• Al-lajat

    Al-lajat

    ★★★½

    For those who like the slow, scenic, cryptic, consciously Art film sort of pics - this one's for you. Me, I appreciate such things when in the mood for them, though as I age I find I have less patience. And let's face it: it is rather annoying to never be quite sure what's going on.

  • The French Dispatch

    The French Dispatch

    ★★½

    Mr. Anderson is extraordinarily pleased with how clever he is. I remain less convinced. All this frantic yet mechanical show quickly gets tiresome. The director is merely the sum of his mannerisms now and feels he must sprint to the end - and what, in the end, does the film amount to? He attempts to dazzle to hide the poverty of substance; the film has all the depth of a typical "action" pic. I miss the strain of melancholy that…

  • Minamata

    Minamata

    ★★★★

    They finally decided to release it. Good:

    www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/12/10/mina-d10.html

  • Sundown

    Sundown

    ★★½

    Trying to squeeze some weary last drops from the ole '60s Euro Art Film cow.

  • What Is a Woman?

    What Is a Woman?

    Crikey, what a world we live in, kids! This bunch "identify" as Left and think those who "identify" as Right are insane, and that bunch "identify" as Right and think those who "identify" as Left are insane. I say you're both bonkers, primarily because you both spend the greater portion of your waking hours in that cesspool of lunacy and poisonous stupidity called the internet. Turn off your little phones and laptops now and then. Stop watching TV ("That other…

  • Eyes, the Sea and a Ball

    Eyes, the Sea and a Ball

    ★★★½

    The "Rocky" of Japanese children's amateur volleyball movies. A friendly sort of flick like only the Japanese can do (just as they have their own peculiar brand of porno-sadism), a nice one for a lazy afternoon.

  • The Miraculous Life of Teresa of Lisieux

    The Miraculous Life of Teresa of Lisieux

    ★★★

    Not the first director I would choose for a work of this nature, Duvivier. That said, the script isn't much help, and it's a hopeless task to explain sainthood cinematographically. In its favor: the lead actress is clearly dedicated, and the scenes of convent initiation, while some might object to their length - they take up most of the middle part of the film - have a documentary interest.

  • The Power of the Dog

    The Power of the Dog

    ★½

    Campion is one of those directors who are skilled at creating a certain atmosphere (Lynch, Tarantino, Ferrara, and Tier are others who spring to mind), but whose films are all more or less silly. This dog is rather more than less. Though set in a La-La Land called "Montana, 1925" the movie is calculated to impress those who subscribe to fashionable 21st century sentiments. The lady is driven to insanity by "toxic masculinity"; the toxic male himself has a deep dark secret (no prize for guessing what it is); and one of the main characters is a petulant "millennial."

  • The Last Word

    The Last Word

    ★★★

    Were I feeling kind I would classify this as an interesting failure. But nothing really works here. This is one of those "impressionistic" things that might captivate some because it has a certain atmosphere, but which only shows me that the filmmakers have failed to adequately think things through.

    It's all very vague. During fascist days in Bulgaria (I only know this because I read a write-up, for if Nazis or years are mentioned in the film I missed it)…

  • Her Right

    Her Right

    ★★★

    Impossible for me to rate any of these Soviet propaganda flicks highly. Here the Uzbek women are encouraged to throw off their barbarous superstitions for the great freedom to... build wheelbarrows in a factory. Yet this one's fairly likeable as far as these things go, it's good-looking, and has the sense to wrap up the whole business in a tolerable 51 mins.

  • The Playboy of the Western World

    The Playboy of the Western World

    ★★½

    Would be a good Exhibit A in Bresson's case against filming plays, especially with actors from the theater. Good play, but it doesn't work as a film at all.

  • Mansfield Park

    Mansfield Park

    ★★

    Pity the feminist scholars: must have a hard time making their case for nearly every woman novelist prior to the 20th century, and with some ("Mrs. Humphrey Ward," president of the Women's National Anti-Suffrage League, say, or "Ouida," author of a cranky essay that asks "What is there to be said in favour of female suffrage?" and concludes that not much at all is to be said in favor of it) they don't even bother to try. How uneasy they…