Steve Erickson has written 24 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ .

  • Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**ker

    Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**ker

    ★★★★½

    So many films about pre-Giuliani NYC have bypassed or even glamorized the suffering that went along with its thriving music and art scene. WOJNAROWICZ brings back its politics and reminds us of the many tragedies caused by AIDS. Take the shots of a 1989 ACT-UP rally where people chant "Health care is a human right!" Well, America's still going through another plague in which the government shoveled minorities into the furnace and refused to effectively educate its citizens about how…

  • Center Stage

    Center Stage

    ★★★★½

    Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan’s “Center Stage,” a hybrid film about Chinese actor Ruan Lingyu (Maggie Cheung) which shows an amazing flair for melodrama, finds its way to its first U.S. release 30 years after it was made. While a film this good deserved a worldwide audience back in 1991, it’s oddly fitting that a melancholy reflection on time, memory and moviemaking which looked back to the silent era is now being re-introduced following its own restoration. The HK New…

  • Road

    Road

    ★★★★½

    I haven't seen THE LAST OF ENGLAND, but it's hard to imagine another film living up to that title as well as this one. In this context, "Try a Little Tenderness" sounds as harsh as Crass.

  • Gremlins

    Gremlins

    ★★★★½

    An incisive allegory about America's commodification of difference and tendency to treat Othered people like cute pets then act surprised when they bite back. A misanthropic bullet aimed at the mythologizing of small town America that's totally complicit in what it's critiquing and somehow seems all the stronger for it. The best family Christmas movie ever made!

  • Lake Mungo

    Lake Mungo

    ★★★★½

    These days, most horror movies sell themselves on their subtext. So praising LAKE MUNGO as a meditation on a girl's trauma and her family's grief feels pretty banal. As a film, it plays less banal because the film emphasizes the uncertainties of Alice Palmer's (Talia Zucker) short life and the way her friends and relatives take events that moviegoers are prone to be startled by in stride. But the amount of pain in this film, combined with the eerie nature…

  • Song of Love

    Song of Love

    ★★★★½

    “A Song of Love” layers fantasy upon fantasy, with a style driven by pure desire rather than storytelling logic, but ultimately, what matters is the ability to pull real tenderness and joy from such a brutal, isolating world.

    More to come in my article on LGBTQ-themed films streaming on MUBI: www.gaycitynews.com/mubi-the-queer-stream/

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion

    Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion

    ★★★★½

    Ever see a film that you don't understand but which seems so beautiful and innovative that it marks the start of something new in cinema? It took me 23 years to catch up with THE END OF EVANGELION, but it's one of those movies.

  • Bless Their Little Hearts

    Bless Their Little Hearts

    ★★★★½

    Written and shot by Charles Burnett (but directed by Billy Woodberrry), BLESS THEIR LITTLE HEARTS feels very close to the world of KILLER OF SHEEP. Burnett's b&w cinematography is crisp. The soundtrack uses jazz and soul judiciously. But the film takes neo-realism into extremely grim territory. Nate Hardman's character is never gonna rise out of poverty, knows it, and he's willing to destroy his family to get what little pleasure he can out of life. The kitchen scenes reminded me of Cassavetes, but the couples in FACES or A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE never faced this level of economic despair.

  • Beauty and the Beast

    Beauty and the Beast

    ★★★★½

    If Juraj Herz's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST winds up affirming the romanticism at the heart of this story, it's still the darkest (both visually and figuratively) version of it I have ever seen. The film is full of stark contrasts and changes of mood, expressed by sudden shifts of lighting or cutting from a bleak pipe organ piece that would fit in at a black mass to swelling piano and strings out of a Douglas Sirk soundtrack. A triumph of…

  • Fleabag + A Schmuck and a Cunt

    Fleabag + A Schmuck and a Cunt

    ★★★★½

    I am really rating the Phoebe Waller-Bridge TV series, which I binge-watched today.

  • Still Life

    Still Life

    ★★★★½

    How much did STILL LIFE circulate outside Iran back in the '70s? It pushes neo-realism away from melodrama towards the minimalism of slow cinema, long before that concept had been codified. But the use of long shots and repetition (with the same 45-degree angle used for a shot of the train tracks where the protagonist works) feels prescient. The film has a cumulative force, especially in its extremely bleak half hour, where everything the protagonist has gets stripped away from him. Haunting, to say the least. Now available to stream on rarefilmm.com.

  • The Irishman

    The Irishman

    ★★★★½

    "Everybody's dead, Mr. Sheeran. It's all over. They're gone."

    Picture THE SOPRANOS if its final episode was more like SIX FEET UNDER's. Thousands of words have been spilled praising the film, and I'm stunned by it. I don't have much to add to the chorus of acclaim, but few films use their running times to create such a sense of complicity and identification through spending hours watching the life of a character whose behavior is often alienating and repugnant. (Novels…