Jesse_Wroe has written 27 reviews for films rated ★★★ during 2017.

  • Songs From the North

    Songs From the North

    ★★★

    Informative and valuable for archival purposes, but there isn't much form. It's like the documentarians didn't have enough footage to make a satisfying feature. Still useful as an intro to the idea of North Korea as a myth maker for its subjects.

  • Laura

    Laura

    ★★★

    Overall it's well-made and well-acted (mostly), but the central mystery itself isn't that interesting and any love story in which a suspect falls for the cop is just disappointing and sad.

  • The Other Hell

    The Other Hell

    ★★★

    Surprisingly slow at times. Much of the material seems to do nothing more than pad the running time. The film is nearly 90-minutes, I think tighter editing would improve it.

    Slowness is often intentional and fruitful, particularly when it's creepy and suspenseful, or when it reflects the convent lifestyle. But much of it meanders, which can induce sleep depending on the viewer's wakefulness (both viewings of this film happened very late at night and I couldn't avoid a doze or…

  • Bride of Re-Animator

    Bride of Re-Animator

    ★★★

    Definitely has the sequel syndrome: rehashed, uninspired, flat humor, and less heart (except the one on the operating table). But, as a rehash it does produce more of the things that made "Re-Animator" so great.

    Brian Yuzna's direction is apparent, there's visual continuity from "Society" to this and even "Return of the Living Dead 3." It's not as assured nor classic like Stuart Gordon's style, but you get the stark angles and mild wavering that contributes to the zaniness. Screaming…

  • Everything Visible Is Empty

    Everything Visible Is Empty

    ★★★

    Japanese alphabet characters intermix with Hindu imagery.

  • Expansion

    Expansion

    ★★★

    This is "Ecstasis" with more images, rock music with a slide guitar solo influence by Indian instrumentation, and color processing experimentation. This is probably exemplary of what is meant by "psychedelic," but with the notable video aesthetic. Good for getting high to (I mean this sincerely, no mockery whatsoever) and as a screened backdrop for dancing.

  • Ecstasis

    Ecstasis

    ★★★

    A scene from "Funeral Parade of Roses" in extended form, suitable for the short film format. It becomes repetitive, as is often the point of this stuff, but the relationship of the images and the unnerving, monotonous music has a disturbing affect. I do think this piece works best in the context of the aformentioned feature film.

  • Death Laid an Egg

    Death Laid an Egg

    ★★★

    A bit all over the place, not entirely cohesive, yet this form and disconnectedness has a neat narrative effect. I really like the music too: atonal, formless, and whacky, like you just picked up a nylon-string and and a 4-track to record noodling nonsense—and Jean-Louis Trintignant was walking around you, confused and paranoid.

    The economic themes are interesting too. Labor, firm efficiency, bioethics, hatching eggs, hatching a murder plan....

    Fyi, Cult Epics's blu-ray for this movie is one of the…

  • 42nd Street Memories: The Rise and Fall of America's Most Notorious Street

    42nd Street Memories: The Rise and Fall of America's Most Notorious Street

    ★★★

    Good as an introduction to the subject, but anybody already familiar with the general narrative about this point in movie history would be better off with a detailed monograph.

  • Rabid Dogs

    Rabid Dogs

    ★★★

    "Kidnapped" cut

  • White Ant

    White Ant

    ★★★

    For the first half of "White Ant," we see the intersection of private justice and mental illness. One person's incessant righteousness drives a disturbed individual over the edge, a kind of punishment that didn't fit the initial crime. It shows how citizens can use social media tools to bring necessary attention to theft, then lead to a campaign of unwarranted shaming. The consequences aren't foreseen, accidents unimaginable. The cascading effects of our causes can bring more darkness than the light…

  • The Nest of the Cuckoo Birds

    The Nest of the Cuckoo Birds

    ★★★

    This seems like the ultimate Something Weird movie: low budget, mostly poorly done, with scenes ranging from the stylish and exciting to the bizarre to bad then dull. It's lo-fi mania, a Southern nightmare like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, just much less terrifying and oddly charming.

    What stood out the most was the masked yet nude blonde killer and her knifed kills. Lots of cuts and fast editing of bodies standing as if still in each shot yet wavering in space-time,…