• Memories of Murder

    Memories of Murder

    ★★★★

    A fascinating entry in the serial killer movie genre that devolves from a sort-of melancholy black comedy/social commentary about 1986 South Korea to a heartbreaking examination of the toll a lack of evidence and resources takes on the detectives who are completely unable to stop this kind of violence (and committing plenty of tacitly-allowed violence on their own).

    Song Kang Ho and Kim Sang Kyung are incredible in their final scene together. And the cinematography contrasting the beautiful golden rice fields of the first and last scenes of the movie with the gradually darker and wetter story at the center is brilliant.

  • The Mummy

    The Mummy

    ★★★★½

    A re-watch inspired by the fantastic and enthusiastic Bonkers Romance podcast episode where hosts Jenny Nordbak and Melody Carlisle recapped the movie with novelist RM Virtues.

    Still got a couple of plotholes and the archeology stuff absolutely doesn't hold up, but the movie holds together surprisingly well. Rachel Weisz is gorgeous, Oded Fehr is criminally underused, and this is peak Brendan Fraser for this period (he's handsome, charming, swashbuckling, and allowed to be funny without being the butt of the joke 100% of the movie). I enjoyed the hell out of it.

  • Persona

    Persona

    ★★★★★

    Wow. I definitely haven't seen this Bergman film before - such an interesting two-hander exploring the line between admiration and obsession. Liv Ullmann is incredible as the nearly-silent stage actress who suddenly becomes selectively (?) mute, but is balanced brilliantly by her chatty nurse played by Bibi Andersson. The script keeps you guessing as to how the movie will end.

    Shot beautifully by Sven Nyqvist, of course.

  • Noises Off...

    Noises Off...

    ★★★★★

    Decided on a long-overdue rewatch after hearing of Peter Bogdanovich's death.

    The choreography in all the movie props and parts during the second "act" of the movie is brilliant.

    "GOD SAID HOLD IT! And they held it, and God saw that it was TERRIBLE..."

    "Oh and it's de movver of the bride!" (Carol Burnett absolutely kills this in this part in the last third)

  • M

    M

    ★★★★★

    Now to wash the taste of The Serpent's Egg out of my brain - an absolute masterpiece that knows exactly what kind of movie it is and what it needs from the cast (there was an Easter Egg in the Bergmann where Gert Fröbe as Inspector Bauer sits down to write a note for "Inspector Lohmann"...)

  • The Serpent's Egg

    The Serpent's Egg

    ★★½

    I knew from reading the synopsis that I probably wasn't going to like this film so I ripped the band-aid off and just watched it so I could maybe finish my full watch of the Bergman Criterion set in "festival" order (it's taken almost 3 years, whew).

    And it's a slog of a film. None of the actors appear to be in the same film as the other (Carradine is just, lost in this script). It's uneven (is it a…

  • The Palm Beach Story

    The Palm Beach Story

    ★★★★

    Second movie of 2022!

    A) Joel McCrea is a SNACK
    B) Mary Astor steals the show
    C) Sig Arno steals the show from her (and then does the most bananas pratfall out of a convertible) Yitz! NITZ!
    D) We only spend about 35 min of this movie in Palm Beach (rude), also this movie strictly adheres to a three-act structure
    E) the speed of the dialog (and you can kind of tell that Jerry was originally meant to be played…

  • When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

    When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

    ★★★★★

    First watch of 2022!

    An utterly heartbreaking character study of an aging (*eyeroll* she's only 30, thanks patriarchy), jaded Ginza bar hostess who has an incredible sense of her own self-worth and capabilities despite everyone around her trying to pull her down. Patrons, fellow hostesses, her family all place incredible expectations on her to be financially successful yet continually fence her in with male-dominated ideas of what women should be like.

    Hideko Takamine is spectacular.

  • The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

    The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

    ★★★½

    Caught this on the Hitchcock for the Holidays collection on Criterion Channel. 

    I really didn’t know much about this movie - apart from the Julian Fellowes commentary of Gosford Park which told me that Jeremy Northam’s character Ivor Novello was a real actor had just remade one of his silent films, The Lodger - so decided to dive in. 

    Maybe a little too much misdirection/early MacGuffin use because it bogs down somewhat in the middle before “surprise!” he’s actually trying to catch the killer. But fantastic atmosphere

  • Rope

    Rope

    ★★★★½

    What a portrait of a smarmy sociopath and a guilt-ridden mess. 

    And the long takes, wow.

  • Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell

    Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell

    ★★½

    Whooooo boy. Glad this is the last movie in the series because where would you go after this one? Zombies!! Zombies who can move through the earth like worms? (Yo, I thought this was the spider clan?) Massive final battle in the snow!!!!

    I am disappointed that Itto's quest to take down Lord Retsudo (who seemingly has infinite numbers of children at some point? and a rocket launcher that reloads itself) and the Yagyu clan wasn't concluded in this series.…

  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons

    Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons

    ★★★½

    Lone Wolf and Cub 5!

    Misumi is back to direct this film, and I did very much appreciate the return to the beautiful nature-filled scenes as Itto and Daigoro travel and are accosted by the five assassins who both test him and offer progressive fifths of a contract. (Cue the crazy death sequence of the guy who delivers his portion of the story while both bleeding out AND on fire.) And then there is the sword mistress Shiranui who delivers…