• Andrei Rublev

    Andrei Rublev


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

    "When you know you'll never see it again, it means something."

    The moment that Andrei finally breaks his vow of silence arrives precisely when the boy mentions that his father never told him the secret of bellmaking, when he exposes the fact that he's been faking it all this time, misleading his patrons and supporters. And this boy, who lied and cheated his way to success, who only turned to God out of selfish desperation when his own machinations…

  • Grand Illusion

    Grand Illusion


    Ultimately this is what I find so compelling about La Grande Illusion and where I find the true meaning of its title. Renoir so clearly believes in some sort of essential goodness deep within human nature, completely independent of who you are, where you're from, how you were brought up, etc., but here he contrasts that goodness with its repeated betrayal. How can people be so good at heart and yet be so bad to each other? Because political…

  • The Rules of the Game

    The Rules of the Game


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

    "What's natural nowadays?"

    This is where I want to finally bring Octave into the picture. He's such an interesting character for me because of the pathos he wields in spite of his existence within a satire, in spite of the fact that in some important way he's not actually all that different from the losers that surround him. Like just about everyone in this cinematic world, he ultimately falls for Christine, the impossible object of romantic and/or sexual desire;…

  • After Life

    After Life


    If you had to choose one memory to exist inside of for all eternity, what would you choose? How would you choose? How could you boil your entire life down to a single moment, a single sensation? Some of the folks faced with this decision are grateful; having led a life of pain and suffering, they're only too glad to forget it all for a moment of peace. I consider myself immensely fortunate that I've been given the kind of…

  • Still Walking

    Still Walking


    "Children don't necessarily grow up the way you want them to."

    Great expectations

    Junpei died 12 years ago saving a young boy, the structural void at the heart of the narrative, the gravitational pull of which generates the force of the plot, but for me the heart of the film lies with the parallels between Ryota, Junpei's younger brother, and Yoshio, the boy Junpei died saving. At the most immediate level, they're both struggling to live their lives in the…

  • Old Joy

    Old Joy


    Watching (and now rewatching) Old Joy is such a strange, conflicting, almost dissociative experience for me, because on the one hand it's about one of my principal neuroses, this kind of subtle social dysfunction that Mark either can't see or won't acknowledge, but then on the other hand the very moment we exit this slightly uncomfortable interpersonal relationship the movie becomes a totally fucking serene, tranquil, borderline meditative experience, so half the time I've got this low background hum of…

  • Running on Karma

    Running on Karma


    Fascinating modern reimagining of the wuxia: instead of bendy swords we get Andy Lau in a muscle suit, but everything else is there, from the choreography to the spirituality, characters moving majestically through the air and contorting themselves in seemingly impossible ways while the core of the film rests on a Buddhist bedrock of human interconnectivity and consequentialism.

    Running on Karma perfectly embodies something very specific about Johnnie To that never ceases to compel me about his filmography. This was…

  • Night Is Short, Walk on Girl

    Night Is Short, Walk on Girl


    "The things you have taken are going around, spreading happiness. Even if you want to remain alone, you are connected to others no matter what. The connection that began with you is holding everyone together whether you like it or not. You are not alone. Tonight is a wonderful, long night that you have given to us."

    My Most-Watched Movies

  • Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

    Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio


    "But I thought it was best to be a normal boy."

    Loss and alienation in wartime

    The shift to fascist Italy does something interesting to Pinocchio's desire to be a "real boy," here even rephrased as a "normal boy." Pinocchio and Gepetto are both figures of alienation, which del Toro & co. emphasize with Gepetto's expanded backstory. The war took away his only son, and now he doesn't know how to exist in the world anymore, drinking his remaining days away.…

  • In the Darkness of Time

    In the Darkness of Time

    I spent all my movie-watching time tonight writing about Werckmeister Harmonies and only had time for this, but it's incredible how a 10-minute short can be so powerful, so moving, especially when arguably nothing happens in it. At its simplest level, Dans le Noir du Temps is another assemblage of images from history and from cinema, edited together indiscriminately and without distinguishing the two, reconciling the two against each other, searching for truth within the cinematic mediation of time.


  • Shin Ultraman

    Shin Ultraman


    "Some things only become clear in the space between."

    Searching for truth in the liminal space between independence and partnership, between human and alien, between life and death. Hiroko Asami transfers from Japanese intelligence to the anti-kaiju task force excited to work with her new partner Shinji Kaminaga, but Shinji only wants to work alone. Fortunately they all get a bit of additional assistance from an unlikely place: another kaiju, a giant, silver, anthropomorphic extraterrestrial with the power to defeat…

  • Speed Racer

    Speed Racer


    As someone who watches and rewatches a lot of movies, I'm always trying to expand my cinematic horizons on the one hand and realizing that I remembered certain movies more fondly than they deserve on the other, so I worry every time I rewatch this that it won't stand up to my monstrous affection for it, that maybe I'll get tired of it or want something more or different from film, that it won't still be the best movie I've ever seen, but it always is

    My Most-Watched Movies