• Duelle

    Duelle

    ★★★★

    If other movies depict mystery, Duelle embodies it, inventing the Lynchian by standing actors and crew in a room like they're an enigma in a riddle. What could be more fantastic or uncanny than the ordinary, Juliet Berto unfurling incantations with her decisive hands. Rivette revisits the baffling locations of film noir, an aquarium, a botanical garden, a locker room, while women play dress up as an essential part of battling for their place in the world. Endlessly associative and open, making – like Anger's Puce Moment – the past, future, and present one.

  • Mr. Jealousy

    Mr. Jealousy

    ★★★

    Typically for early Baumbach, all the parts that aren't the movie are terrific; the less audible the dialogue, the funnier it is; the more irrelevant the side characters, the better they are. If this had 30 minutes of Carlos Jacott and John Lehr squabbling in a diner, instead of four, it'd be a five-star Gesamtkunstwerk. They can't all be Conrad & Butler Take a Vacation, sadly.

  • My Neighbors the Yamadas

    My Neighbors the Yamadas

    ★★★½

    Blessed with perfect vibes, and theme music by Akiko Yano that's almost as charming as Vince Guaraldi's, Yamadas faithfully adapts a Sunday comic strip in the style of golden age sitcoms. It's long, lived-in, and understated. If the idea of adapting a funny paper into a movie one four-panel sequence at a time, without a story or anything but Basho haikus to hold it together, seems cursed, the mundane blissful flawlessness of the source material, a Peanuts for the everyday, makes up for it, finding tiny morals in life's foolishness, not to scold but to celebrate–with a whistle and a wah-wah–the perfectly average.

  • Shiva Baby

    Shiva Baby

    ★★★

    Aesthetically kind of heinous, at least when its anamorphic handheld cinematography recalls Krisha more than Fleabag, Seligmann aims for a horror-comedy in which the audience has deep empathy for its protagonist, trying for a microbudget Uncut Gems-style panic attack thrill ride but make it claustrophobic and chaotic bisexual, and if she falls short, which she does, and the life that was present in the short is partly sucked out by the feature's visual ambitions and need to stretch out, then,…

  • Modern Romance
  • The World in His Arms

    The World in His Arms

    ★★★★½

    That Boston man, he come like hurricane, out of Salem by way of San Francisco, bound for Sitka on the Pilgrim of the Sea. The wind is fair and we don't wait, because he has to meet a woman. Any woman. The world's a stage when a lady's present—and every man's a gambler. (Otherwise they would never marry). Go inside, grab yourself a drink, get into the fight.

    The fun in having it all is acting like you can't lose;…

  • Please, Please Me!

    Please, Please Me!

    ★★★½

    Mouret at his most slapstick. For anyone that loves Jerry Lewis.

  • Love Affair(s)

    Love Affair(s)

    ★★★★

    “Comic melancholy, freely inspired by Ophüls’ La Ronde.”

    Stories create other stories as cinema creates other cinema. Movies are made to be complex, Mouret claims – in interviews and screenplays – yet each one he makes is more euphonic than the last. “I think of Ernst Lubitsch,” says Mouret, “whose films constitute a sort of absolute.” Complexity in service of simplicity, polyphony to produce harmony, characters striving always to do good but pulled helplessly in the other direction, society's order set against desire's whim.

  • Shall We Kiss?

    Shall We Kiss?

    ★★★★

    Treats the things humans find arousing rationally, which leads, of course, to minor farce. When seen on its own, without frame of reference, its charms were lost on me, but in the context of Mouret's other work, it's as moving as it is funny, with a narrative device that elegantly balances comedy with drama. “I really like parentheses within parentheses, stories within stories,” says Mouret. “Stories which create other stories.” A delight.

  • Change of Address

    Change of Address

    ★★★½

    A fool in love with a cipher, the better for him to project upon, shares an easy, casual intimacy with the flibbertigibbet in the next room, herself distracted by a connection she imagines. I couldn’t relate! Nope, no way, definitely not the story of my life. Mouret’s wisdom, however lost on me, makes for terrific comedy.

  • McCabe & Mrs. Miller

    McCabe & Mrs. Miller

    ★★★★

    “A marvelous bunch of photography.” – Walker Evans

  • Mystic Pizza

    Mystic Pizza

    ★★★

    Cozy sitcom melodramatics around a pizza place on the coast and the girls who wait tables there, sometimes in heels. The men are as forgettable as the direction but their appeal, like the movie's, is obvious enough. Mystic itself, here a composite of surrounding towns, is rendered somewhat evocatively, for Connecticut. Amy Holden Jones wrote the script, likely wholly ignorant of what a treat it would someday be to hear Julia Roberts say "fuck."

    The differences between coal-fired New Haven apizza, Providence grilled flatbread, and the most common pie in New England, that abominable Greek square of cardboard air pockets and grease, goes uncommented upon, sadly.