• Anatomy of a Fall

    Anatomy of a Fall

    ★★

    This is a dull courtroom drama, livened neither by melodramatic suspense nor realistic procedure. Sandra Hüller gave a good performance—for all the time we spend with the character, she remains strange, her actions inscrutable. The courtroom scenes are cartoonish. I’m no expert on the French justice system but it’s hard to believe that the sour faced judge and the prosecutor muttering innuendos are normal. The central mystery is never solved, which could be considered a virtue. In the end, the essential subject is the weirdness of relationships. Other movies have explored further in less than two and a half hours.

  • Querelle

    Querelle

    ★★

    Dull. It's heavily stylized and there's plenty to analyze, it's a rich text in that sense. But there's no joy to it, it's unsexy and limp like a go go dancer at brunch. The whole thing looks like it's been filmed through a highball glass full of piss.

    Fassbinder was certainly entitled to view m/m sex through a lens of conquest, violence, and dominance play. That's certainly an aspect of gay, particularly kink culture, and Querelle continues to have relevance…

  • The Fabelmans

    The Fabelmans

    ★★★★

    I really loved this movie. It's a pleasure to walk alongside a master director through old dreams, wiping dust off of his old toys and reliving the highs of old memories of ingenuity and craftiness. Many fine performances and a couple of dynamite cameos. There are two monologues that rang false to me; words coming out of a character's mouth with an insight that I didn't believe came from that character. But generally a really intimate, family story well told.…

  • Suspiria

    Suspiria

    ★★½

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

    Beautifully shot movie, with some strong performances & standout production design, but poorly paced for the quality of the material, and tastelessly invokes real-life tragedies. Watchable, but skippable, unless you're particularly interested in dance on film.

    The good: I can’t judge the accuracy of the Cold War, divided Germany production design, but it seemed to be high quality with integrity. Dakota Johnson’s performance seemed only OK until she gets to play an inner transformation at the end of the movie. Tilda…

  • The Matrix Resurrections

    The Matrix Resurrections

    ★★

    This was not that good. I appreciate the scene in the beginning where Lana W apologized for making it and basically signaled that she was being held hostage by Warner Brothers.

    It never quite gets off the ground. There is a very strange, psychedelic tone to the first 25 minutes that is actually not that bad, it's a little fanservicey for me but I enjoyed it.

    The remaining 2/3rds was an underbaked Matrix sequel that couldn't help feeling like a…

  • Licorice Pizza

    Licorice Pizza

    ★★★

    My expectations walking in were that this would be PT Anderson's masturbatory, losing-his-virginity older woman wish fulfillment movie, like Almost Famous or The Graduate (or The Girl Next Door, for that matter!). Licorice Pizza turned out to be better than that.

    But not that much better than that.

    LP lies somewhere in between Anderson's "capturing a vibe" movies like Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Inherent Vice, and his deep character studies like Phantom Thread or Punch Drunk Love. It's a loose…

  • Medicine for Melancholy

    Medicine for Melancholy

    ★★

    Two strangers go on a long date through San Francisco. I watched it because it was a SF movie, because I love Moonlight, and because I remember hearing good things about it when it came out but never got around to it.

    The script is very first movie/indie romantic drama. It doesn't any of the specificity or tightness that Moonlight did. From 2021, it's painful to hear the clunky conversations about race and identity that seem so characteristic of the…

  • The Maltese Falcon

    The Maltese Falcon

    ★★★

    This is one of those movies that has been so influential and established so many tropes that it's hard to appreciate it from the present.

    Humphrey Bogart's Sam Spade is not very charming in 2021. The picture grinds to a standstill whenever women are on screen. The standout performance that still plays as intended is Peter Lorre's wonderfully feline Joel Cairo. Good, snappy dialogue.

    More of a historical interest film than one that plays as intended to a current audience.

  • Sweet Bean

    Sweet Bean

    ★★★★

    Sweet little movie; “you were put on this earth to listen to it; there’s nothing that you have to be.”

    This movie isn’t trying to be anything more than it is: sweet, beautiful, warm.

  • It Happened One Night

    It Happened One Night

    Thank god that attitudes about equality between men and women have changed tremendously since this movie came out. I imagine that Clark Gable would have seemed fun and rakish if you ignored the way that he constantly overrules Claudette Colbert’s character’s choices by threatening violence against her. I couldn’t, so this movie doesn’t have much to offer me.

    It may be too bad that I’m closing myself off to this movie, important for all of the reasons it’s important, but…

  • Toy Story 4

    Toy Story 4

    ★★

    Just a little bit disappointing to me!

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    ★★★★★

    I had a blast from start to finish. Watching this felt like watching the future, and I cannot wait for the surreal pomo elements to work their way into other movies.