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  • Desistfilm

    Desistfilm

    ★★★★

    It's too easy to forget the early mess-around projects like this. Here Brakhage plays somewhere between Anger, Deren, and Welles, with a more or less random (or seemingly "found" structure for narration). The overall vibe is one of getting drunk and messing around setting up "scenes" for the camera. This should be a set of possible instructions in film handbooks, between the chapters on 3-pt lighting and continuity editing.

  • The Baron

    The Baron

    ★★★½

    Phillip Fenty is well-known as a screenwriter of blaxploitation actioners, but those interested in low-budget filmmaking might find his work here as a director of note. Reviews here pointing to the film's clunky crime film aspects are right but missing the bigger picture having to do with our big shot actor struggling to reconcile his commitment to his community and his willingness to sell out. The schematic terms of this have a didactic charm of their own (the protag dumps…

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  • mother!

    mother!

    ★★½

    There are like 5,500 reviews of this movie already, most of them either proclaiming Aronofsky a master or pointing out his self-indulgence (my favorite characterizes the film as another step in Aronofsky's attempts at self-fellatio). Some others deal with the film's misogynist treatment of the main character (made worse still by the director-star's true life relationship, I presume).

    Mother is nowhere near interesting enough to justify a 5 or 1 star rating. It's a film about the travails of either…

  • Days of Youth

    Days of Youth

    ★★★★½

    The opening and closing bookends of the movie, which go from the city to the specific then from the specific to the city, are met beautifully by the repeated figure of the college kids looking out the window. They use the smokestack to guess the wind and weather but are probing the outside world with less grace (social for one, physical for the other). But as always, the important moments are about normal embarassment and everyday sadness. The sequence where…