• Vive L'Amour

    Vive L'Amour

    ★★★★★

    91/100

    The joy of discovering a Tsai Ming-liang at the top of his game is truly unparalleled, even though his style has yet to be fully cemented - his cinema is indeed slow, but he isn't scared to use camera movements periodically. They have their purpose, obviously, specifically to let the environment to be discovered at the same time as the characters, instead of having a wide angle which wouldn't make the visual storytelling as compelling; Hsiao-kang watching his colleagues…

  • Petite Maman

    Petite Maman

    ★★★½

    61/100

    A sweet, wholesome who takes its time to make its core idea clear - it’s hard to say where the film is trying to build until it clearly does and rolls with it. The story is simple, effective, the cinematic equivalent of a fond childhood memory, which explains in my opinion the range of appreciation going from a kind acknowledgment to an outright emotional commitment - it’s a fine story, but not the kind that blows me out of…

  • Heat

    Heat

    ★★★★

    73/100

    Quite a beast here, may it be in its themes or its proportions. Mann leads everything masterfully, even though its runtime doesn’t let enough room to the side plots to properly breathe (most would point at Portman or Kilmer’s development, but most secondary characters could’ve been developed more, especially De Niro’s allies). There’s also an underwhelming touch to the ending, which takes a side in what is otherwise an incredibly balanced look at L.A.’s crime world, even though the…

  • Iron Monkey

    Iron Monkey

    ★★★½

    66/100

    Watched the butchered version released by Miramax, which was particularly excruciating and at the beginning of the film. They clearly meddled with the editing, transforming what would otherwise be a good action scene - great, even - into a clunky edited sequence, serviceable but definitely lacking a rhythm-wise. As the film goes, however, the scenes seem to be more faithful to the original material, even though the site movie-censorship.com counts 113 differences between the two versions and more than…

  • Lamb

    Lamb

    ★★★

    55/100

    The unconvincing feed-back made me skip this one when it hit the theaters, but a friend of mine bought the beautiful A24 blu-ray so we decided to give it a chance. It definitely is at its best when it stays in this weird limbo of odd realism, where the couple raises their lamb-child as if they formed a normal family. The problem is that such a paper-thin premise can barely make a film, so they had to add some…

  • Inland Empire

    Inland Empire

    ★★★★

    77/100

    The first two hours may honestly be Lynch at his best; his complete mastery over atmosphere is beyond even his great est works, forming a cinematic pool of madness extreme enough to make the viewer lose any grip on logic yet structured enough to lead somewhere. It is one of those films one could write off as pretentious or overtly intellectual, but the ride itself is so insane trying to make sense of it seems like a waste of…

  • The American Friend

    The American Friend

    ★★½

    48/100

    Apparently Wenders' adaptation of the original book isn't really faithful, Tom Ripley playing more like a cold and cunning calculator on paper rather than Hopper's borderline insane take on the role. Personally it's what I preferred in the film, however; his presence truly elevates the third act, from the iconic train sequence to the paranoiac climax. One could've made a case of Ripley being an invention of Zimmermann's mind if we didn't see him interact with other people earlier,…

  • Talk to Her

    Talk to Her

    ★★★½

    63/100

    The chemistry between Javier Cámara and Dario Grandinetti did most of the heavy work here, alongside Almodovar’s usual wit and directing style (I particularly liked the silent era inspired segment, which encapsulates the style of the time while feeling undoubtedly Almodovar). His limitations as a writer more visible than ever though, especially when he must represent the gravity of the situation even if he got the comedic ball rolling. Benigno never stops feeling playfully goofy even after his character…

  • The Breakfast Club

    The Breakfast Club

    ★★

    34/100

    Kind of hard to talk about such a cult classic when you're not from the generation that gave it its status, but there are so many things that aged poorly it unfortunately lost its edge. The film at least does a great job at representing the angst of White America through a bunch of teenagers and their daddy issues, scapegoats for the social pressures they - and we - live as a result of living in a society. The…

  • Valhalla Rising

    Valhalla Rising

    ★★★

    51/100

    When you refer in your title to features as surrealist and visually rich as Scorpio Rising and Valhalla Rising you better come up with some striking images. Fortunately, modern boy wonder of the artsy world Nicolas Winding Refn is here to do the job, and by doing so elevates what would otherwise be a dry, contemplative but aimless journey in the shoes of a highly charismatic anti-hero - which has pretty much been his schtick since his debut Pusher,…

  • Alice in the Cities

    Alice in the Cities

    ★★★★

    71/100

    Begins with a lost contemplation that quickly focuses on the incongruous between a journalist and a 9 year old abandoned by her mother. I've only seen two films from Wenders yet, being Lightning Over Water and The State of Things - loved the first because of the complicity between its subjects, was bored by the second's aimless contemplation, the adventures in L.A. afterwards failing to make up for it. Here, the contemplation is long enough to make Rüdiger Vogler's…

  • Cries and Whispers

    Cries and Whispers

    ★★★½

    62/100

    Holy shit, isn't that a fuck ton of red. I myself don't know if it's meant to be a praise or a critique, since Bergman's commitment here is directly on the line between laudable and borderline maniacal (both aren't mutually exclusive though, so one could say that it's both at the same time). His mastery of the craft is definitely there, and I do believe it elevates the film to another level, even if I have some issues with…