvern for another fine vintage item. This scratches many of my '80s NY itches: the downtown cast, 3 Teens Kill 4 on the Peppermint Lounge marquee, my favorite Richard Hell song on the soundtrack, all the shots of crumbling NYC. There are many smart, funny moments in the script, and deft camerawork in confined spaces.

    And if Brad Rijn is following me around like a lost puppy, you bet I'll hold his gun.

  • The Fabric of You

    The Fabric of You

    ★★★½

    I have reservations about the story, but the animation and the ending especially are beautifully done.

    Available at vimeo.com/542610281

  • Punk the Capital: Building a Sound Movement

    Punk the Capital: Building a Sound Movement

    ★★★½

    This was great fun. And for the most part, there were reasonable captions identifying speakers (and their affiliations) and bands.