Favorite films

  • The Ascent
  • Cléo from 5 to 7
  • Sound of the Mountain
  • Gertrud

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  • American Girl

    ★★★½

  • Crumb

    ★★★★

  • Visions in Meditation

    ★★★½

  • A Bread Factory Part One: For the Sake of Gold

    ★★★★

Recent reviews

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  • American Girl

    American Girl

    ★★★½

    It would be a shame if this film gets lost in Netflix's algorithms, because it doesn't really fit in with a lot of their original programming. It's a bittersweet, carefully paced coming of age story about a girl whose mother Lili (Karena Lam) relocates her and her younger sister back to Taiwan from the States, in order to be able to afford the healthcare she critically needs (this detail is not dwelt upon, but is in itself a fairly robust…

  • Crumb

    Crumb

    ★★★★

    Robert Crumb is undoubtedly a messy human, but that just makes him a more fascinating documentary subject, and it's something that his old friend Terry Zwigoff just knows by this point. Zwigoff's film of a decade earlier following an obscure blues man Louie Bluie, was just a warm up for this in-depth portrait which he seems to have been making for much of the decade between the two films. And in telling Crumb's story -- which necessarily involves getting into…

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  • Urban Rashomon

    Urban Rashomon

    ★★★½

    It seems to me that a lot of photographer/director Khalik Allah's work is about the ethics of documenting poverty. In this short piece we see him capturing images of a street person called Frenchie, while the director reflects in voiceover about his borderline exploitative relationship with his subject. It's a film of beautiful images but also is very upfront about the ways in which representation is manipulation and exploitation, which is refreshing.

  • Vice

    Vice

    ★½

    In some ways, when I watch something like Vice (or indeed, writer/director Adam McKay's last film The Big Short), I think of David O. Russell's American Hustle or even the flashier Martin Scorsese of, say, Wolf of Wall Street, both of which films I broadly liked (although I'm cooling on the Russell over time). I think there's a lot of common ground, as comedic renderings of modern society in all its gaudiness and compromised politics, and perhaps there's a fine…