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  • Only Yesterday

    Only Yesterday


    Grows richer and more profoundly resonates with each new viewing.

    Unsentimental, sparse, and deeply personal, the “new” Studio Ghibli film Only Yesterday is a treat for all souls. This anime from writer-director Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, Tale of the Princess Kaguya) was released in Japan in 1991, but aside from a brief theatrical run that same year, it has not been available in North America for over two decades, until this year. Darting back and forth between a…

  • Pom Poko

    Pom Poko


    I wrote a piece for the San Francisco Chronicle on the films of Isao Takahata! Check it out! In preparation for the Roxie Theater's weekend-long Studio Ghibli retrospective—now extended into early next week.

    "Pom Poko is the bizarre theory of what the greater Ghiblis practice. All Ghiblis are notable for their sprawling visuals — and Pom Poko delivers, with its frighteningly surreal imagery (i.e., the parade of tanuki goblins, with all of the terror and none of the wonder of…

Recent reviews

  • Frankenstein



    I was not expecting to be as moved to tears by the Little Maria scene as I was. For all its lack of continuity to Mary Shelley's perfect novel (and this is to the film's obvious detriment), Little Maria's flower game is what we hope so much will happen in the novel as the Being tells its story: Somebody approaching the Being on its own terms, without fear or revulsion. How fitting, then, that the gesture fails due to the gulf, the failure to communicate, between the two.

  • Zama



    The novella is written in a swirling, rambling style — one that Martel captures perfectly. She doesn’t just transpose the story and themes of the book to moving-image form; she also sharpens the novella’s haze. She removes di Benedetto’s neat three-year structure, so that events and characters melt into one another. We’re even more in Zama’s cruel, vacuous, rotten headspace.

    “No one can organize emotions along a linear timeline,” Martel says to me in Spanish. “Things happen simultaneously and without…

Popular reviews

  • The Hateful Eight

    The Hateful Eight

    No, Tarantino. This is the last straw. You've gone too far, and you've proven your detractors right: you are only in it for the bloody money. (Emphasis on blood.) I've been willing to defend QT's oeuvre for a long time now, but if I want to maintain a responsible and self-respecting conscience, I have no choice but to renounce him. Despite his desire to be cinema's VC Barnum by way of a crimsony Jackson Pollock, QT has maintained an infrequent…

  • Dunkirk



    In Interstellar, love conquers all. In Dunkirk, home is where the heart is. Maybe by the time Nolan makes his space western, the truth will set us free.

    More thoughts soon.