• Everything Everywhere All at Once

    Everything Everywhere All at Once

    ★★★½

    Would have really liked to like this more! Although it is very entertaining, funny, earnest and engaging, it also feels kind of plodding and too cleanly tied-up, all things considered - the best way I can put it is that it's not chaotic, just frantic, dense and altogether rather conventional (whereas chaotic would've been my personal preference). I like the central thread against the easy nihilism of 'Truth is, nothing matters' pushed toward 'Truth is responsibility', but this seems to…

  • First Man

    First Man

    ★★★★

    Told you dads would love it (watched it with not one but two dads!): the procedural engineering stuff and the sweat-inducing creaky-metal-bin space exploration sequences will keep them hooked.

    Another note, on what seemed to me, on first viewing, to be somewhat detached narrative throughlines: on the one hand the family-life, fatherhood, emotional arc of Neil's losing his daughter and not really dealing with it; and the space engineering, testing and progressing on the other. What seemed to me first…

  • Memoria

    Memoria

    ★★★★½

    A hypnotic work of utterly moving cognitive and embodied ostranenie, defamiliarization, in the Formalist sense: making the familiar deeply strange - walking out of the theatre into a world transformed, perceiving it afresh, attuned to its subtle frequencies in thoroughly re-sensitized ways. A film vibrating with the hum of the cosmos, urging you to listen. Which is all to say that it’s extraordinary, and profoundly entrancing, even if I initially had some trouble getting out of my own over-stressed head and into its rhythms (which, to be clear, is my problem, not the film's).

  • First Man

    First Man

    ★★★★

    Had overlooked this when it first came out but that's my loss, really, because this was much more impressive than I'd have expected it to be, and I found it breathlessly captivating more than once. The phenomenology of being hurled into space in a rinky-dink metal bin that creaks and shrieks at every movement is made terrifyingly haptic, and terrifically executed in its tangible materiality and physicality -- lots of close-ups and pov shots that were used so much even…

  • Event Horizon

    Event Horizon

    ★★★★

    Of course, it's Alien structurally and aesthetically (including production design, sound design, cinematography), but much, much schlockier and sleazier - I fucking love it. It's absolutely shameless in what "borrows" from other movies but fuck, is it loud, greasy, bloodied fun; I had a blast right from the moment where the camera pans away from the Paramount logo to turn to the stars and bombast you with music and the chintziest, most 90s-looking fucking title credits you'll ever see. Heck yeah, liberate tute me too dude

  • In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place

    ★★★★

    "A good love scene should be about something else besides love. For instance, this one. Me fixing grapefruit, you sitting over there dopey, half asleep. Anyone looking at us could tell we were in love."

    Paranoid and violent, and oftentimes transcendent, especially when the focalization (or at least our sympathies) shift. It manages to very expertly maintain the tension around Bogart's character for almost the entire runtime (I don't mean necessarily uncertainty about his culpability in Atkinson's murder, more around him as a person more generally), but he turns downright terrifying in certain moments such as that quoted above - incredible performances, both him and Grahame.

  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

    ★★★★

    Fascinating - if a little too uncritical - portrait of nationhood, Empire and imperialist knowledge-making, and a constant joy to watch. Deeply impressive big-budget filmmaking, where you can actually see the budget on screen.

  • Avengement

    Avengement

    ★★★★

    a lean, mean, excellently violent exploitation flick with front-to-back crassness and gruesome choreography - fuck yeah

  • Kimi

    Kimi

    ★★★½

    Part Rear Window(s) (would've been funnier is protagonist Angela hadn't constantly used Apple devices), part Blow-up/Blow Out, and part -- uuh, idk, Parallax View or some other corporate conspiracy/espionage thriller in a more contemporary execution. But completely lovely and engaging anyhow, a lean, mean thriller that's formally very recognizably Soderbergian. The writing is maybe less so; I kinda expected Matt Damon to show up and cold-bloodedly murder Angela in the interests of Capital - the wrap-up feels a tad too…

  • Throw Down

    Throw Down

    ★★★★½

    Top-tier To - and that’s saying something. In a filmography filled with gems, this manages to stand out as being, quite simply, one of the best-directed films I’ve ever seen. The relentless creativity and playfulness of display in framing a shot, moving the camera, lighting and staging a scene - holy fuck. Just a treat to watch, and a very welcome reminder of what film is capable of; unstoppably expressive, colorful and meaningful in every pore of its being.

  • Near Dark

    Near Dark

    ★★★½

    You could kill me if you drink too much.

    So Mae exclaims, somewhat shaken, as newly turned vampire Caleb insatiably feasts on Mae’s arteries. Dramatically, I found a lot of this movie kind of inert, and Mae and Caleb were mostly sorta blank-slate characters, but the backdrop to this scene is fascinating: the outskirts of an oil-field, with a pump jack tirelessly nodding, as Mae struggles to release herself from Caleb’s grip.

    In his recent Anthropocene Unconscious, Mark Bould argues…

  • The Worst Person in the World

    The Worst Person in the World

    ★★★★

    the writing and performances are enchanting, and the ~vibes~ are impeccable; moments like when julie's walking around oslo and the overhead sky takes over focus are thrillingly resonant, an open-ended romantic feeling of melancholy, just vibrant and wonderful. don't wanna overanalyze all the emotional currents though - better to just feel them, as julie says.