• Suzaku

    Suzaku

    ★★★★★

    Death and decay. Shades of human love and struggle. Lives, communities, and villages falling apart, devoured by the wave of urbanization. A tragedy, not one of an epic hero, their excellence and their virtue, but one of humility, the nameless nobodies just trying to survive — clinging to existence like weeds on the margins. Naomi Kawase speaks the language of nature and cinema, but also that of the everyman.

  • Scream 4

    Scream 4

    ★★

    Despite Scream 3 concluding Sidney's emotional arc, Scream 4 decides to bring her, Dewey, and Gale back for this "requel". They do embarrassingly little and even less is done with their development, but that's not the real problem. They're really only here to fuel this film's cynical meta-existence; there's no grounds for empathy left in the series, making the kills more unaffecting than ruthless or impactful. I'm fine with these movies living in their own self-aware world, but at least…

  • Scream 3

    Scream 3

    ★★★

    This is exactly the kind of personal reappraisal that tells me that I shouldn’t binge an entire movie series on a long car trip again, because in a lot of ways this is the Scream entry best suited to my sensibilities. It’s less successful as a slasher than the previous two, and any remaining comedy is barely there, but this reaches emotional and thematic heights that perfectly cap the trilogy off. I’ll repost with more thoughts once I finish wrestling…

  • Scream 2

    Scream 2

    ★★

    I’d be willing to agree that this is cut from the same cloth as the first film if it were relatively simplistic and leanly paced, or if it didn’t have a million little pieces to the puzzle, most of which feel more inconsequential rather than purposeful. It only hurts the film because new bits of plot are introduced before the prior ones are even expounded, and it just keeps throwing shit at the wall until around an hour in when…

  • Scream

    Scream

    ★★★★

    It’s the millennium, motives are incidental 

    Though neither it or the subgenre it belongs to are my speed, Scream is possibly my favourite slasher because it’s as far up its own ass as the wave of films it spawned, yet here Wes Craven’s formalism remains peerless, and a rewatch only exposes how deep the layers are to every self-referential jab and stab. I’ll be honest and say that lampshading every joke kind of takes the sting out of them, but the performances elevate…

  • Ugetsu

    Ugetsu

    ★★★★

    Much has been said about Ugetsu's ghostly atmosphere and its supernatural elements, but there's a lot more than that going on here. Mizoguchi draws on folklore with heavy mysticism, but only to paint a detailed portrait of then modern Japan, fuelled by the post-war anxieties of the 1950s. In it are the sobering ethics of war when observed in a domestic setting. Men chase ambitions while their avarice brings ruin to their families. Men are foolish creatures only capable of…

  • Hotel Transylvania: Transformania

    Hotel Transylvania: Transformania

    ★★

    I don't think the other three are particularly exceptional at anything, nor are they exactly paragons of originality, but credit must be given to Genndy Tartakovsky and how be brought life to stale conventions that would otherwise drag the films down, much like they do here. He gave these films a wild edge and the characters were often quite amusing too, but much of that is lost in this fourth entry, the first without Tartakovsky directing. The result is largely…

  • The Tragedy of Macbeth

    The Tragedy of Macbeth

    ★★★★

    I have no words, my voice is in my sword

    The source material begs a question: is this a warring, politically complex epic told on a modest scale, or a deep-seated psychological study told with great breadth and grandeur? Whatever the case, Joel Coen's first truly solo venture is the finest Macbeth adaptation since Kurosawa's Throne of Blood. A near verbatim telling of The Scottish Play, the film's many expressionist influences recall Shakespeare's own tendency to draw from everything he…

  • Miller's Crossing

    Miller's Crossing

    ★★★★★

    The first of many convoluted Coen joints revolving around a mooning man unwittingly making very strategic decisions, or in some cases, extremely grave errors, that leave him with a conclusion lacking true resolution. Seemingly everything fits back into place, but there's something missing, and the questions persist. Why do we do what we do? What are ethics in a world of fixed matches? Why does morality even matter? We may not be fully conscious of our own feelings or motivations,…

  • Kujira

    Kujira

    ★★

    The weather, waves, whale, and woman all move against man as one. One of the last uses of silhouette animation before the animation industry was overtaken by improved "modern" techniques, but what dates this horribly the most is the atrocious sound design and the utter lack of audio mixing going on. Certainly to be expected to some degree, but it makes the whole thing incoherent at best and extremely unpleasant to watch.

    Decades Project - Anime

  • Tetsuo: The Iron Man

    Tetsuo: The Iron Man

    ★★★★★

    Mainly Cronenberg (Videodrome) and Lynch (Eraserhead), also lots of Carpenter, Buñuel, Akira, Evil Dead, and much more, but that doesn’t stop this from being distinct from just about anything made before it. Nobody builds disorienting atmospheres like Tsukamoto, nobody shoots manic paranoia like Tsukamoto, and fuckin’ nobody cuts through flesh like Tsukamoto. Few films are capable of going full-throttle for their entirety without ever running out of steam, but Tetsuo never lets up and thus there is no safe place…

  • Summer Wars

    Summer Wars

    ★★★

    For all the problems that arise from the awkward clashes between Mamoru Hosoda's concepts and his themes, the one thing he consistently excels at is making his films out to be something they are not. He certainly flirts with high-tech concepts in Summer Wars, but rarely at the expense of the idiosyncratic family dramedy at the core of this weirdly topical adventure into late 2000s cyberspace. Refreshingly optimistic for a film about the internet with its imagined utopia and all…