• Spring Melodies

    Spring Melodies


    A six-minute Soviet version of Fantasia. It's not that far from the Disney style, but the ways it *does* differ are interesting.

  • Inheritance



    Low-key character-study thing -- middle-aged restaurant woman and a sadsack twentysomething German tourist. Probably going for a Truffaut vibe, or did the actor just pour a gallon of Jean Pierre Leaud all over himnself? It's... nice. Argentine middle-class/middlebrow, upholds all the obvious values...

    PS: The movie would be better suited by translating 'Herencia' as 'heritage.'

  • Inspiration


    Oh, this was absolutely painful. Whitexican rom-com overflowing with bad gender politics to make it ten times worse. That guy with the dazzled-doofus smile is just the biggest shitheel ever, and every time the lingerie model gets fed up with his bullshit, he comes crawling back to do some corny movie stunt, like flowers or hiring a mariachi, and whimpers "but... but... I looooooooooooooooooove you!" None of it works, until the end, when he buys her a stuffed animal and she suddenly realizes she's loved him all along.

  • The Solitude of Prime Numbers

    The Solitude of Prime Numbers


    Somehow, it's both lurid AND obscurantist. Two people, both of them walking receptacles of childhood trauma, meet in their early teens and finally partner-up together 15 or 20 years later, the end. After all the misery on display from both of them, fading out on their first kiss as if that were the solution to all their narrative agonies seems a little inadequate.

    The long "leg-injury-woman-who-can't-walk-so-good" getting ready for a date montage set to 'Bette Davis Eyes' was... well, not appalling, but it was the nuttiest 'cinema du look' sequence I've ever seen.

  • Terror Island

    Terror Island


    Action-packed beyond anything I expected; I would have bet money it was a feature-length re-edit of a serial, but it's not, just constructed that way, from thrill to thrill. (Scare-quotes optional.) The underwater scenes are pretty striking for 1920.

    I don't know why LB writers all bag on this one; it isn't bad. I guess they're all just anti-racist anti-colonialist purists.

  • Why Mrs. Jones Got a Divorce

    Why Mrs. Jones Got a Divorce


    Look, ma, a gag!

  • Black Friday

    Black Friday


    I don't trust this docudrama about religion/race riots in then-Bombay any more than I would trust a comparable movie from USA about 9/11, so I'm left with nothing. It's not even very striking action-cinema.

  • Mercenarios de la Muerte

    Mercenarios de la Muerte

    Crazy inept; if there was any exposition to set up why there was a fulltime Buddhist temple in this dusty back-country Mexican town, or what sort of relations the insular Chinese folk had with the other citizens, I missed it, and I spent 65 minbutes of a 75 minute movie trying to figure out why pre-modern China looked so much like the settings of any ranchera/western only some of the characters ate with chopsticks and some had ridiculous dangly bits…

  • Qué noche aquella

    Qué noche aquella


    "Continental"oid romcom, a tad offbeat for the Mexican industry in 1960. Could be a story from Boccaccio except for the pat and perfect ending that against all odds (don't ask, it's the magic of cinema) puts the brother and sister both with the hottest and most desirable partner they were in a position to choose from, in spite of mama's conniving insistance that they both marry money. Tone's a bit smirky, like "let's be a litle naughty here, we're all…

  • Psycho Gothic Lolita

    Psycho Gothic Lolita


    She's gothic alright. And I guess a Lolita, but she only "goes psycho" maybe in the final scene; before that she's just a disciplined, hardcore martial artist on a revenge kick in a ridiculous, over-the-top blood bath that looks just perfect for manga. Misaki Momose steals the show as the most cartoonish of bimbos, keeps interrupting her death scene to take calls from her boyfriend on the Hello Kitty phone implanted in the grip of her gun.

  • Christopher Columbus

    Christopher Columbus


    Director Arnaud has a good eye for landscape, but his pictorial sense is much in the shadow of things that Leonce Perret would do just a year or so later. His pacing is... archaic, with "excuse me, how do I get to the Palace?" to a passerby in the street taking up over a minute in a thirteen-minute film, and the pantomimy gesticulation of the performers is no longer a thing that many people want to see.

  • PTU



    What I said before: "ACAB. Johnnie To's command of his constantly-shifting tonal registers is miraculous."

    What I'm thinking today: I didn't realize (or didn't remember) how much of this plays as comedy. Lam Suet's performance here makes him an icon.