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  • Desperate Living

    Desperate Living

    ★★★★

    Watched with six people, almost all of them trans, all of them queer, on a too-small screen in an LGBT center. The only way to do it, really.

  • Skipped Parts

    Skipped Parts

    Deeply uncomfortable in parts, this film veers toward Happiness territory at times, while also trying to stay light-hearted and warm. It's subtly dissonant, and that seems to be on purpose. The racial commentary is poorly handled (good grief, the way they talk about native people...), but the fact that it calls out the racism of other parts of the United States outside of the South with directness is appreciated. The class narrative is also on the right side of things,…

  • The World Unseen

    The World Unseen

    The acknowledgment of the impact of apartheid on is... too fleeting. Too sympathetic to the oppressor class. But the love story was all right.

  • But I'm a Cheerleader

    But I'm a Cheerleader

    ★★★★½

    I always forget how brutal the parents are, especially Graham's. This film tackles conversion therapy with humor, but it doesn't pretend it's fun, cute, or innocuous. It is a satire of how queer and straight people are seen by straight people, skewering stereotypes by leaning into them and dragging the straight patriarchal obsession with queer sex lives to an extreme (and not entirely fictional) conclusion. It mocks with a distorted view of reality, taking its bright colors and silly jokes not to sugar coat the reality but to emphasize the cruel absurdity of it. And holy fuck, is it funny.

  • Saving Face

    Saving Face

    This is cute.

    There are some who seem to think that's not enough, that that isn't a quality that should be critically heralded. Some people think that "cute" is a modifier that suggests "good but not great" or some other back-handed compliment. What it comes off as code for, though, is "this is for girls, so it can't be great cinema." What it comes off as is code for "light-heartedness isn't valued by me, the great cinephile." What it comes…

  • Sensuela

    Sensuela

    A fairly misogynist softcore piece with some themes regarding Sami people that I am not entirely sure what to make of, this film is... I don't even know. It doesn't really comment on the fact that Hans is a Nazi, but it also shows him get mutilated and depicts him as an asshole. It is anti-sex worker in a condescending way, and it features outright pornographic content. But it also doesn't condone the way men treat women in the film,…

  • Steam

    Steam

    This movie is a mess, as one would expect from something distributed by Wolfe. The writing and production values are lower than the story needs to be adequately told, but the actors do their best with it. It's just edited and timed a little too unevenly: Chelsea Handler's comedic turn yelling support for her kid at the first soccer practice, for instance, is a little cheezy but she's trying her best with it. Instead, though, the whole thing feels off…

  • Empire Records

    Empire Records

    ★★★★

    This very quickly became some of my comfort food.

  • Of Girls and Horses

    Of Girls and Horses

    The best thing about horse/farm movies is that you get to look but not smell. This film manages to capture the beauty of the wide open spaces (wide open spaces are one of my favorite things in cinema; I would fail miserably at living on a farm or out in the country, but I certainly love to look at it) and clean living mud and dirt of farms without the nitty gritty details, romanticizing it just enough to make it…

  • St. Ignatius Church Exposure: Lenten Light Conversions

    St. Ignatius Church Exposure: Lenten Light Conversions

    This review covers all of the films included in Latent Light Excavations: "Golden Gate Bridge Exposure: Poised for Parabolas," "Black Belt Test Exposure: Senpai James Finds His Line," "St. Ignatius Church Exposure: Lenten Light Conversions," "Refracted Case Histories," "holes where eyes did once inhabit," "Karate Class Exposure: Three Variations," "Russian Arc: Across Cinematic Tim," "Requiescat," "Lebanon: Salvaged from the Open Sea"

    Most of the films involve exposed film digitally edited into experimental, pulsating, hypnotic parades of shape, color, and distortion.…

  • Jacquot de Nantes

    Jacquot de Nantes

    Simple changes and shifts--B&W to color, for example--illustrate how point-of-view can be controlled through cinema. The film is jumping between perspectives--older Jacques, young Jacquot, Demy's films, and a sort of third person perspective that is, ultimately, Varda--and using subtle and not-so-subtle tricks to do it. Every perspective has a different lens (metaphorically speaking), making it clear who we're seeing the world through the eyes of. That this is done seamlessly is a testament to the filmmakers' craft; that it remains…

  • The Velvet Underground

    The Velvet Underground

    About 20 years ago, I discovered their music. I had heard about them--I remember hearing about Sterling Morrison's death on MTV before I knew who he was--but it took a while for me to hear them. In small town Alabama, even with the Internet, things moved slow. It wasn't until I got to college, I think, that I fell in love with them. Their music for me was a window into an imaginary world of queer fantasy and opulence; their…