• Teenage Emotions

    Teenage Emotions

    ★★★½

    This is a good movie that I recommend, and I talked to Frederic Da about making it here.

  • Cusp
  • The Blazing World

    The Blazing World

    ★★

    At this point The Blazing World starts to resemble Ready Player One if the latter hadn’t, Overlook Hotel sequence aside, rendered its references as avatars and characters within an original (relatively, anyway) visual world of its own construction and instead made every single shot full-on pastiche. In a production design-minded way, Blazing is impressive, but to no end worth pursuing. On her quest, Margaret’s first dropped into a fantasy desert world to face off against her mom as a mask-wearing…

  • El Planeta

    El Planeta

    ★★★½

    I generally strive to be a well-informed viewer; in the case of Amalia Ulman’s El Planeta, however, I was perhaps better served by going in uncharacteristically ignorant. Because I didn’t really know anything about Ulman besides the fact that she’s a performance/video/web-artist, I wasn’t picking up on any of her debut feature’s connections to the personas she’s developed on Instagram and elsewhere. Instead, Ulman’s debut feature, shot in the town of Gijón, where she grew up, registered as exactly the type of movie I like, a droll comedy formally descended from Éric Rohmer.

    Good movie!

  • The Most Beautiful Boy in the World

    The Most Beautiful Boy in the World

    ★★½

    2015’s documentary Helmut Burger, Actor embedded itself in Luchino Visconti’s frequent star/last lover’s filthy apartment. The prompt may have been ostensibly tied to high culture but the result was disreputably compelling, allowing Berger to rant at unedited late-night-drunk voicemail length and (sorry) climaxing with him masturbating to, as they say, completion at (?) director Andreas Horvath. John Waters got the camp-trash idea and named it the best film of 2015; Berger eventually filed a lawsuit. A companion piece in the…

  • Atlantis

    Atlantis

    ★★★½

    I’m not crazy about what I wrote about this from TIFF, but it’ll serve and this movie needs a signal boost as it “enters American release,” so posting here.

  • Mank

    Mank

    ★★★½

    I wrote something like a personal essay on my 2020 in film, and since it includes Mank I’ll park it here.

  • A Man Escaped

    A Man Escaped

    ★★★★

    The challenge is maximizing a poverty of resources. For the subject, it’s a matter of imposed necessity, for the filmmaker a self-imposed challenge. Bresson’s approach is fairly spectacular: lots of cavernous black and white and deep focus largely rejected, which makes the frame sometimes even more overwhelming (e.g. the shot of prisoners filing out into the courtyard frame foreground-left, their gun-toting guard in a beam of seemingly natural light back-right—he’s in control of what’s happening but the opposite of compositional…

  • Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

    Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

    A couple of years ago I got the chance to write an essay about NYC geographical representation onscreen, how this movie is the champion of that and so on. Just re-read it and it seems to hold up OK, so here it is.

  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

    Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

    ★★½

    Baron Cohen’s method sometimes involves going into people’s spaces, but he’s also prone to constructing situations and seeing if people manifest their worst selves accordingly (or if he can at least freak them out). In one, Borat and his daughter attend a debutante cotillion, thereby inevitably catching middle-aged men saying creepy things—a small “gotcha” before an extended gross-out gag that didn’t land for me. One of the fathers at this event, Will Davis, describes how he got into this situation…

  • Trump Card

    Trump Card

    I may need to stop volunteering for these reviews.

  • David Byrne's American Utopia

    David Byrne's American Utopia

    In between songs, Byrne gives a few speeches—all good-intentioned, some cornball. One is about Kurt Schwitters and Hugo Ball; Byrne quotes a few lines from the latter about resisting fascism and gets a nice round of applause from the crowd. Later on, he urges people to vote, noting that local elections only boast a 20% turnout. “We gotta do better than 20%,” he says, and the crowd cheers (what were they going to do, boo?). The intent in projecting a…