• December Hide-and-Go-Seek

    December Hide-and-Go-Seek

    ★★★½

    Well, it's not the same Ito tricks! Vascillated between "this is a pointless home movie" and being profoundly moved like six times during this, which is not nothing, even if I'm not sure quite what this something is, apart from a document of (and maybe intermittently by) Ito's young son....

  • Wall

    Wall

    ★★★½

    Yes, Ito uses the same bag of tricks most times, but they are fucking awesome tricks in my opinion, and it's nice to see them employed to evoke a wee smile instead of nameless existential dread, music video-y vibe or not.

  • It has to be lived once and dreamed twice

    It has to be lived once and dreamed twice

    ★★★★

    End of epoch churning of cinema through pixel destroying processes and Deep Dream nightmares, a bed of noise, and a narrator that all combines to ask the question "what if Don Hertzfeldt was zero fun and only wanted to ask philosophical questions and destroy your retinas?". I'm honestly not really sure what I thought of this thing but it is absolutely undeniably One Hell Of A Thing.

  • EO

    EO

    ★★★★

    I am not sure I have related to anyone in a film ever as much as when Eo walks out of the club just as the beat is about to drop.

    Would be five stars on this - everything that's donkey-centric is pure fire, like if Malick got rid of the voiceover and was drunk on Ken Jacobs and Michael Snow or something - but the fucking humans, man. If Isabelle Huppert's two scenes are what it took to get…

  • TÁR

    TÁR

    ★★★★

    If "Apartment For Sale" doesn't get nominated for Best Song on Tuesday then do the Oscars even mean anything?

    I'll have to revisit this; I spent lots of this having it playing against my expectations (all the comments on the direction led me to expect something more stylistically jagged), having cancel culture conversations in my head, and 100% not expecting it to go *there*. Definitely strong and also missed some subtle but significant beats that might well lift a second viewing.

  • Body Heat

    Body Heat

    ★★★★

    I was going to make this review a snarky one-liner about Joe Esterzhas - this is so the antecedent to Basic Instinct, amongst many others - and then I read his Wikipedia page and think that's a way more interesting use of your time, between the story of his father, his dealings with Mel Gibson, and his reporting becoming the centre of a Supreme Court decision.

    Without spoiling anything, I watched EMILY THE CRIMINAL, this, and BABYLON on back-to-back nights,…

  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril

    Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril

    ★★★

    Now that's what I call exploitation! When your main new character's description is "swordswoman who gets showy tattoos on her boobs so that her enemies are distracted and she can kill them", we're immediately a long way from the previous installment's question of "did I do my employer a disservice by abandoning his palanquin to attack enemies?", and the film dutifully tracks the new trajectory set by that guiding light. Feels like Daigoro gets sidelined here by a fresh director…

  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades

    Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades

    ★★★½

    Not a step down but a steep plummet, to the point where I thought that everyone was just phoning it in. (Except the actor who plays Daigoro, who, with three films under his belt, is given more to do than ever, and handles it with aplomb.)

    Turns out they were saving it for the third act; the last chunk of this, starting with the massively mismatched battle (by numbers in one direction, by the fact that one side of the…

  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx

    Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx

    ★★★★★

    I'm far from the first to note just how nuts it is that three of these films came out in the same year, with the same core creative crew, and yet one of them is so wildly better than the other two it's almost incomprehensible. I knew it was the same director, so I thought maybe a different cinematographer - the shot design here is perpetually impeccable - but nope. Then I checked if it was a different editor -…

  • The Flicker

    The Flicker

    ★★★★★

    This is an extra on Yellow Veil Picture's LUX AETERNA Blu-Ray, which upped it from "I'll get around to getting it someday" (I *really* like LUX AETERNA, but I'm trying to be sensible) to "day one purchase" (which happens roughly twice a year) ... and yet I didn't watch it for almost six months, waiting for a time that felt "right". This viewing wasn't quite right - it was dark outside, which is definitely necessary, but my wife was sleeping,…

  • Riotsville, USA

    Riotsville, USA

    Riotsville, USA was a mock town made by the military for training military and police in responding to riots after their increasing prevalence in the mid to late 60s. It's a fascinating concept. But is there a film in it?

    For me, it's not this one, for a simple reason: it stacks the deck much too obviously. I picked up on this pretty early, but the point where I gave up entirely on trusting this film was when it tried…

  • Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning

    Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning

    ★★★★½

    First time in 3-D and holy fucking shit. I'd remembered how much it feels like a Noé/Lynch mashup with bonecrushing action, but I'd forgotten how much it riffs on Apocalypse Now and how much it's also beholden to Memento - and yet it's a singularly nuts combination of these elements that left the whole of vulgar auteurism flailing in its wake. Like a signal flare for "elevated action" that never got traction, it's a great movie that spawned virtually no…