Victor has written 47 reviews for films during 2021.

  • Profile

    Profile

    ★★★★½

    One of those rare movies that, after a long wait and much anticipation, exceeded my expectations. Its formal similarities to other screenlife films I’ve liked are inevitable, but it goes beyond Unfriended, Searching, and others in both the intensity of its anxiety and the range of its ideas. Among these are, unexpectedly, a pointed exposé of the exploitative, alienating working conditions of freelance digital journalism and the not-unrelated appeal, however irrational, of complete escape. Bekmambetov also balances the claustrophobia of…

  • It's a Bikini World

    It's a Bikini World

    ★★½

    Aside from its glimpses of the workaday feminism Stephanie Rothman would engage more directly in her later movies, quirky musical numbers, and lush, loving portrayal of midcentury Los Angeles’s sleepy suburban idyll, this listless AIP knockoff gets by largely on Tommy Kirk’s sublimely detached performance as an ambulatory STD vector (or “ladies man,” if you prefer) who sets off alarm bells with every dead-eyed leer. Seriously, Patrick Bateman’s got nothing on this guy. Deborah Walley, rocking the titular swimwear like she invented it, ghosts him accordingly. Highly skippable yet strangely compelling.

  • The Owl Service

    The Owl Service

    ★★★★½

    Really glad for those protracted “previously on” bumpers, because this took me a while to get through. But what’s not to love about a Marxist YA soap opera that pivots on class resentment, weird sexual tension, and languorous plotting (excepting the final episode, when all hell breaks loose)? The last scene will tear your heart out — gently, of course.

  • Red White & Blue

    Red White & Blue

    ★★★★

    Noah Taylor’s too much of a puppy dog for the last act to achieve the kind of horror Rumley aims for, but maybe that’s a calculated mercy — the sequence is bad enough without a convincingly dedicated psychopath in the role. The movie belongs to Fuller anyway, and a few questionable plot turns and minor miscasting aside, it’s reassuring to know someone’s still making films about marginalized people when the margins (and the folks therein) recede a little more every day.

  • Rough Night

    Rough Night

    ★★★½

    Half a star for dragging Crash.

  • Don't Look Now

    Don't Look Now

    ★★★★★

    It’s hard to believe I put off watching this for so long, but I suspect having a few decades of love and loss behind me only enhanced the experience; if nothing else, I had no trouble relating to a protagonist whose misdirected perspective proves disastrous. Roeg lets his schematism overtake emotional realism in a couple of scenes, but his two fearless leads — especially Julie Christie, who’s uncannily open and engaged — more than take up the slack. Definitely worth the wait.

  • Teenage Seductress

    Teenage Seductress

    ★★★½

    If that’s a teenager, I’m a toddler.

    New Mexican daylight noir art-smut skews melodramatic, but with enough oddball Lynchian touches, ineptitude-inspired laughs, and low-rent beauty to rise above the muck. The emotional stakes, which culminate in a pair of equally equivocal climaxes, are rewarding, too. Incest, it turns out, is not best.

    It’s also nice to see New Mexico so proudly featured, although “annexed” is doing a ton of work in a sign that’s lingered over in an early shot: “Area Colonized by Spain 1615, Became Mexican territory 1821, Annexed by United States 1846.” Who‘s your daddy indeed.

  • Adult Material

    Adult Material

    ★★★★★

    Best money shot ever.

  • In the Earth

    In the Earth

    ★★★★

    I can’t help but wonder if some of the negative reviews here have to do with the bumbling, whiny, almost totally ineffectual male lead character, and his diminished status in the movie’s reverse–Adam and Eve creation myth. Loads of neat strobe, too.

  • Sans Soleil

    Sans Soleil

    ★★★★★ / ☆☆☆☆☆

    For all its unabashed cinephilia and occasional pedantic fan-boyishness (my least favorite element), this struck me as an apt and remarkably bitter condemnation of movie spectatorship. Marker is as indulgent of his stream of decontextualized images as he is interrogative of their imposed context, and dares us to make sense of them as both supportive of the blithely colonialist narration and devoid of any relationship to it whatsoever. If such a thing is even possible, a question…

  • China 9, Liberty 37

    China 9, Liberty 37

    ★★★★

    When Warren Oates says he’s going to kill a chicken in a Monte Hellman movie, the odds that you’ll see Warren Oates actually killing a chicken are 1:1.

    My Hellman memorial watch. It’s far from his best work, but is still memorable beyond offering a second (to my knowledge) helping of Jenny Agutter swimming naked, personal if only in its meta-narrative reflection of the problematic production history, and notable for the depth and primacy of its human connections. There are worse ways to be remembered.

  • Come True

    Come True

    ★★★★

    Thwarted my aversion to and frustration with ’80s and ’90s horror-trope fetishism by making it pivotal to the plot. Sneaky.