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  • Scandal



    A mess of a script directed as well as it possibly could have been. There are many flashes of brilliance here on Kurosawa's part: the montage of the scandal actually happening (which the final shot comes back to), Mifune's appearance at the newspaper (the sound of the motorbike and the cuts to everyone's reactions), and it generally feels like the camera is always exactly where it should be.

    It's an interesting film because it has elements that Kurosawa would investigate…

  • Rendez-vous



    Juliette Binoche's breakthrough performance, and she comes out fully formed, already in complete control any time she's on screen. Her scene partners aren't quite up to the task, especially the rightly Wadeck Stanczak as the ultimate "nice guy" and - to a lesser extent - a young Lambert Wilson as a tortured artist type (read: an asshole). Because yes, this is a film mostly consisting of a very young (21 !!) Binoche dealing with and indulging in terrible, terrible men,…

  • Cities of Last Things

    Cities of Last Things


    I'm not entirely sure the flashforward structure serves this narrative particularly well. The first segment is intriguing, but obviously lacks context and can't be emotionally rewarding - I guess you can read something about the shallowness of revenge there, but it's not such an interesting point to make that it would warrant the waste of a perfectly good tragedy. There's also the fact that the best segment by far is also the one that feels least connected to the rest,…

  • Give Me Liberty

    Give Me Liberty


    Interesting characters/performances, but an exhausting style and a pretty shallow appeal to the vaguest sense of community, with some equally vague political elements in the literal background, which all ads up to a promising but disappointing film.

  • Children of the Sea

    Children of the Sea


    Too beautiful to entirely dismiss, though its inane "I just read Spinoza" college freshman level insight about life, the universe and everything make it quite tempting to do so, as do the caricature of YA archetypes this has for characters.

    It really is very, very pretty, and the score had me think "Wow, this composer is going to be the next Joe Hisaishi, I really need to check them out"... only to discover it was the master himself. Of course.…

  • Quarter to Two Before Jesus Christ

    Quarter to Two Before Jesus Christ


    Deserves credit for laying the groundwork for my favorite French comedy of all time, but long extended scenes in a gay nightclub where the only joke is "they're gay, you see" and Michel Serrault reprising his role from La cage aux folles except he's César... well that all gets pretty tedious. Also weird how it feels like a redo of Coluche's 1981 presidential "campaign", with very basic demagogy as a platform.

    The sets are pretty cool though, as are the…

  • The Lion King

    The Lion King


    As good as a piece of propaganda for social determinism and divine right monarchy can be.

  • La flor

    La flor


    Self-indulgence, the movie.

    Part 1: Fine mise en bouche, amateurish at times but the quartet is commited, especially Paredes who will turn out to be the MVP of the whole thing.

    Part 2: The best one, though I could have done without the whole scorpion business. It's fun, but Part 3 has that energy in spades, so I was really much more interested in the part about the singer, which is just great, could have (should have ?) been its…

  • So Long, My Son

    So Long, My Son


    Pretty effective melodrama, with a jumbled narrative timeline that I ended up going along with but I'm not sure was really worth the early confusion, though it does create an interesting perspective on the passage of time, something that this branch of Chinese arthouse cinema (hi Jia) seems pretty interested in from what I can tell given my limited exposure to it. Does it really need to be 3 hours though ? I think not.

  • Her Smell

    Her Smell


    At one point (about 25 minutes in maybe) there was a moment of silence in the film and someone (in this small Parisian room at the UGC Les Halles) snored loudly, which prompted a "can someone put a stop to that", to which another person responded "at least three people are sleeping !", which made everyone laugh.

    How you can sleep in front of this movie is beyond me (walking out I get, and a few people did, but sleeping…

  • Zombi Child

    Zombi Child


    Two films in one: a period film taking place in 60s Haïti about a real life zombi(e) (people who were drugged so as to look dead then dug up and used as slaves in plantations), and a Coppola-style one about young women in an elite school* for descendants of people who earned the Légion d'Honneur or a similar medal. ONe of them is the descendant of the Haitian zombi(e) in question, but the two films generally have a hard time…

  • Sibyl



    Much more adventurous formally than Triet and Efira's previous effort (Victoria, which I recommend btw), Sibyl attempts to show film as psychotherapy for its main character, who obviously is a psychotherapist herself, cause that's how movies work. I started out really appreciating what Triet was doing with her editing: I interpreted it as attempting to recreate a therapy session in film form, jumping around in place and time in ways that seem both haphazard and inevitable. The film completely lost…