• Beyond the Clouds

    Beyond the Clouds

    ★★★

    What a weird little movie. Zabriskie Point got moved to another day because the copy didn't arrive to the theater in time and although I'd rather have watched that, this isn't as awful as some reviews made me expect. It's actually really fascinating how awkward and odd some of the interactions are and how serious Malkovich's line readings are compared to the events on screen. His voice over does have some philosophical merit relating to a director's role in uncovering…

  • I Knew Her Well

    I Knew Her Well

    ★★★½

    Meandering and episodic which makes the aimlessness and sadness of Adriana very tangible. She opens her heart, showing genuine affection for people, like for the boxer or the young teenager, but lives a life that has been sold to her and then constructed for her by others. However, she comes from a poor background and shows talent in the acting class which makes it easier to understand why she continues to pursue this career that has openly misogynistic tendencies and…

  • A Drama of Jealousy (And Other Things)

    A Drama of Jealousy (And Other Things)

    ★★★½

    “I’m here with my girlfriend and my friend.”
    “Who gives a fuck?”

    Scola’s work can occasionally feel overwritten because of the metatextuality, political agendas, quirky characters, and multilevel narratives he likes to indulge in. It’s hard to watch many of his movies in a row yet he’s such a unique and charismatic writer that there’s always something to be admired in his films, and connect to the previous experience. The dirtiness of the appropriately named Ugly, Dirty, and Bad is…

  • David Byrne's American Utopia

    David Byrne's American Utopia

    Listening to Byrne and Talking Heads always picks me up when I'm feeling down. Love him for that. Important ending too, no better director for capturing that than Spike

  • Red Desert

    Red Desert

    ★★★★½

    It’s rewarding to see that I’ve grown as a movie watcher since my first watch of this two years ago, not that liking this movie is a sign of a true cinephile. I barely understood what was going on then and had quite an odd view on the film’s environment or its lack of contribution to the story. But watching Antonioni’s work this week has made me more in tune with his style and I think Red Desert is clearly…

  • Blow-Up

    Blow-Up

    ★★★½

    Change of setting to another country and use of vibrant colors brings a surprising amount of warmth to this film as opposed to the depressing mood of Antonioni’s trilogy. But Blow-Up is still filled with Antonioni's familiar ennui as England and the colors are simply an indication of the free-wheeling 60s surface atmosphere that hides people’s pains better than social contrasts of post-war Italy and the emotional emptiness of its aristocracy.

    I've never gotten the feeling that Antonioni is devoid…

  • L'Eclisse

    L'Eclisse

    ★★½

    L'Eclisse is the most annoying to review out of Antonioni's trilogy because I hated and appreciated it almost equally. It's tonal imbalance, pacing issues, abundance of ideas relating to politics and economics, delivery of those ideas sometimes aggressively through overlong stock market scenes or blackface and sometimes with no clear context whatsoever as well as its narrative decisions, like the absence of the romance, made the experience quite infuriating. I do appreciate how much is jammed into the movie and…

  • La Notte

    La Notte

    ★★★★½

    I wish I could collect my thoughts into something that doesn’t sound like an incomprehensible (and depressing) mess of contradictions.

    Well, I’d like to start by saying that L’Avventura grew on me after reading your reviews and watching Assayas analyse it. That’s why I was very excited to see La Notte and immediately the change of setting grabbed me. Soundscape of the city differs significantly from the start of L’Avventura but the same gloomy faces appear on screen. No words…

  • L'Avventura

    L'Avventura

    ★★★½

    Actually a little more narrative oriented than I expected going in but mostly relies on clean compositions and its black and white, comprehensive world to say what it wants. Whether in the sea, on a train or in an empty city there is hardly a moment where the characters aren’t at the mercy of their surroundings. This effect is obviously most striking in the first act when everyone is on the boat and on the island. At first I got…

  • Ninotchka

    Ninotchka

    ★★

    Meant to do the Lubitsch-Wilder-Brackett double feature with this and Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife yesterday but went out instead. It ended up being the correct decision since my first Garbo was quite the disappointment.

    I’ll get it out of the way and say that Lubitsch's gags are still lovely to witness. The small camera move when Leon is trying to write Ninotchka’s name is beautiful and the auditory gag of the three stooges in their suite is fantastic. However, the issue…

  • Bluebeard's Eighth Wife

    Bluebeard's Eighth Wife

    ★★★★

    ”Why do you think a woman puts a man into a straightjacket? Because she love him!”

    Screwball comedies always have some sort of relationship dynamic, usually toying with gender norms of their era (30s-40s), but this feels like the first real entry to the “toxic relationship” subgenre, of which I’ve started to compile a list. There’s not much else to the film than the push and pull of Nicole and Michael’s relationship whose motivations shift between monetary and status benefits…

  • The Panic in Needle Park

    The Panic in Needle Park

    ★★★★

    Dialogue heavy, coarsely shot love story in New York at the start of the 70s. Reminds me a bit of Midnight Cowboy with all the struggles in the partnership and the film's caring depiction of outcasts who are left on their own. Everyone does shitty things though, which shows the volatility and desperation of this life. The conversations circle around the same topics and there's anxiety in Pacino's manners and reservation in the shrinking looks by Winn. It's a devious…