• Citizen Ruth

    Citizen Ruth


    You could view Citizen Ruth through the tiresome centrist lens of "both sides do it," but I prefer to see it as a darkly satirical examination of how ordinary people exercise power. Ruth Stoops is lost and chaotic, and everyone who finds her also wants to order her, to discipline her into something more stable and assimilable. No matter whether their preferred order is a religious-right cult, a New Agey lesbian activist collective, or the iron hand of the state,…

  • Night of the Demons

    Night of the Demons


    Note: this film contains multiple scenes of flashing strobe lights.

    I set out to find something goth to watch, and Night of the Demon certainly delivered, from the Halloweeny animated opening credits, to the propulsive industrial synth score, to the infamous scene where a girl dressed like Siouxsie Sioux dances rapturously to Bauhaus's "Stigmata Martyr." In terms of genre, the movie blends the haunted-house setting (though our doomy hostess would remind us that it's actually a possessed house) with the…

  • Super Mario Bros.

    Super Mario Bros.


    Baby's First Cyberpunk Dystopia

  • I Love Melvin

    I Love Melvin


    Presumably trying to capitalize on the immense success of Singin' in the Rain a year earlier, I Love Melvin brings Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor back minus Gene Kelly (although plus three men in identical plastic Gene Kelly masks). What these two are able to do with their bodies never ceases to amaze me, from O'Connor's tap-dancing on rollerskates to Reynold's acrobatic leaps as — yes, it's that movie — the football in a sports-themed number. Lyricist Mack Gordon is…

  • Bunny Lake Is Missing

    Bunny Lake Is Missing


    From Night of the Hunter to Eye of the Needle, you've got to love a thriller where the protagonist knows the villain but doesn't know that they're the villain. Typically the plots of these movies break down into three sections, delineated by who knows what when. In the first, the protagonist is still in the dark. In the second, the protagonist has figured out who the villain is, but they have to pretend that they're none the wiser for their…

  • Foxfur


    I like the synth score, the identity blurring, and the DIY approach, but when are white male filmmakers going to learn that fat jokes and racial stereotypes aren't edgy, challenging or original?

  • Bill & Ted Face the Music

    Bill & Ted Face the Music


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

    OK, that was charming, but I have to ask: what's the point of bringing together musicians from all these different cultures and time periods to create the song that saves reality, if they're all going to be subsumed into a single style from the time and place where it's going to be performed? It's ... kind of weirdly imperialist? If I were writing the final song, I would want it to contain recognizable stylistic influences from Hendrix and Armstrong and…

  • Personal Shopper

    Personal Shopper


    We need more movies about cis women experiencing autogynephilia

  • Impetigore



    I guess "journey to a small secluded village where Things Are Not What They Seem" is a pretty universal concept, huh? Impetigore follows a pretty well-trod path through the spooky woods, enough so that very little of it actually scared me, but it does so with some beautiful colors and a fair amount of panache, especially in the extended flashback sequence toward the end. Like The Wicker Man, it's not immediately obvious whether the takeaway is supposed to be "oh…

  • Bixa Travesty

    Bixa Travesty


    2021 Queer Film Challenge #6: a documentary about or featuring a queer musician.

    (cw: reclaimed homophobic and transphobic slurs)

    Quite a contrast to the other Brazilian artist documentary I watched for this challenge! Where Laerte-se was formally conventional, Bixa Travesty is experimental, cutting frequently between multiple performances of the same song in different venues, as well as slice-of-life moments, improvisatory songwriting sessions and a mock(?) radio show. And maybe more importantly, where Laerte-se use the cis gaze to subtly undermine…

  • Disembodied



    This was exactly what I wanted tonight. Omnipresent filth and grime, dripping meatscapes, claymation monstrosities, Tanguy dreamlands, psychedelic nebulae, nonsensical parodies of 1950s educational films. Writer-director William Kersten shares many of Cronenberg's bodily fixations, but without his philosophical ones, which means that everything here is a horrible mouth-vagina and there's no particular reason for it. That's okay, though, because Disembodied is a movie that operates on vibes, not on discourse. In fact, long stretches have no dialogue at all, just…

  • Arrival



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

    I've read the political critiques, I know strong Sapir-Whorf has been discredited, but I don't care; Arrival hit me right in my me. I've had so many dreams in which I suddenly realize something about the nature of my life that I should have known all along. The question "who is this child?" — and Amy Adams's wide-eyed delivery of it, there in the gray void — will haunt me for some time.