• The White Sheik

    The White Sheik

    ★★★

    This film is Fellini's first solo effort as a director. It's adorable. Fluffy, airy, and inconsequential, but cute nonetheless. It's his go at the romantic comedy genre--one could say it's his interpretation of a Capra or Lubitsch farce. Comedic misunderstandings and mishaps occur again and again. The film's plot is highly improbable, not in the classic Felliniesque fashion, but more so in a Saturday matinee kind of way. The two actors in the film playing the newlyweds are charming and…

  • What We Do in the Shadows: Interviews with Some Vampires

    What We Do in the Shadows: Interviews with Some Vampires

    ★★★

    After finishing both seasons of the What We Do In The Shadows on FX, I craved more content and decided to watch the short film that started it all. Before I get into that specifically, I have to say how great this whole franchise is. It's some of the funniest, wildest, exciting comedy being written today, and it's all just about vampires. Hollywood has been parodying the gothic genre since Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. In a world that already…

  • Silent Running

    Silent Running

    ★★★★★

    This is superb science fiction. Not only did I love the way it looks and the way it feels, but also the philosophy and the ambiguous optimism behind it. Silent Running stars a young Bruce Dern as a tree-hugging astronaut tasked with preserving a giant, synthetic forest in space for a climate-devastated Earth that has become bereft of nature, beauty, and purity. Dern is a castaway, isolated in the empty vastness of space with nothing but the company of three…

  • Growing Up Trans

    Growing Up Trans

    ★★★★

    A real thought-provoker and a tear-jerker. It’s so heartbreaking seeing all these children get so excited about their gender-confirming treatments and then watching their mostly supportive but visibly uncomfortable parents (usually the father) trying to question their feelings and instilling doubt in their life-changing decisions. Everybody in this doc goes through so much. It’s a captivating real-life human drama, and this documentary illuminates so much into this misunderstood topic. Good job, Frontline

  • A Thousand Cuts

    A Thousand Cuts

    ★★★★

    Another Frontline doc, though sadly without Will Lyman voiceover 😢

    This one follows journalist Maria Ressa of the Filipino news organization, Rappler, and her courageous battle against President Duterte’s vicious drug war policies and insidious disinformation campaign. She and her team are badasses and fascinating documentary subjects!

  • From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians

    From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians

    ★★★★½

    I haven't been in the mood to analyze movies lately, so just bingeing Frontline documentaries. This one is very cool—a fascinating exploration of Christianity’s journey from a fringe Jewish sect to global faith. It shows how the view of Jesus evolved from a mysterious parable-speaking motivational speaker to an incredible prophecy-bringing miracle worker. I especially liked the part where they explain the differences between all the gospels and how they were all written as reflections of their author’s society and prevailing sentiments. It makes you appreciate how cleverly keyed into accuracy Monty Python’s Life of Brian was.

  • Mulan

    Mulan

    ★★½

    Dull and lifeless. Bland characters, weak battle sequences. Taking Mushu out was a mistake. Taking the Jerry Goldsmith vaporware score out was a mistake. Taking the songs and everything Disney out of this Disney classic was a mistake.

    This could be my review of every live-action remake Disney has released in recent years. None of them have moved me or entertained me, as technically impressive as they are. I haven't seen Aladdin yet, though, so maybe I'll like that one.

  • Sound of Metal

    Sound of Metal

    ★★★★

    Great movie. There's a rawness and sensitivity to it. It's genuine. The way the sound design flips between perspectives. The naturalism of the camera and the acting.

    It's a very lovely story, and it does that thing that I like movies do when they give you insight into a seldom represented community. Very cool to watch, especially with headphones.

  • Decadence and Downfall: The Shah of Iran's Ultimate Party

    Decadence and Downfall: The Shah of Iran's Ultimate Party

    ★★★

    YouTube kept recommending I watch this. It's fascinating. I never knew the Shah of Iran threw such an opulent party for all the heads of state and royals of the world. It's funny how they spent so much money at this event, all the caviar and foie gras, chandeliers and tapestries, and it still looked like everyone there was bored and miserable. Buñuel or Fellini could have made a very good satirical film off of this premise.

  • The Fog

    The Fog

    ★★½

    This movie is ok. It’s got a pleasant atmosphere to it. There’s plenty of lovely shots of the small idyllic seaside resort town, with its quaint bait shops, charming little radio station, and adorable town square, in the morning and after dark. This film could almost be a relaxing, nostalgia trip if it weren’t for the vengeful zombie pirates. The slayings in the movie are well-shot but somewhat lame. The Fog is minor Carpenter and nowhere as great as The Thing or The Halloween. It lacks interesting characters and memorable action. But the soundtrack by the director is pretty cool!

  • A Tale of Two Sisters

    A Tale of Two Sisters

    ★★★★

    A very pretty, heartbreaking story of domestic disputes and personal tragedy hidden underneath a fun haunted house amusement attraction full of adrenaline-coursing shocks and intense, anxiety-inducing sequences. The film balances genuine horror with beautiful design very well. It is both disturbing and melancholic, with its use of swelling, classical scoring over cold-hued gothic decorations one minute, to its suffocating darkness and gore overpowered by harsh, discordant tones and violent brass another. A uniquely Korean piece of horror cinema, carried exceedingly well by the production design and the effectiveness of all three principal actresses.

  • The Clowns

    The Clowns

    ★★★½

    The Clowns is an endearing, offbeat made-for-TV film from the second half of Federico Fellini's film catalog. This oddity was excluded from Criterion's Essential Fellini box set, so I had to order a copy from Kino's Raro Video series. The transfer and restoration by Kino is very lovely, and all the colors and details of the film pop gorgeously off the screen. It's the director's tribute and study of clowns, an ancient art form to which his unique aesthetic is…