• Army of the Dead

    Army of the Dead

    ★★★½

    Better and more interesting than I realized the first time, even if its slightness makes it incomparable to Snyder's *bigger* films. Which is ironic, given the budget of this thing neared $90 million - but at times this feels almost like Snyder's version of the kind of mid-late 2010s A24 genre piece debut feature that so many American directors today seem to have to need in order to get their careers off the ground - of course in this case…

  • A History of Violence

    A History of Violence

    ★★★★

    Canadian directs a simulation of American cinema

  • Lincoln

    Lincoln

    ★★★★½

    Perhaps much too hagiographic at times and Spielberg's "Yes We Can!"-era idealism even feels a bit dated - and this starts the occasional trend in the the guys 2010s era of performances partially carrying whole films. Still, it only occasionally falls into the actorly scene chewing that something like The Post constantly falls privy too - partially because Day-Lewis's performance is simply outstanding, and it gives the films relentless accumulation of details significant momentum because of this. But alongside Bridge…

  • Dune

    Dune

    ★★★½

    Death and rebirth, rediscovering, redefining, redetermining destiny.

  • Catch Me If You Can

    Catch Me If You Can

    ★★★★★

    Steven Spielberg's "I hate the capitalist realist simulation, it's awesome"

  • Red Desert

    Red Desert

    ★★★★★

    Possibly Antonioni's most brilliant and profound work, where modernist neurosis and alienation are not born of circumstances that must be eliminated but rather are conditions that the human must adapt too, as the history of human development catches up with the development of their technological creations. A documentary on what it is to be alive today: the void is life.

  • L'Avventura

    L'Avventura

    ★★★★★

    Nothing really to add beyond what I wrote before, except that it's incredible the way Antonioni gets you into the characters emotional worlds - almost profound, even - and even though part of the point of the film is that the characters forget about Anna, because we become so lockstep with Claudia and Sandro, we too forget about Anna. And so once the tearful conclusion comes we don't just empathize with them or judge them, we actually experience with them, validating Antonioni's own ambiguous relationship to modernity in this picture, because of the ease at which we share the characters emotions within this structural marvel.

  • Il Grido

    Il Grido

    ★★★★

    "Transitional" as some have called it - one can easily see its relation to the great works to come even if it retains the more literal and classical stylings of the works prior - and while it's likely the strongest of Antonioni's pre-60s work, it's interesting to see that the films neo-realist stylings also become indicative of the works limitations. Perhaps I'm being unfair because of its relationship to the work that would immediately follow, but the need to give…

  • Genus Pan

    Genus Pan

    ★★★½

    In all honesty this is the most minor Diaz work in some time, but its total materialism does make it of a piece with the last two films - Season of the Devil & The Halt - even if its lacking those two works inspired polemics. And while this isn't an allegory for the Duterte administration either, its nice to see Diaz working outside of genre again, even if it does share some of the clumsy writing and structuring of The…

  • Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue

    Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue

    ★★★★

    I'd personally maintain that, discounting the semi-fictional 24 City, that this is the best of Jia's documentaries and certainly one of his best films overall - yet naturally as a talking head documentary there is little much to say that isn't already stated outright in the film itself. Initially positing itself merely as a chronicling of a literature festival in Jia Zhangke's own hometown, literature and precisely China's own relationship to literature as the years roll on becomes the gateway…

  • Death in Venice

    Death in Venice

    In all honesty it is easy to see why so many people gravitated to this one of Visconti's works through the years, as twisted as it sounds on paper (and well, ultimately is). It is quite frankly one of the most visually stunning movies I've ever seen (the opening shot is genuinely unbelievable) - and even better now seeing its HD restoration for the first time, with Visconti commanding such a controlled leveling of mood and tone through his compositions…

  • Scanners

    Scanners

    ★★★★½

    One can argue that this more or less kind of falters in it's last third and it would be a fair criticism, because there's just too many ideas in this to lend itself to a coherent and singular thematic statement. But "too many ideas" is also its allure, and what sets it apart from the rest of Cronenberg's work from this period - the following three pictures all end wrapping themselves up increasingly neatly, with signifiers or metaphors that we…