• Messages 2

    Messages 2

    ★★★½

    [7]

    A bit like a Hollis Frampton film if it were made by David "The Weatherman" Wills. I dig it.

  • Taming the Garden

    Taming the Garden

    ★★★½

    [7]

    ...featuring Bidzina Ivanishvili as Citizen Konifer.

  • Bad Trip

    Bad Trip

    Gave it 30 minutes. I mean, I admire the concept (Borat / Jackass with a side of race). It’s just not that funny. 🤷🏽‍♀️

  • Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

    Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

    ★★★½

    Say, anyone know why the posters for Berlin titles keep disappearing?

  • Black Medusa

    Black Medusa

    They pranked us. That was too much Tunisia.

  • Memory House

    Memory House

    [W/O]

    (0:32)

    A hyper-stylized fantasia on racism and brutality, showing influences of Ulrich Seidl and Roy Andersson. The condescension is just a bit too condescending, the aggression just a bit too aggressive, all resulting in a film that purports to tell us about the world we live in while not resembling it in the slightest.

  • We're All Going to the World's Fair

    We're All Going to the World's Fair

    ★★★★

    [8]

    I'm going to need to go long on this, and don't really have the time right now. But I will say this feels like an instant classic, along the lines of Get Out and Donnie Darko. Its of-the-moment trappings (viral challenges, creepypasta) belie something much more timeless and crushing.

    Not for nothing, may I direct fans of this film to Michael Robinson's films, this one in particular.

    p.s. Most reviews I've seen are from viewers not that far from Casey's age, and let me tell you, this thing hits way different if you're a parent.

  • Autoficción

    Autoficción

    ★★★★

    [8]

    Although they average between ten and fifteen minutes long, the films of Laida Lertxundi fall into the category that I have discussed elsewhere as "small films." There is quite a lot to unpack in any given film of Lertxundi's. They are rich texts, and her deceptively inviting, sun-drenched visual style makes them particularly enjoyable to revisit. Lertxundi's work always seems to capture the tone of southern California in the late 1970s, at least as it was so often depicted…

  • Liminal

    Liminal

    ★★½

    [5]

    A four-part omnibus commissioned by Mexico's FICUNAM, Liminal is apparently thematically united by the relationships between film and music. Clearly this is a pretty tenuous connection, since there are umpteen million ways that relationship can be articulated. The end result, as you might expect, has the same middling batting average as most of these cine-Cerberus efforts.

    La lumière la lumière (Philippe Grandrieux)

    This is probably the most successful individual film in the collection, and if you are temperamentally inclined…

  • Tesla

    Tesla

    ★★★

    [6]

    Although Tesla bears a certain resemblance to Experimenter, Michael Almereyda's biography of Stanley Milgram, the new film is only a shadow of that recent triumph. Like Experimenter, Tesla engages in a kind of Brechtian retcon of the twentieth century, not so much changing the facts are recontextualizing our understanding of them.

    At first, Tesla appears to thoroughly buy in to the common romanticized interpretation of its subject, inventor Nicola Tesla (Ethan Hawke), as a renegade and a visionary who…

  • Flying Over Brooklyn

    Flying Over Brooklyn

    ★★★½

    [7]

    This short video was commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservancy, one of a number of pieces meant to show how New York artists are working, thinking, and faring during the quarantine. Most of the other works have a diaristic bent, but Ernie's piece -- his first new release in several years, I believe -- is an exceedingly simple depiction of separation from the outside.

    This process of patient looking, of thinking about the larger world relative to one's…

  • The Personal History of David Copperfield

    The Personal History of David Copperfield

    ★★½

    [5]

    Highly frustrating as an idea, Iannucci's Copperfield is unavoidably entertaining. This is because he and co-writer Simon Blackwell appear to be targeting the entire history of BBC prestige productions, with their prim tone and stately pace. And it's true, these sorts of British literary adaptations have become a kind of genre unto themselves, often feeling far more arduous than simply reading the books themselves, which in most cases have the benefit of authorial style.

    By contrast, Iannucci is going…