• Don't Let the Riverbeast Get You!

    Don't Let the Riverbeast Get You!

    ★★★★

    The cinematic equivalent of TC Tuggers.

    It's not a joke. You don't make jokes about Don't Let the Riverbeast Get You, you don't watch it as a joke, you don't give it as a joke gift or watch it ironically or laugh at it like a Neil Breen movie. It's not like Neil Breen.

  • Sleepless in Seattle

    Sleepless in Seattle

    ★★★★½

    Nursing a severe stomach ache with a bowl of cardamom oatmeal and this Nora Ephron bowl of 90s comfort, it got me tearing up in the first 15 minutes when Hanks is describing his wife and Meg Ryan's eyes start to get shiny. Is this the earliest in its runtime a movie has moved me to (near) tears?

    Anyways, this is warm and lovely, I just sorta wish Ryan and Hanks actually got to talk and interact (instead of her…

  • Blackhat

    Blackhat

    ★★★★

    Late-period Mann digital stylism at its finest bolstering a goofy hacker plot treated with religious solemnity. Awkward woozy romanticism, testosterone cologne, jittery gun battles. Feeling of: Warm blast of humid night air after leaving the airport in a new city, hyperreal shimmer of lights on the horizon. Features one of the best explosions captured on film. In other words, pretty fun!

  • Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 1

    Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 1

    ★★★★

    Gets lauded as the "Indian Godfather," one of the pinnacles of Hindi filmmaking. At the beginning I was a little bit underwhelmed—stylistically, the movie looks pretty good, but the opening gunfight seemed a little low budget. It's not the formal elegance of The Godfather or even City of God. But it turns out this movie actually was very low budget, even by Bollywood standards. Both films in total (with a running time approaching 6 hours) cost less than $3 million…

  • Jungle Cruise

    Jungle Cruise

    ★★★

    Aguirre, the Wrath of God: At World's End. Fun first hour, then a bombastic CGI fest. Needs more lazy floating down the river talking to monkeys.

  • The French Dispatch

    The French Dispatch

    ★★★

    Sort of insufferable. Twee Francophilia to the extreme, I mean, they named the the town Blasé-sur-ennui. I think it being an anthology film didn't help. Anderson is always a good storyteller, but there's not enough time to let the stories build naturally, so the surface stands out even more.

    This is the most a Wes Anderson movie has lost me. And I thought my expectations were set low enough that I would be pleasantly surprised! (which may have counterintuitively set my expectations too high). Still, there's a lot of visual invention, and I am surprised they pulled it all off on a $25 million budget.

  • Drive My Car

    Drive My Car

    ★★★★½

    Absolute banger, gave me a much needed reminder me why I spend my time watching the kinds of movies I do (ie. boring ones, to most). Gives that surge of empathy and identification that extends outward from the characters in the film to encompass... humanity as a whole, I guess. That sounds a bit grandiose, but it's a quietly grandiose movie. Reminded me of Margaret in that way, same kind of melodrama that flows outwards from an incident, and wraps…

  • Red Rocket

    Red Rocket

    ★★★★

    Was funny realizing that Judy Hill, the woman playing matronly small-time drug kingpin Leondria, was someone I recognized from the documentary What You Gonna do When the World's on Fire. That's a really interesting movie btw, a meditative doc that looks like it was shot by Malick and Lubezki which showcases Hill, the small town Louisiana bar she runs, her local political organizing and singing, and her two kids. I remember watching it and saying to myself—that woman is a…

  • The Power of the Dog

    The Power of the Dog

    ★★★★½

    This movie really badly wants to be straight-up erotica, and I half wanted it to go there. Love the way Campion shoots men.

    Apparently painter Lucien Freud was someone Campion and cinematographer Ari Wegner (who's having quite the year with this and Zola) talked about as a point of reference. Which is an odd one because it's sort of an abstract connection in this instance. It's not exactly like saying, "Make them/their hills look like Edward Hopper." My dad has…

  • The Woman Who Ran

    The Woman Who Ran

    ★★★★

    Totally insignificant, unassuming style, but somehow magically accrues gravity— a trickle of water turning into a mountain stream. In other words, typical Hong Sang-Soo.

    Two apples neatly peeled and cut, three rude men, a woman visits three friends, three screens within the screen (CCTV, doorbell camera, cinema), three landscapes. In the last segment the landscape is the same as the screen—protagonist in a movie theatre watching waves against a beach (first time in black and white then in color and…

  • The Matrix Resurrections

    The Matrix Resurrections

    ★★★½

    For better or worse, there's a lot of play with the images from the first films: new characters watching on as the old scenes play out, old images projected and magnified in the new world. This movie's a bit of a palimpsest. During the bullet time scene where Neil Patrick Harris is moving at double speed, there was some weird effect going on—I thing Harris had some frame rate thing giving him Hong-Kong style motion blur. It seemed like one…

  • West Side Story

    West Side Story

    ★★★½

    Impressive craft. Release the butthole cut!