• Don't Look Up

    Don't Look Up

    ★★★½

    Hey, it’s the most controversial blockbuster of late 2021! Which is understandable since it features a cast of popular stars and satirizes current events. Naturally it upsets a lot of people when it has the gall to insinuate that powerful institutions are more concerned with making money and maintaining power than they are with well being of their constituents, and/or, consumers. Not to mention the films preposterous depiction of the media as a hyper active, unfocused and shallow entertainment machine…

  • Everything Visible Is Empty

    Everything Visible Is Empty

    ★★

    This didn’t do much for me other than give me a headache, but as I reach the end of my Toshio Matsumoto binge I can’t help but admire the willingness to experiment with everything from film processing to structure, electronic sound and gender representation. His work paints a picture of an uncompromising and visionary artist. It’s always fun to get acquainted with a new cinematic voice, no matter how pretentious that sounds.

  • Mona Lisa

    Mona Lisa

    ★★★

    Kind of post-Warholian. In a way this short experiment with the scanimate technology feels like it is trying to appropriate the Mona Lisa as the image is digitized and shifted. Made before photoshop and NFT’s this felt more relevant than intended, probably.

  • Expansion

    Expansion

    ★★

    I am so sick of these flickering images, but that psychedelic rock score was really great. I have a feeling this is made go be watched high.

  • Metastasis

    Metastasis

    ★★½

    Matsumoto was creative enough to experiment with electronic image processing, finding something organic in the way it portrayed everyday objects. And childish enough to make that object a toilet. And this is the most threatening toilet I’ve ever seen.

  • Funeral Parade of Roses

    Funeral Parade of Roses

    ★★★★

    A collage of gender identity with deep Oedipal roots. Funeral parade of the roses feels singular and unique, even today. It is still years ahead of how mainstream Japanese culture tackles queer identity and representation, even today. It is also completely uncompromising in its form, combining experimental techniques of film processing, avant garde editing and non-linear story telling. It becomes clear fairly early on that trying to follow the exact narrative in a linear fashion is futile and pointless. Luckily the…

  • Serial Mom

    Serial Mom

    ★★★½

    Wacky hijinks ensue as Kathleen Turner’s perfect suburban housewife struggles to keep her squeaky clean American dream afloat. It’s Scream meets Desperate housewives before either of those cultural touchstones would emerge, and it’s all presented in glorious John Waters garish camp. The suburban setting is full of bright, pastel colors, everyone is dressed like they’re in a photoshoot and acts like they aren’t getting payed to care. Matthew Lillard is doing his damndest to seem like he is not a…

  • Ecstasis

    Ecstasis

    ★★½

    Eerie, but overly repetitive. A series of faces and expressions, flickering through noise and repeating the same patterns over and over. Frankly it gets tedious fast, although I appreciate the abstract blend of film processing techniques.

  • The Song of Stone

    The Song of Stone

    ★★★

    The stone is alive, as are the still images that make up Matsumoto’s short documentary about the craft of stone-cutting. A series of black and white images edited together and narrated can be pretty engrossing, but even for a short this took a lot of time to get me properly hooked, even if the culture surrounding the stone-cutting occupation is interesting and the image compositions are solid. Not to mention the atmospheric percussive score.

  • Her

    Her

    ★★★★

    This is my third time watching Her and I realized my reaction to it each time has been a different one, corresponding with where I’ve been at different times in my life. On my first watch it was merely a kooky love story. I hadn’t learned to watch films in a way that allowed me to apply them to my own life and experiences, I was either emotionally invested in the story, or not. On my second watch it hit considerably…

  • The Weavers of Nishijin

    The Weavers of Nishijin

    ★★★★

    A tapestry of a district, the depiction if traditional artisanal craftsmanship, interlinked with traditional values, clashing with industrialization. The Nishijin workers are the focus of the documentary, yet they’re barely in it, instead the film focuses on motions, weaves, techniques, hands, feet and imagery along with a fairly unsettling soundtrack. It feels like something Chris Marker could have made, the type of abstract exercise in atmospheric storytelling I associate with his work.

  • The Best Years of Our Lives

    The Best Years of Our Lives

    ★★★★

    While a story depicting the hardships of readjustment faced by returning soldiers might seem a little trite now the fact that this was made in 1946 felt sort of mind boggling to me, I constantly had to remind myself that this was made right as the war ended and American was faced with an influx of returning soldiers. This film is the kind of honest depiction of social issues that feels a little surprising, even today. This is probably William…