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  • The Birth of a Nation

    The Birth of a Nation

    ★★★★★

    [93]

    A fascinating film to me for several reasons, the biggest of which might be its demonstration of cinema as a cantilever of force on a national stage as well as its ability to not only maintain relevance, but actually garner more traction over a century after its release. Granted, that traction is not of amicable nature—it is an ugly, reprehensible agency, but an agency nonetheless, and to ignore its influence on not just cinema but the United States of…

  • The River

    The River

    ★★★★★

    [91]

    After being highly receptive of every Tsai film I’ve seen thus far, I figured it was about time I tried to dive more in-depth about the essence of his very style, and why I find his particular brand of stoicism fundamentally more alluring and captivating than many others’. THE RIVER completely knocked my socks off, and not only does it contain some of the most painfully lingering sequences in Tsai’s canon (and I say that as a good thing),…

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  • From the East

    From the East

    ★★

    [40]

    Time to surrender to the idea that Akerman’s pared-down, build-your-own-narrative, integrally observational tendencies simply aren’t for me, which is doubly frustrating, given that I’m totally on-board when she applies those rigorous sensibilities to a fictional model, à la JEANNE DIELMAN wherein I sat enamored for well over three hours, gobsmacked by unwavering surgical precision carried out to such a menacing degree. When Akerman points or pans the camera at Life Unfiltered for ninety minutes, though, it feels way too…

  • Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

    Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

    ★★★★½

    [90]

    Q: If all biopics were structured as such, would it be my favorite film subgenre?

    A: Absolutely not.

    Because while the uniquity is a massive stake in itself - oversaturation is rarely a good thing, even for good things - I think 99% of other directors given the same task of novelizing one man’s life story as a cinematic jukebox on random would completely botch it, either depriving the framework of proper connective tissue (thus turning it into e.g.…

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  • Roma

    Roma

    ★★½

    [47]

    Wasn't even feeding into my most deep-seated contrarian instincts as the credits rolled and I asked myself, “what do people see in this?” Perhaps I know too much about Cuarón and his obsession with ostentatious construction to not be annoyed by the barrage of slowly oscillating (and equally inconsequential) long takes. Seriously, over half the movie is filmed like the final scene of THE CONVERSATION; at least there it served a metaphorical purpose. While others have cited “immersion” and…

  • Burning

    Burning

    ★★★★

    [80]

    Strongly agree with one of Mike D’Angelo’s major points of contention—that damn pink wristwatch needs to go. I might even take it one step further and nix the garage/cat scene, or at least muddle it a bit. (That is to say, don’t have the feline triumphantly march over the instant his name is uttered. Do cats ever even respond this obediently? Mine certainly do not.) These inclusions sour the ending just a tad, deploying a vindictive/redemptive undertone that I…