• Utamaro and His Five Women

    Utamaro and His Five Women

    ★★★½

    A structural change of pace for Mizoguchi, more playfully episodic by weaving in and out of different storylines that surround the central figure Utamaro, whose story of artistic inspiration and censorship carries a fascinating, surely autobiographical insight into the director's own experience. Ultimately too fragmented to achieve the full narrative force of a lot of his other works, but still with some outstanding sequences, like a bathing harem in which its disrobing somehow comes off almost like a Hollywood musical sequence, or a long close-up scene at the end that gives Kinuyo Tanaka a simultaneously vulnerable and forceful tragic note to close the film out on.

  • The Bourne Ultimatum

    The Bourne Ultimatum

    ★★★★½

    Supremacy and Ultimatum may have ushered in a bad trend in action filmmaking, but rewatching them now still reveals how masterfully Greengrass still does this particular style better than his imitators. Unlike, say, Quantum of Solace (in which its opening car chase particularly a headache in theater), the editing through both the action and non-action scenes feels truly rhythmic, organized by visual information rather than merely giving them a sense of movement. And with the action scenes, there are always…

  • Strange Impersonation

    Strange Impersonation

    ★★★

    So entertainingly preposterous, too bad about that ending.

  • Moon Knight

    Moon Knight

    ★★★

    I think Oscar Isaac just surpasses Elizabeth Olsen as my favorite MCU performance now, which is no small feat and also lucky for this show, because I find its superhero lore exposition more often busy and sluggish rather than involving, and he helps counter and elevate everything around him quite a bit.

  • My Darling Clementine

    My Darling Clementine

    ★★★★½

    The image of Fonda sitting on that front porch is already iconic (to the point of Criterion choosing it as the cover), but the moment that stays with me is the scene of a character stopping behind him to talk a bit of plot, but Fonda absentmindedly, playfully focuses on switching each of his feet to balance against a wooden post instead. Plot here often takes a backseat to relaxed moments that let the characters and their locations luxuriate vividly,…

  • Let There Be Light

    Let There Be Light

    ★★★½

    Even accounting for the purpose this was made, the way it concludes is just so tidy for the subject matter (although apparently still not enough to get past the military censor). Apart from that though, a lot of the PTSD footage here remains raw and powerful after all these years, and you can feel Huston's sensitivity and respect for these individuals even as he doesn't shy away from capturing the more harrowing of their ordeals.

  • The Train

    The Train

    ★★★★½

    "When this is over, I think maybe we should take a look at those paintings." The film thrillingly complicates and enriches this war mission by putting the one whose reverence of art we see explicitly on screen be the villain, opposite a group of men who will sacrifice their lives for it to ensure the nation's soul rather than for art's own sake, culminating in a prickly, powerhouse showdown of those two sides in the finale. Plus in between, Frankenheimer just delivers one ruthless, crackerjack set-piece after another, ranging from cat-and-mouse clever (multi-city ruse) to pure spectacle (actual bombing of a railyard!).

  • They Won't Believe Me

    They Won't Believe Me

    ★★★½

    Mostly stays on the right side of twistiness rather than convoluted. It's also a week later and that doozy of an ending still sends a chill; one of the best noir endings ever.

  • Final Destination

    Final Destination

    ★★½

    Same star rating (or more accurately, what I recall of my feeling back then) as when I first watched almost two decades back, but I actually liked it a tiny bit better this time, with the key being having watched a lot of The X-Files in between. What I perceived as a great hook marred by oozing awkward sloppiness is more like an imperfect translation of Wong's and Morgan's X-Files atmosphere onto big screen, and I find it a bit…

  • The Bourne Identity

    The Bourne Identity

    ★★★

    This somehow feels most of its time among the franchise, even if Greengrass' style in the sequels would come to influence the genre. Have always been a bit resistant to this, and I think it's because the somber, almost downbeat tone here doesn't have the gravitas in its story to match. Damon and Potente make for very appealing leads though.

  • Kiss of Death

    Kiss of Death

    ★★★½

    Into the voice-over here for once, and Richard Widmark's terrifyingly giggly debut here makes for one of the most memorable, psychotic screen villains ever.

  • Ambulance

    Ambulance

    ★★★

    I stopped watching Bay after Revenge of the Fallen, briefly saved for Pain and Gain due to its reception and then feeling meh on it. But this genuinely feels like his best since The Island (probably a weird choice as Bay's best, and I do need a rewatch). As most mention, this really doesn't need to exceed two hours, but mostly its focused premise allows for a streamlined, propulsive momentum and less nonsensical narrative detours than usual, so his maximalism…