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  • Raphael or the Debauched One

    Raphael or the Debauched One

    ★★★★½

    Michel Deville rode no new waves, belongs to no school that I recognize, and nothing that I watched this year defeated my powers of categorization quite like Raphaël ou le débauché. Superficially a costume drama in the cinema du papa tradition, but possessed of a truly wild spirit, it shares a certain strain of luxuriant morbidity with Diagonale, though it’s arguably less cinephilic—allowing for a few echoes of Otto Preminger’s similarly lamplit Linda Darnell vehicle, Forever Amber—and therefore less reflexive…

  • The City Below

    The City Below

    ★★★★

    Berlin School does Mabuse. Apart from Blackhat, the only film of the century to bottle up our era’s borderless, miasmic psychosis in the same way that Fritz Lang did for his. Hochhäusler, like many of his contemporaries, is fascinated by the glass and steel mise-en-scene that finance capital uses to project its power, though he alone ventures to anthropomorphize the anonymous business towers that dominate the globe’s alpha cities. An image like the good Doktor’s head superimposed over a Weimar…

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  • Creepy

    Creepy

    ★★★★

    Kiyoshi Kurosawa's The Burbs

  • SPL 2: A Time for Consequences

    SPL 2: A Time for Consequences

    ★★★★½

    Almost as if Soi Cheang heard the concept of "heroic bloodshed" and thought someone meant it literally (the first heroic blood drive movie?)

    The fights here are aces: brutal, fast, and expressionistic, but with total clarity of movement and space. Cheang just shoots the hell out of this thing. It's easy to see what he picked up from To and company--the cavernous use of widescreen, the breathless plotting, making Louis Koo look terrible--but it's also very much a confirmation of…