billhsu has written 48 reviews for films rated ★★★★ .

  • S He

    S He

    ★★★★

    One of the strangest and most riveting animation films I've come across in ages. Thanks to BeBraveMorvern for another great tip.

    Some of the gender politics statements may seem a bit pat, but it's decent scaffolding for the consistently bizarre and inventive visuals. The shoes remind me of leather fetish masks (with the zippers). I've been reading the Semiotexte book on Wojnarowicz, so the lip sewing sequence just jumped out at me. The organic and mechanical forms are constantly twitching…

  • Inhaling the Spore: A Journey Through the Museum of Jurassic Technology

    Inhaling the Spore: A Journey Through the Museum of Jurassic Technology

    ★★★★

    A perfect little film, about a magic place.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters

    Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters

    ★★★★

    In many ways, this is a more conventional documentary than Chris McKim's excellent Wojnarowicz film. But the archival footage is captivating, and the testimonials from Bill T. Jones and the dancers are heartfelt and moving.

    I'll admit I find modern dance to be a difficult art form to appreciate. But it's great to watch the little snippets, see the dancers (and the students!) perform these technically mind-blowing movements, and understand the deeper connections between the performers and the piece.

    Streamable via the NY doc fest for a few more days:
    www.docnyc.net/film/can-you-bring-it-bill-t-jones-and-d-man-in-the-waters/

  • Night of the Kings

    Night of the Kings

    ★★★★

    This was riveting. Thanks to BeBraveMorvern and Steve Erickson for their reviews; I can't add much, except maybe to point out some lovely tracking shots.

    Streamed via the Philadelphia Film Festival. Why isn't this more easily available out west? Sigh.

  • The Caretaker

    The Caretaker

    ★★★★

    Thanks to TheNinthHeart for another great tip.

    It opens with several lovely tracking shots, eventually taking us into the old house with the intimidating shadows. Then Pinter's script and the riveting performances take over, with the cryptic brotherly interactions, verbal sparring, and understated and bizarre power plays. Alan Bates just oozes charisma and menace; Robert Shaw is placid and unflappable, then there's the horrific revelation. And poor Donald Pleasance helplessly bounces between the two, trying to maneuver for survival.

    Looks like there may be more than one version on YouTube, but this one (recommended by TNH) is sharp, high contrast, and gorgeous:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbqW1h866ak

  • Our Time Machine

    Our Time Machine

    ★★★★

    I really enjoyed this, despite a few moments of sentimentality. (Hard to avoid, given the subject matter; but the family interactions are mostly gentle and thoughtful, without glossing over the realities of Alzheimer's.) The backstage glimpses are fascinating for a puppet theatre geek like me. The obvious association is with bunraku, but some of the visual design also reminds me of Shuji Terayama. The puppets and props are lovingly detailed (maybe to the point of being overly expensive and impractical)…