• Heaven

    Heaven

    ★★★½

    Surprising how little seen this seems to be, the first film/only documentary directed by Diane Keaton. She interviews people in a whole array of demographics on their views of the afterlife, filmed against sets that split the difference between German expressionism, a Prince music video, and The Day the Earth Stood Still, while accompanied by some truly demented ephemeral archive.

    This is clearly not a film attempting to understand the motivation behind any single participant's beliefs. Keaton is mostly content…

  • Sabrina

    Sabrina

    ★★½

    Pretty inessential stuff. I get that Wilder was shaking off some of his cynicism around this time, but it barely lets loose its doe-eyed romanticism - even as it briefly flirts with the grim specter of a lower-class girl cast as an upper-class plaything. I like the chemistry of Bogart/Hepburn, but William Holden barely registers here, nor do the half-assed (glass-assed?) attempts at physical comedy.

    Could have been a completely different (and better) film had Bogart's fatalistic company-first ethos reached…

  • Dual

    Dual

    ★★½

    I like a lot of Yorgos Lanthimos' stuff, but I fear I'm not going to have much patience for his disciples. Especially when they model their aesthetic on the formula of The Lobster, which realized you could better sell a completely absurd premise if you fed the dialogue through what sounded like aliens in po-faced human bodies. Critics insisted that it had something profound to say about our current dating climate, even though a premise where everyone is forced to…

  • RRR

    RRR

    ★★★★

    That this film features one of its heroes in prison doing pushups while reciting the Bhagavad Gita should probably tell you everything you need to know.

    I love that the shift from "give every Indian a gun" to "give every Indian a song" isn't some plea for non-violence, but just a strategy to more effectively kill colonizers.

  • The Devil's Advocate

    The Devil's Advocate

    ★★½

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

    Is immediately suspicious of coastal cosmopolitanism in a way that can only be described as "proto-Pizzagate." Sure, Craig T. Nelson's scummy real estate tycoon occupies Donald Trump's actual penthouse in an era before he became one of the good guys, but in the modern reboot, the apartment will be home base for evangelical Mama Lomax to overturn the results of the 2020 election while eliminating Democrat-led pedophilia rings, screaming "Behold I send you out as sheep amidst the wolves!"

    This…

  • Lux Æterna

    Lux Æterna

    I don't think Dreyer would approve, honestly

  • L'Argent

    L'Argent

    ★★★★½

    90 minutes of just people passing things to each other, and it will make you feel complete despair for the human condition

  • All About My Mother

    All About My Mother

    ★★★★★

    You don't choose your family but, in a sense, you don't choose your adopted family either, which feels like a pretty good metaphor for acting or transitioning, as well as a description of the unique brand of motherhood on display here.

    All Almodovar movies are a reductio ad absurdum of Murphy's Law (can you imagine him making a movie where a nurse who facilitates organ transplants *doesn't* have to sign off her own family member's heart?), but his best movies fold in on themselves like an ornate piece of origami.

  • Riotsville, USA

    Riotsville, USA

    ★★★★½

    As a filmmaker/researcher who primarily works with archive, I feel like I can confidently say this very emphatically sets a new bar, if not a whole new paradigm, for the genre. Which sadly may be lost - good luck getting the rushes/outtakes once the corporate consolidation of commercial archives is complete.

    Pettengill uses these to brilliant effect - patiently letting out more and more rope for speakers to hang themselves with. A series of takes on a military propaganda film…

  • Sanjuro

    Sanjuro

    ★★★★½

    Sometimes I think Kurosawa's romps are just as magnificent as his Shakespearean tragedies. A taut 90 minutes of significantly more 3-dimensional chess than conventional action.

    Mifune is like a cat - lurking in the corner, always having just woken up from a nap, talking shit about everyone. Sticks around, mostly to gain the satisfaction of his own superiority. Only the chamberlain's wife can bring out a sliver of humanity, if not shame: "You're a sword without a sheath"

    In contrast,…

  • One Road to Quartzsite

    One Road to Quartzsite

    Can't decide how much of the Harmony Korine flavour to this delightful little slice of life doc is from the filmmaker, or those grimy kids, but was still happy to see this take home the top prize at Big Sky - over a lot of other docs that will get far wider distribution.

    And because I'm a completist, here's all the shorts I watched, most of which aren't on Letterboxd. Asterisks beside those which I particularly recommend:

    The American Frontier…

  • Audible

    Audible

    ★★½

    1/5 2022 Oscar nominated Documentary Shorts.

    Like nearly everything that's been nominated in this category this year, immaculately produced and labored over, and just gracing the edge of a distinct documentary language without ever getting there.

    This one could have been the best of the bunch, but it's hard to overstate how much better this would have been if they'd just stuck to the powerful verite moments on and off the field. Or, barring that, keeping interviews to the hearing-impaired…