• Mad God

    Mad God

    Well, that was something I saw. And I suppose it's hard to deny that it's an "achievement" of some sort, in the same way that John Doe's notebooks in SE7EN were an "achievement."

    Anyhow, God willing, I will never have to think about it again.

  • The Inspection

    The Inspection

    The Inspection is an autobiographical debut feature that shows Bratton's onscreen avatar, Eliis French (Jeremy Pope) hitting rock-bottom as a result of having been turned out of his home by his Christian bigot mother (Gabrielle Union) at the age of 16 because he's gay. With no options left, French decides to join the Marine Corps where, if the film's odd fantasy sequence is to be understood and believed, he pops a boner in the shower, revealing his sexuality to the…

  • A Couple

    A Couple

    Only Wiseman's second excursion into fiction filmmaking*, A Couple displays a fairly radical idea of what fiction actually is. His first non-documentary, 2002's The Last Letter, was also a compact, intensive examination of a single female performer, Catherine Samie. But that production was essentially stagebound, a kind of documentary (or at least a document) of a theatrical performance Wiseman directed for the Comédie Française. By contrast, A Couple involves a scouted location which is meant to signify something other than…

  • Through the Olive Trees

    Through the Olive Trees

    It's taken me awhile to get to the final film in Kiarostami's Koker trilogy, and this is one of those instances when I really wish I hadn't waited. It's hard to say how I would have reacted to Through the Olive Trees in 1994, or 2004, or even 2014, although I'm fairly sure I'd have still considered it the weakest, most pro forma film of the three. Where is the Friend's Home? deftly combines fiction and documentary, and And Life…

  • Rewind and Play

    Rewind and Play

    One of the year's best films, Rewind and Play might best be characterized as a forensic documentary. French-Senegalese director Alain Gomis acquired the unseen rushes from an episode of the French TV program "Jazz Portrait," created and hosted by one Henri Renaud, an interviewer whose smug officiousness is matched only by his discomfort in his own skin. I haven't seen any other episodes of "Jazz Portrait," and based on what we see in Rewind and Play I am in no…

  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

    Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

    It wasn't my intention to write about Glass Onion on the day that Sight & Sound released the results of their 2022 critics' poll. This event, which happens once every ten years, is always exciting and controversial and results in a predictable flurry of comment on Film Twitter. But this time, one thing I notice is that the poll results are being treated, at least in part, as a referendum on Film Twitter itself. Before the results were announced, there were…

  • NE Corridor

    NE Corridor

    ★★★½

    Although Joshua is very clear that this film is a direct homage to Luther Price, that can be a bit misleading. This is no cinematic cover-version of Price. While NE Corridor displays formal elements that are unavoidably Price-like (blotchy painting, mutilated found footage, and the intensive layering, collaging, and puncturing of the filmstrip), Solondz does something quite different with them. For one thing, Joshua inserts passages of what looks like original footage -- a zipper opened with a wire, an…

  • EO

    EO

    Plenty has already been written about EO, Jerzy Skolimowski's very strange, often exhilarating new film. And while the director himself has confirmed what most viewers detected immediately -- that EO is a loose adaptation of Bresson's Au hasard, Balthasar -- I actually noticed similarities to another Bresson film. In L'Argent, Bresson follows the movement of a counterfeit 500-franc note as it's passed from person to person. This is, of course, the essential structure of Balthasar as well, but EO made…

  • Blind Date

    Blind Date

    Soldat is a German filmmaker who doesn't have much of a festival profile in North America, which is a shame. While I would make no grand claims for his films, he does shine a light on queer marginality with a gaze that is simultaneously dispassionate and empathetic. His 2020 film Resident Ground Floor was about a gay agoraphobe on disability who spent nearly every waking hour jerking off to porn and pissing on himself. Blind Date, meanwhile, is a kind…

  • Mutzenbacher

    Mutzenbacher

    Having now seen three films by Ruth Beckermann, I'm more confused than anything. Does she have a discernible unified project? Her work seems to have the rigorous conceptual bent one so often finds in Austrian cinema. But Mutzenbacher strikes me as a concept in search of its proper cinematic expression. There's just nothing terribly interesting here. A group of Austrian men responded to a casting call, and they are asked to read portions of the anonymously published 1906 novel Josefine…

  • TÁR

    TÁR

    I haven't seen a film in quite a long time that so bracingly invited me to think about it, one that I almost immediately wanted to read other writers' responses to. There are several reasons for this, some of them topical, of course. (And I agree that this is not a film about so-called cancel culture.) But it also struck me as a film that is willing to tackle serious, intellectual, adult problems, ones that exist at the intersection of…

  • Devil's Peak

    Devil's Peak

    Hong Kong filmmaker Simon Liu has gained greater exposure over the past few years, and rightly so. In an avant-garde film environment that for some time has favored long takes and minimal camera movement, Liu works very differently, combining agitated handheld cinematography with a breakneck editing speed, often incorporating superimpositions and accelerated motion, all of which contributes to a sense of spectatorial overload. However, Liu's editing is remarkably deft, attentive to the internal rhythms and structural contents of his images.…