RSS feed for John Irwin
  • Atlantics



    Spellbinding. Fatima Al Qadiri's fluid electronic score, matched with the textured cinematography of Claire Mathon, put me in a trance - Atlantics has a uniquely vivid sense of sweat and skin, the air of Dakar, heavy with dust and heat, and the shimmering ripples of the Atlantic.

    It's a perhaps-irritating rite of passage to compare new filmmakers with possible influences, but I'm doing it anyways. Atlantics has the sensuality, the alternate tenderness and harshness, of Claire Denis. Like the work…

  • The Cameraman's Revenge

    The Cameraman's Revenge


    Rated R for adultery, exotic dancing, voyeurism, attempted murder, and revenge porn, all involving dead insect puppets in 1912 imperial Russia

    The fact this was made at all, let alone remains so funny and bizarre 100+ years later, gives me hope for humanity. Thank you, Wladyslaw Starewicz, you deranged, beautiful man.

  • The King of Comedy

    The King of Comedy


    The most horrific, cringe-inducing film of all time, for several reasons -

    A) Men who always wear a full suit-and-tie, no matter the place or occasion, make me uncomfortable and are not to be trusted,

    B) The type of people I find most exhausting are those who constantly crack jokes and wait with hawkish attentiveness for appropriately vigorous laughter, their sense of self-worth desperately hanging in the balance,

    C) Rupert Pupkin’s flailing, bitter, vengeful routine is honestly how I always feel watching stand-up,

    D) Sandra Bernhard’s rendition of “Come Rain or Come Shine,”

    - but it’s also completely and savagely brilliant.

  • The Irishman

    The Irishman


    "Leave the door open a little."

    Starts as fucked-up Forrest Gump (as others have pointed out), ends as gangster Death of Ivan Ilyich. The tragedy of an unexamined life. de Niro, Pesci, Pacino are all tremendous and the final shot will haunt me forever.

  • All About My Mother

    All About My Mother


    "Women are more tolerant, but that's a good thing."
    "We're assholes. And a bit lesbo."

  • To the Wonder

    To the Wonder


    First, a small note: I wrote this about my Alien review not too long back, but this is actually the longest thing I’ve ever written on here, my perhaps-rambling attempt to write an actual review for a frequently-dismissed movie that means a lot to me. I watched and rewatched To the Wonder many times from 2013 to 2015, when its vision of romantic and religious disappointment, of displacement, struck a cathartic chord during rough years personally, and its ultimate hopefulness…

  • Knight of Cups

    Knight of Cups


    "Now I only teach one thing - just this moment. Pay attention to this moment. Everything is here - perfect, and complete. Just as it is."

  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

    Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown


    Currently on an Almodóvar high, in love with the color red, Antonio Banderas as a hot nerd, María Barranco’s moka pot earrings, the unforgettable faces of Julieta Serrano and Rossy de Palma, and everything to do with Carmen Maura.

    Also, desperately craving some gazpacho.

  • At Land

    At Land


    From its opening, where she’s birthed onto the shore by magical waves, At Land positions Maya Deren as some sort of mischievous sea nymph who can bend the laws of space and time, and honestly I buy it.

  • Parasite



    I’ve never fully been on board with the “Bong Joon-ho is a master” hype (to be fair, I still haven’t seen his previously-most-acclaimed, Memories of Murder), but for this? I get it. Perfectly paced, beautifully shot and designed, a well-matched cast, plenty of funny and/or horrific surprises, richly entertaining the whole way through.

    It was a rare delight watching a subtitled movie in a megaplex theater with a full crowd, all audibly into it. Lots of laughs, gasps, and excited buzzing on the way out.

  • Babylon



    Major. Love the music, the cinematography, the language, the ending (!!!), and especially Brinsley Forde, whose expressive face was made for close-ups. The giant dog with a tiny head stole my heart.

  • The White Reindeer

    The White Reindeer


    Ah, yes, my favorite genre, folk-horror about sad, horny were-beast ladies (see also: Cat People).

    The White Reindeer, from its snowy Lapland vistas to Einar Englund’s classical score to its herds of *adorable* reindeer, is magical. A simple story straight out of Sami folklore told with eerie, enveloping gorgeousness. In a just world Mirjami Kuosmanen would’ve become a huge star. She plays so many shades of her character, the were-reindeer / vampire / witch Pirita (that is the most convoluted…