• Almayer's Folly

    Almayer's Folly

    ★★★

    Just read half-a-dozen reviews, not a single one of which thought it necessary to mention the non-linear narrative (Chen's opium reverie?), which I was slow to pick up on. So I'm not sure how this "works," although to an extent perhaps it doesn't matter, since hallucinatory seems to be the default mode for anti-colonialist meditations (certainly when it comes to Conrad, be it APOCALYPSE NOW or Franju's mind-melting LA LIGNE D'OMBRE). Bookended by two extended shots of hollowed-out characters: first…

  • Game 6

    Game 6

    ★★★

    Parking this here for now, this re-view solely to prep for a compare/contrast with COSMOPOLIS (DeLillo wrote this screenplay ages ago, despaired of getting it made, cannibalized the plot for his novel, only to get two movies within 6 years). Actors try desperately, misguidedly to make the hive-mind DeLillo dialogue sounds like it's coming out of actual people's mouths: Michael Keaton fidgets, makes an omelette, sweats, while around him all kinds of tic-y stuff is going on. Only Robert Downey…

  • Planet of Snail

    Planet of Snail

    ★★★

    Would've made a killer medium-length subject, ending with play rehearsals, but beats itself into the ground. There's only so many times it makes sense for Yi Seung-jun to try to subjectively depict blind-deafness with glitchy musical interludes (the crackle like barely heard sounds filtered through memory). Works better as a portrait of handicap pragmatics applied on a daily basis, especially in the most riveting scene ever of a lightbulb being changed. The extended network of friends provides a potential path for narrative branching out that's regrettably untaken, and suddenly mentioning our hero's Christianity as a last-scene surprise is a mistake.

  • Craigslist Joe

    Craigslist Joe

    www.indiewire.com/article/out-this-week-a-dozen-reviews-of-new-indie-releases-celeste-and-jesse-forever-craisglist-joe-rec3-genesis-babymakers#Craigslist Though let me also add that there's a scene where this dude goes to New Orleans and looks around and he's like KATRINA WAS ONE THING ON TV BUT HERE IT REALLY HITS YOU HOW BAD IT WAS and just starts crying. THANKS BRO. Wasn't sure how to feel about it before, but NOW I KNOW.

  • Coming Home

    Coming Home

    ★★★

    My 4th Ashby (after THE LANDLORD, HAROLD AND MAUDE and BEING THERE), and I'm finally clear on what makes him distinctive (the showier a simple scene, the better: OTT darkness/lightness, conspicuously exploratory performances, assertive zooms, whatever it takes). Surprising how grandiose he can be, to sometimes magnificent effect: the heavy agenda goal's to take a psychologically complex character study that historicizes a period only 15 or so years past, analyzing the fresh trauma of the Vietnam War *and* sketching out…

  • Red Hook Summer

    Red Hook Summer

    ★★½

    Gets better once Spike loses his mind. First 20 a slog, steadily improves, my heart's with any movie that questions the role of religion as an unimpeachable pillar in black life. African Americans For Humanism might endorse this movie. The big SPOILER scene is handled with a dazzling lack of taste you kind of have to admire. Enough with the fucking Knicks though, OK?

  • Total Recall

    Total Recall

    ★★★½

    Considered here at greater length. But: Arnold acts! He doesn't have that panicked look on his face like in Kindergarten Cop. A wonderful portrait of a wonderful future in which there will be wonderful things for all of us to buy. Verhoeven makes all the product placement work to reinforce his point: you can't breathe without paying for air, and you can't make an anti-corporate blockbuster without corporate money, for the ultimate goal of making corporate profits. Pepsi might've wanted to rethink why it wanted to be included in this in the first place.