• Boarding Gate

    Boarding Gate

    ★★★

    Despite the modest narrative and feeling that I'm pretty sure this has been overlooked in favor of some of his other work, the genre trappings make a great showcase for themes of uncertain feminine ascendance in a confusing postmodern world, and figures of male authority who have seen better days, drunk and wallowing in the shadows of their own past magnetism. The shooting style is a bit distracting, but does work well at keeping the immediate feel of the story,…

  • Seized

    Seized

    It's not top-tier Adkins, but if you want to see a bunch of shaky, badly-lit action scenes (That strip club fight, oof) that have some genuine oomf to them, while Mario Van Peebles (in a cowboy hat) watches Adkins kicking butt on TV, hooting and hollering, I have a film that's not entirely a bad use of your time.

  • Mountains May Depart

    Mountains May Depart

    ★★★½

    A striking, yearning snapshot of the early 21st century and of the hopes and dreams of the middle classes in China coming of age at the millenium, staged as a love triangle between Zhao Tao and two suitors, one an upwardly mobile mine owner, and the other a dude who works in the mine (They have one of those precarious employer-employee friendships early on) -when the love triangle straightens out into a line and a spare wheel, as they often…

  • Blackbird

    Blackbird

    ★★★

    A simple playful Quebecois song about a Blackbird that adds and subtracts various body parts at different verses becomes a showcase for Norman McLaren to play with lines and form, creating the title character with just a few simple shapes and sending them spinning, rising and falling against a static, gorgeously painted sky, adding and subtracting body parts with abandon until the bird has become something akin to one of Ezekiel's angels.

  • Bath House

    Bath House

    ★★★½

    More based around a specific situation than the other shorts I've seen, this little 'bad day at work' for an anthropomorphic Zebra who presumably isn't getting paid enough of this feels like it would make a good introduction to Niki Lindroth Von Bahr's stop-motion animals - the details and textures of the environments here are as detailed and plush as ever, and the 15-minute runtime gives a lot of time to soak in that detail, while the unspooling narrative (with…

  • Alexander Nevsky

    Alexander Nevsky

    ★★★

    Moral of the story: Never trust the Germans.

    (There's a slightly bemusing detail here, historically speaking--namely that after being made, during the period of increased tension leading up to WWII, the film was an immediate hit in the USSR, and then, when the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed, it was abruptly pulled from circulation, before being just as quickly reintroduced to Soviet audiences on June 22nd, 1941 - it's tempting to talk about the film outside of the wartime propaganda context,…

  • Three Ages

    Three Ages

    ★★★

    Cloud Atlas (Wachowski, Wachowski, 1923)

  • Eternals

    Eternals

    ★★½

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

    short version:

    Okay, there's a lot of details here (and the devil's in the details, as a thousand commentarians besides me have doubtless illustrated in the way they've sliced this one up and read its entrails) but as far as PULP goes, there's a basic way that this unfolds, for most of its length, that feels effective for connecting to the audience here at the end of 2021 and the start of 2022 and sharing some basic hidden meaning -…

  • Bearly Asleep

    Bearly Asleep

    ★★★½

    Charming seasonally appropriate short enlivened by note-perfect use of Donald (neurotic park ranger who hates bears, even while he's supposed to be managing their nap time) rich, textured animation courtesy of dependable Jack Hannah (especially those pastel backgrounds that make ME want to hibernate) and a few really sharp gags, particularly the genuinely bizarre note the cartoon ends on.

  • Pyewacket

    Pyewacket

    ★★½

    Adam Macdonald's first feature film was the survival film BACKCOUNTRY, where the characters were trying to deal with a bear attack in the woods, and the complicating factor is supernatural rather than just plain natural here (Brought about in a fit of teen angst) but there's the same meat-and-potatoes approach to genre of giving us characters who are sympathetic, well-portrayed by talented actors (Laurie Holden is particularly good here as a single mother who doesn't understand her daughter's occult interests,…

  • The Killing

    The Killing

    ★★★★½

    5 Things about Stanley Kubrick's THE KILLING, no particular order:

    1) The last time I had seen this was a partial rewatch - about two years ago, when I caught the second half where it was on TV but missed the first. Made me want to revisit the whole thing, and have to say, after doing so (the last time I saw the whole thing before that was at least a decade ago) I was surprised by how QUICKLY it…

  • Hotel Transylvania: Transformania

    Hotel Transylvania: Transformania

    Logging the film of the year with a 2022 release date, and it's...............not very good, unfortunately.

    Not that it's very bad, either, it's just that I have sort of a soft spot for the Hotel Transylvania films and this doesn't feel like a full extension of them so much as it feels like one of those direct-to-video sequels Disney knocked off for Bambi, Aladdin, etc, in the 90s. A lot of the colorful, energetic animation and sight gags are the…