• Okja

    Okja

    ★★★★

    Passionate ALF activist: “I hold all creatures dear to my heart, but you are crying out to be an exception.” 

    Nancy Mirando: “Oh, ok. [Turns away.] [To man with the gun to Okja’s head:] “Terminalo.”


    Re-watching this movie in 2020, I think it’s this exchange that got to me the most. And forgive me if I connect it to the American political moment, but it’s hard for me to do otherwise. It’s almost all I’m thinking about. 

    For the last…

  • Joker

    Joker

    This movie is to movies as the lockdown protests are to actual protest movements. 

    His last words, spoken as they are to a Black woman—“you wouldn’t get it”— pretty much say it all.

  • Following

    Following

    ★★★

    “I think a lot of filmmakers think a story is the purpose of the film, and the characters and the actors really have just got to service the story and take it to where it’s going. And that seems to me to be the complete opposite of what should be happening because there should be no story. We spend our lives inventing stories, but story doesn’t actually exist; we exist and our apprehension of a story is how we explain…

  • The Dead Don't Die
  • Contagion

    Contagion

    ★★★★

    Well, I meant to watch this years ago, of course. (Was it really 9 years ago?) I’d put it off, I think, because I’d read it was highly accurate, that it reflected something real, and I guess I just didn’t really want to face that reality then.  

    But now, of all times, I’ve found it comforting. I think it’s about having a film *name* what we’re experiencing, something that feels to (most of) us so alien and strange. It…

  • The Florida Project

    The Florida Project

    ★★★★½

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

    I re-watched The Florida Project with my Film 101 students, and while they all appreciated the film and many adored it, I got a few complaints that there’s “no story,” that the characters “never grow or change.”

    Hmm.

    I suppose, immersed in my own bubble of being quite happy to accept a cinema verite and/or Italian neorealist-adjacent film, where the profound is in the mundane and where a film does not have to have a strong three-act structure for me…

  • The Invisible Man

    The Invisible Man

    ★★★½

    Deeply satisfying to see a smart, thematically rich mainstream thriller, a film that has a lot to say about patriarchal power structures, but also a film that also has a brilliant central performance and beautifully executed (and genuinely scary!) sequences.

    David Chen and I discuss it here.

  • Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    ★★★½

    Some of my thoughts here, a video review with David Chen.

  • Little Women

    Little Women

    ★★★★

    Was a guest reviewer on the /Filmcast Little Women episode here.

  • Return of the Jedi

    Return of the Jedi

    ★★★★★

    Empire Strikes Back is the best and nothing touches Star Wars (A New Hope) as the first, but I can’t help it: I still love this one just as much. Just like 9-year old me.

  • The Irishman

    The Irishman

    ★★★★½

    —It’s what it is. 
    —What it is? 
    —It’s what it is. 

    However confidently the “it” is proclaimed, in a student’s paper I’d mark “it” with a “pro ref,” a pronoun reference error, when there is no antecedent for the pronoun, or when the antecedent is too general to be named, understood, defined. The “it” is a nothing word, a hollow that fills only with the reader’s confusion. 

    That nothing-“it” reminds me of Roger O Thornhill in North by Northwest, the…

  • Pather Panchali

    Pather Panchali

    ★★★★★

    Found myself ambushed and overwhelmed by  emotion on this rewatch during, of all moments, the water striders scene. And then, there were the shots of the lily pads being whipped up by the wind. The unbearable beauty and heartache of it all, captured, somehow, in those skating bugs and those wet leaves, curling over upon themselves. 

    It’s been 24 hours, and I still haven’t fully recovered.