• Vanya on 42nd Street

    Vanya on 42nd Street

    ★★★★

    The bleakness of Chekov's play is in the idea of decay - decay that erodes the Earth, the home, the family unit, and ultimately, the self.

    The play begins here in the middle of seemingly tangential dialogue, the conceit of a filmed play laying bare the necessity that the performance and consumption of art carries of the human soul. To perform this story is to immerse yourself into its rhythms, into its world, into its misery. Malle embraces the nature…

  • Petite Maman

    Petite Maman

    ★★★★

    To walk in the halls of the deceased is to live among ghosts, to bring the memories of the past to life.

    After my grandparents passed, my mother stayed behind to take care of their estate. The family home became a family tomb, packed wall to wall with fragments of their existence from every stage of their lives; a wedding album buried in a moving box, a set of dishes stashed in the garage, heirlooms and keepsakes lost in the…

  • Love Under the Sun

    Love Under the Sun

    Milkyway Image's AIDS PSA, and honestly pretty fucking spectacular at doing what it sets out to do. 12 minutes of AIDS education with basically the entire stable of Johnnie To regulars set to some amazingly fun musical numbers wasn't quite how I expected to spend my night, but its a genuine treat for anyone who has heard of even one of these stars, and a worthwhile (and informative!) watch in its own right!

    watch here

  • Diner

    Diner

    ★★★½

    This bizarrely candy-coated movie has neon blood coursing through its veins, so that a heart made of (checks notebook) every anime trope for stories about a young woman's adventures into otherworldly places with dangerous but still somewhat lovable hot men can come to life.

    Diner is a mess. It's a chaotic, beautiful, wildly entertaining mess. It's formally one of the most exciting, astoundingly well realized maximalist movies I've seen in a long time, where every element of this is cranked…

  • Legend of the Mountain

    Legend of the Mountain

    ★★★★

    Essentially plotless in how Kong Hu gives this film away to being a meditation on nature and the unknowable, deeply spiritual beauty of the Earth first and foremost. Long stretches of the movie are nothing but the most breathtaking landscapes ever put to film, as time and space and color become an interconnected thread of magical beauty in Hu's gaze.

    It's a fun, funny movie too! a bizarre romantic triangle surrounding wayward spirits is about the only genuine gravitas the…

  • Exiled

    Exiled

    ★★★★★

    Brotherhood, blood, and bullets - perhaps the peak of Heroic Bloodshed as a genre and a concept.

    This is the job. Killing is work, but when you have your brothers by your side, it can be something more. It can be a way to truly connect to others, a way to share a common bond and to find beauty in the seeming banality of it all. Even when the times change and your moment is fading away, you can always…

  • Bullet in the Head

    Bullet in the Head

    ★★★★★

    Woo's bombasticism and melodramatic verve goes to hell in a country torn by war, as these men lose themselves in a world without morality.

    The thesis of the movie is spelled out soon after we arrive at Saigon. Ben, Frank, and Paul's scheme is almost instantly rendered hopeless after a riot breaks out in the streets, a suicide bomber destroying their smuggled goods before he is executed in front of their eyes, point-blank.

    He's killed in a single moment, with…

  • The Long Goodbye
  • Bullet Ballet

    Bullet Ballet

    ★★★★★

    There's a war in the the streets.

    Violence is a force of destructive catharsis in Shinya Tsukamoto's films, but there is nothing so immediate and absolute as the impact of a bullet. A bullet to the head is the immediate termination of human existence, a bullet to the flesh a shockingly destructive and direct penetration of the human form. A bullet can carve a path through anything on this Earth with enough force behind it - all that's needed is…

  • Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts

    Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts

    While this is obviously a fire to stoke the coals of nostalgia first and foremost, that doesn't have to be a bad thing; for as complicated as most anyone's relationship to this series and author and material is by this point, that doesn't invalidate the impact it has on us, and doesn't lessen the meaning that these stories hold in such a unique way to each and every person seeing this.

    A childhood where these movies were among my greatest…

  • Meet the Spartans

    Meet the Spartans

    I laughed a lot

  • The Card Counter

    The Card Counter

    ★★★★½

    William Tell leaves nothing to chance.

    Tell is a professional. Poker isn't his passion and gambling isn't his gift. Opulent casinos are window dressing, barren spaces packed to the brim with lights and noise and people, stimuli meaningless to a man who is almost monastic in his existence. Everything in Tell's life is cold, clinical, calculated, an existence in service entirely to his job and his job alone.

    Schrader frequently measures the space between scenes by the length of time…