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  • Mr. Roosevelt

    Mr. Roosevelt

    ★★★★

    Mr. Roosevelt made me nostalgic for Austin, Texas. It's a film that will probably polarize its audience. Fans of early Linklater films may like it. Those who easily tire of the "slacker" generation and its "quirks" may hate it. 

    It deals with class, and humor, and humor about class, and classes of humor. I laughed when nobody else was laughing. I cried when nobody else was crying. I think you'll hate it and then hate me for loving it. 

    Content warnings: pet-related emotions, boob-related feelings, bicycles.

  • Let the Sunshine In

    Let the Sunshine In

    ★★★

    Claire Denis made a twisted rom-com, Let the Sunshine In. It's not as awful as Trouble Every Day but it's troubling. At least there's no cannibalism. There is a reference to cannibalism however.  

    In the screenplay, she has one of the revolting characters, a banker unfaithful to his wife, quote Trotsky. And there are funny-sad blunders when characters try to break away from their "milieu" or class. 

    Of course there is an exuberant, corny as hell, dance scene, one that…

  • A Fantastic Woman

    A Fantastic Woman

    ★★★★★

    I saw this tonight at the Mill Valley Film Festival. Daniela Vega's debut in A Fantastic Woman (Una Mujer Fantástica) (2017), was stunning and brutal. Finally a film starring a trans woman, played by a trans woman. 

    "The 28-year-old Chilean actress…has been winning so many raves for her performance — The Hollywood Reporter called her 'a stunning revelation,' and Times critic A.O. Scott just singled out the film as his favorite at the Telluride Film Festival…"

    Most of the articles…

  • In Syria

    In Syria

    ★★★★

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

    The film "In Syria" (previous working title, "Insyriated"), now playing at the Mill Valley Film Festival, is an unsentimental, harrowing story with a narrow focus. It all takes place inside an apartment in Syria amid shelling and sniper attacks. 

    One cannot witness this story and remain a passive audience member. Even though it's fiction and not a documentary, bearing witness to the suffering the filmmakers and actors share as they portray life continuing in the worst possible circumstances, behind the…

  • Kalpana

    Kalpana

    ★★★★

    An incredible 3-hour Indian dance film has been restored.  The new print is banned from being shown in India, probably due to it being, in part, a moving feminist Communist propaganda film critical of the Indian government. There's also a copyright dispute and criticism of its restoration taking place outside of India, in Bologna. There are eighty different Indian dance forms included and while it's banned it's also being claimed a national treasure there, the irony. It's directed by, and…

  • World Without End (No Reported Incidents)

    World Without End (No Reported Incidents)

    ★★★½

    Jem Cohen focuses on poetic collaged sights and sounds, seaside Britain, working class conversations, and lingers with his lens for part of a minute on an Antifa flag sticker. He interviews a hat merchant about the history and meaning of different types of British caps in his small shop and what it meant to various types of workers or gentry to wear each one. A series of moments.

  • Donkeyote

    Donkeyote

    ★★★½

    Manolo, 78-year-old errant knight (and Pereira’s uncle) sets out with his best friend, a donkey, Gorrión to take a long walk across Spain as a precursor to retracing the Trail of Tears. The man-donkey friendship is shown via shallow close-ups of the donkey’s grizzled chin as he nudges our man onward. Competing for Most Stubborn Rover they both suffer the consequences of a chase. The drunken reciting of ancient poetry in a Spanish shepherd’s dialect and the singing of a workers’ song offset Western frontiersman tropes. Our picaresque crew at times becomes so displaced that we, by comparison, feel sorted.

  • 13th

    13th

    ★★★★

    Everyone in the US needs to see this straightforward documentary about the 13th amendment and mass incarceration.

  • 20th Century Women

    20th Century Women

    ★★★★

    Great screenplay, well acted, shows a non-nuclear family in a hodge-podge communal living situation in a less-than-ideal space, finally.

  • Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance

    Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance

    ★★★★★

    Seen at the Pacific Film Archive with the film-maker in person, so relevant right now with regards to the water protectors blocking DAPL. Great use of First Nations humor in the face of white supremacy and state violence.


    Watch it for free on the National Film Board of Canada website. 


    www.nfb.ca/film/kanehsatake_270_years_of_resistance/

  • Lost in Paris

    Lost in Paris

    ★★★★

    Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel wrote, directed, and star in what is more like a choreographed piece of performance art than a film. Two physical comedians who studied at the school of Jacques Lecoq in the 10th district of Paris, dance through a whimsical, madcap, Jacques Tati inspired adventure. For fans of Chaplin, Denis Lavant, Pina Bausch, or filmgoers with youthful hearts who don't mind seeing familiar jokes done in an unselfconscious way with carefully crafted sets like in a…

  • A Bigger Splash

    A Bigger Splash

    ★★★½

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

    I really wanted to love this film: Tilda Swinton, a good director, a beautiful setting, technically skilled execution, dramatic storytelling, but I couldn't get over the sick feeling created by observing a bunch of spoiled, privileged white people ruining each other's lives. Maybe that was the point. It was clear from the start that this was a tragedy and not much of a mystery that wealth and the most powerful criminals wouldn't need much of a voice, a stage, or…