• Oliver Sacks: His Own Life

    Oliver Sacks: His Own Life


    The first half is just packed with wild stories. The ending is sad but celebratory. I checked out Lawrence Weschler's memoir of Sacks from the library, and wasn't sure I needed both the book and this doc. But now I'm keen to dive into the book as well.

  • Come True

    Come True

    This was a frustrating experience.

    I love the quick intro to Sarah's situation, and the whole sleep study setup (and the retro Shriekback synthetic shakuhachi, ha). Some of the visual design, with the vast empty interiors and antiseptic colors, is quite attractive. But since everyone in the movie has a smartphone, while I love the look of analog video monitors, it's just ludicrous to have scientific equipment sporting vintage analog displays.

    It would help if filmmakers resisted the temptation of…

  • La Llorona

    La Llorona


    There are certainly subtle, restrained and atmospheric moments here. (I liked the interactions between the young girl Sara and the mysterious Alma.) But there are also quite a few gestures that I consider clunky, like the extended demonstration scenes. The last scene seemed particularly unnecessary and heavy-handed.

  • The Girlfriend Game

    The Girlfriend Game



    The original story, and other similarly tense and surprising stories, can be found here:

  • Stranger Than Paradise

    Stranger Than Paradise


    Was there anything like this in the mid 80s? The awkward silences, the overexposed glare of snow and sand and sea, the messy claustrophobic interiors, the sudden blackout transitions. I never forgot Cecillia Stark's Aunt Lotte turning around and swearing as the trio drove off to Florida. 2nd time around, this seems so gentle, charming and funny.

  • The Loveless

    The Loveless


    One of those fetish exercises with more than a nod to Ken Anger's Scorpio Rising, beautifully done. And Willem Dafoe can change my tires anytime, back in the day.

  • The Shout

    The Shout


    Not much I can add to the fine reviews from my friends here. But I did enjoy all the vintage audio equipment and weird recording experiments. And the Francis Bacon cutouts.

    It's on YouTube, but the quality is not great:

  • I Blame Society

    I Blame Society


    This is the funniest thing I've seen in ages. Gillian Wallace Horvat is terrific.

    Streamed via SF Indie Fest, but I see it's more widely available now, you lucky people.

  • C.I.A.



    A gritty faux doc about violent Mexican street punks, with lots of jerky handheld camerawork, choppy awkward talking heads, and good tension between the filmmaker character and the punks. Also some goofy stop motion animation, and impressive set pieces (the car scene after the robbery). I skimmed the panel discussion; apparently a lot of this is pretty realistic.

    Streamed via SF Indie Fest, available for a few more days at

  • The Transfiguration

    The Transfiguration


    This is nicely done, with an attractive quiet intensity and grittiness. Eric Ruffin gives an excellent performance as the lead. I'd prefer the ending to be less drawn-out, but overall this deserves more love. Why is this Ruffin's only acting credit, and Michael O'Shea's only directing credit?

    Of course I loved the digs at Twilight.

  • The Book of Vision

    The Book of Vision


    I had high hopes for this, despite the mediocre rating on letterboxd: all the medical history paraphernalia, complete with the gallery of anatomical wax models, the dark enchanted Del Toro-esque forest with some magic scenes, and the two parallel stories, with actors playing characters in both. Unfortunately, this has more than its fair share of clunky costume drama moments, the kind that a director like Del Toro is always careful to avoid. And some of the modern day sequences I…

  • The Attendant

    The Attendant


    I'm an Isaac Julien fan, but haven't seen this until I spotted it on Rock Hyrax's feed. Very cute.