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  • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

    Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I wound up having to watch this in two chunks, and to be honest, after the first half I was really not hurrying to finish it. There was this overwhelming sense of seen-it-before, which, of course, I have (among other things, All That Heaven Allows/Far From Heaven), and the deliberate stodginess of Fassbinder's overt formalism wasn't making it any more appealing. But the second half bloomed unexpectedly, if briefly, into a fascinating glimpse at the anxious lives of the auslanders,…

  • The Naked City

    The Naked City

    In which New York plays itself. I'm not sure exactly how revolutionary this film was, or how many firsts it can claim to have reached, but its impact is easily visible. All throughout, I found myself thinking of other films, of films that came before, that came after, or ran parallel. It shares Bicycle Thief's fascination with the gritty what-is of then-modern life, it shares Sweet Smell of Success's obsession with the glittering, dazzling, pumping, never-sleeping fury of New York…

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  • Weekend

    Weekend

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    First pleasurably satirical, then oddly disquieting. It's fun to laugh in the first hour, when the satire is at arms-length, and even feels familiar. People rage at each other in the street, go casually into violent fits, as if this were the norm, caustically jab at each other - in one scene, the main characters, destitute on the side of the road, beg passing cars for lifts, but answer their political question incorrectly ("Drive on, Harold, she's a fascist!"). In…

  • Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers

    Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Wow, what a movie! First off, I fucking love garlic. My whole family loves garlic. It's not a true story, but I like to tell people that when my grandfather came from Italy as a kid, his mother brought with them only a satchel of oranges and a rope of garlic. It really is the magic spice, savory in a way that's almost magical, and I followed Blank's instructions to roast garlic while watching the movie, which was almost unbearable.…