A designer of many things, a teacher of many students, and a snob of all things film.
Wim Wenders’ heyday coincided with my maturation as an amateur student of cinema. He was the first foreign auteur who was mine and not introduced to me by my father. I was fortunate also to take an elective course about Wenders’ (and Nicolas Roeg’s) films in 1990 and to view his entire filmography up to that point in a large movie house. Seeing Wings of Desire was the first date with the first real love of my life, while screening…
Immaculately constructed but intellectually shallow, The Zone of Interest begs the question: When does the exploration of the “banality of evil” just become, well, banal?
Initially, Glazer’s “Nazis: They’re Just Like Us!” ironies are plenty unnerving. But after the umpteenth instance, the film starts to flatten into a well-crafted, overly repetitive formal exercise with little depth. The infrared-shot interludes and final sequence break up this monotony, promising something more. But they’re just abstract gestures without much consequence. Glazer means the…
Judging from the pretty lukewarm reviews here on Letterboxd and then contemplating Wong Kar-Wai pivoting away from his swoony romanticism into the realm of kung fu, I was not expecting much from The Grandmaster. But aside from some annoying expository text reminding us that this is history (of a sort), not fiction, and then a meandering, run-on coda (hence the four, not, perhaps, five-star rating), I really liked this.
On paper, a mash-up of In the Mood for Love and…
Maybe the best film of the year. (So far, anyway.)
Director Hirokazu Koreeda’s real accomplishment here is his alchemic mix of the sentimental and the steely. Shoplifters never shies away from depicting the precariousness of living on the fringes of society. This is a Tokyo we rarely see in film and shoplifting is only one of many questionable survival tactics used by the characters here.
But the film is also a wonderfully shaded portrait of a family that both affirms…
How many New Yorkers who saw Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing when it was first released in 1989 suddenly felt alien in their own city? I’d guess a lot of them. (Hell, I was stunned and disoriented after seeing it in Pittsburgh.) The Last Black Man in San Francisco is not as fiery and confrontational as Lee’s masterpiece, but it’s no less effective in re-framing a city I have lived in for 25+ years.
The obvious signposts of gentrification…