nocturnalduck has written 8 reviews for films rated ★★½ .

  • First Man

    First Man

    for two thirds of this chazelle builds this amazing thing about the catharsis of channeling your traumas and pain to service an ideal bigger than yourself while also documenting the emotional devastation that this kind of single-minded pursuit creates, but then biffs it a bit with an ending that tries to counter this with a melodramatic arc that ties the catharsis to the act of achievement itself rather than the pursuit. it creates a flip-flop on the validity of meta-narratives that turns a very good movie into a solid one.

  • Short Cuts

    Short Cuts

    conceptually great but altman doesn't have the dramatic skill to center a film entirely around these interconnecting slice-of-life narratives for three hours.

  • The Long Goodbye

    The Long Goodbye

    this is as breezy, melancholic, and well-made as its reputation, but it ultimately needed to be either more surreal or high-key to hit the specific emotional notes it shoots for.

  • Wild Strawberries

    Wild Strawberries

    this movie combines three elements, two of which i find negative: storytelling instincts that are overly literary for the impressionistic portrayal of memory and regret this sort of goes for, a pat sensibility that really doesn't match the pain being portrayed here, and a phenomenal grasp of how the totalizing vortexes of our accumulated identities eventually suck us all in over time.

  • Creepy

    Creepy

    perfectly adequate, well shot, and well directed thriller that suffers from not entirely atypical narrative jetlag in the ending stretch. something about kurosawa's storytelling just kind of loses me as his films progress but it's tough pinpointing exactly what that issue is.

  • High Life

    High Life

    understanding the annihilation-inducing expansion of the neoliberal state as an increasing apparatus dedicated to regulating and controlling the human body is a good concept, but after establishing that conceit this doesn't really do much with it. the characters are mostly flat and underdeveloped, the atmosphere is initially chilling but becomes increasingly tedious as the movie progresses, and the film's idea that the ultimate wrench in those systems of control will be the innate emotional connection we have to our physical…

  • Antigone

    Antigone

    very dry film but that can be fine if it's supplemented with a density/richness of analysis, and films that offer this kind of symbiotic relationship between the perspective of content and form are always very welcome. however, where this falters for me is it being an adaptation of a fictional text in the first place. the story here is stripped of all dramatic affectation, turned into a template that straub-huillet can situate their political discourses onto, but there are always…

  • Battlestar Galactica

    Battlestar Galactica

    review for the entire show:

    peak deranged liberal psychosis. the chosen ones as qualified professional technocrats, understanding the world as a physical manifestation of the begrudging compromise, any ideological principle that steers from the status quo representative of abject selfishness or callousness. democracy and fascism existing on a sliding spectrum, the former only being ordained to the extent to which the ruling class has the pragmatic luxury of letting the unscrupulous masses call the shots. the moral code of the…