• Night of the Pencils

    Night of the Pencils


    They took them in the flower of their youth

    Curly haired, bubbly, ideologically rigorous (yeah Argentine kids are just built different)

    They read Roque Dalton and Regis Debray on cookie crumb bedspreads, giggling at things that weren't quite funny

    I think Mom brought in coffee and feigned ignorance of Che's New Man (we all knew she had read that pamphlet)

    And Dad was staid but trustworthy, driving them to protests and meetings and sabotage missions, all done in his gray…

  • The Official Story

    The Official Story


    More than the Tupamaros in Uruguay or the MIR in Chile, the Montoneros in Argentina were a true product of the college-to-guerrilla pipeline. A lot of this has to do with Argentina's spectacular post-war economic expansion. You have millions of subsistence farmers flocking into Buenos Aires and Córdoba to work in relatively modern machine shops and auto factories, where they encounter the Gospel of Peronism. They join unions, win raises, and are able to send their children to university.


  • Girl Picture

    Girl Picture


    I have a confession to make: I'm in love with the way Finns speak.

    Making generous use of American slang like “that's on fleek” and “don't cramp my style,” these adorable Nordics will charm you for hours on end with their bizarre parroting of AAVE, bumper stickers from 30 years ago, and half-understood action flick quotes. They're brazen, they're shameless, they're resolutely Finnish. They don't understand and that makes them adorable.

    This offbeat humor is the ballast that keeps “Girl…

  • May December

    May December


    It's funny how Todd Solondz has tried to make A Darkly Comic Chamber Piece About Taboo Sexuality every five years or so and turns in unwatchable slop every time. It's funnier how Todd Haynes tried that *once* this year and turned in something so much more interesting and genuinely unsettling we wonder why there are Solondz stans in the first place.

    Solondz slings caustic arrows and missiles but always fails to make impact because he's fundamentally a prude. He's afraid…

  • My Own Private Idaho

    My Own Private Idaho


    You know when you come into a new film sorta haughty, like you expect to be “better” than it? You certainly expect to enjoy it, but it's an easy conquest.

    That was not the case with this one!

    I was expecting Gen-X Midnight Cowboy, updated to include some swipes at rural homophobia and a showcase for the nascent grunge scene. What Gus Van Sant made was a gonzo road trip through the mind of a comatose sandwich board prophet. My…

  • The Pledge

    The Pledge


    Ahhh, fishing.

    The sport of choice for emotionally inert loners and rural Americans alike (lot of overlap there!), it's the perfect outdoor activity for semi-retired Reno detective Jerry Black. He can ponder the coldness of the world. He won't have to make small talk. He can strategize how to catch the Tall Man. He'll never have to romance another woman, AND HE IS DONE WITH THE FAIRER SEX.

    Black is played by a blessedly restrained Jack Nicholson. 21st Century Nicholson…

  • The Holdovers

    The Holdovers


    When I was in high school, I'd often walk across the street during my lunch breaks and eat at this fantastic sub shop. They stocked The Austin Chronicle and my afternoon rituals always involved flipping through the pages and entering a world so different from my own it might have been an alien civilization. I drooled over the potshots taken at Rick Perry, features on local punk bands named things like Fleshlights, the erudite columns on the latest Linklater film…

  • One Way or Another

    One Way or Another


    If America ever experiences a communist revolution (God Willing!), “One Way or Another” holds a really fascinating clue as to problems it's going to experience a decade after the fact.

    Most communist revolutions have taken place in nations with masses of subsistence peasants and small, highly politicized working classes.

    Neither America nor Cuba have peasantries. They have radical workers to varying degrees, but the big albatross hanging around the neck of both are large underclasses of racialized folks living outside…

  • Dirty Girls

    Dirty Girls


  • Contempt



    In one of the finest King of the Hill episodes, the unflappable Bobby tries to show his family a French arthouse film. Baffled by his family's negative responses, Bobby says “Ridiculous? Are you kidding, Dad? Collette is gonna leave Etienne for Claude because Etienne has malaise. MALAISE!”

    Contempt, a Godard feature from his most prolific pre-radical era, is essentially what a suburban American thinks a French arthouse film to be: pretentious, turgid, in love with its own misanthropy. I enjoyed…

  • The Killer

    The Killer


    In “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” there is a character called Marcus Brody. He is a bumbling tourist. In what might probably be Spielberg's greatest gag of all time, Indy is waxing rhapsodic about Brody's “spy” skills. It suddenly cuts to Brody lumbering around the Levant, his stupid English vocal chords braying like a constipated donkey, essentially going “Gahhhhh! Dumb white guy coming through!”

    I got similar feelings watching Michael Fassbinder put on his white fedora in this film.…

  • Hellbound: Hellraiser II

    Hellbound: Hellraiser II


    "Clive Barker, direct your heart out."

    A lot of horror fans said this in 1987, which got mixed results.

    In 1988, they got a journeyman, Tony Randel, who made a...better film?

    I'm just as shocked as you are. The sequel jettisons Barker's clunky melodrama and replaces it with atmospherics, terror, and puns spoken by grotesques. It's certainly a better horror film than the first, and a more immersive experience in Barker's world.

    We swap time between a mental hospital and…