• Mur Murs

    Mur Murs

    ★★★★

    Colorful, sexy, personal, cultural. Public murals as a means of expression, of community coming together, of social protest, of local personality and history. Minorities finding a way to heighten their voices. A vision of putting space to use. An inkling of how humanity can help each other. Finding beauty everywhere and in everyone. Shirtless well groomed men glistening in the sun. Bodies bulging in clothing. Los Angeles as the ultimate melting pot and place where dreams can become reality, partially. Whispers from beyond. Varda's best documentary.

  • Gandhi

    Gandhi

    ★★★

    So many reviews about this one are like "it's too tedious and simplistic, but Ben Kingsley's performance is great"...but on revisit his performance is extremely overrated. I was constantly aware of the acting, wasn't convinced of the supposed transformation, and got only surface level thought and emotion from him (aside from a single scene where he cries). There is a knowing grin throughout too much of Kingsley's performance that ruins the sense of realness, of danger, and of being the…

  • The Thing

    The Thing

    ★★★★

    Amazing physical tension John Carpenter is able to create throughout parts of this, and an authoritative mixture of gruesome and patient visuals (also thanks to the stunning effects/makeup work). Compared to ALIEN, the setup here gains something extra with the creature being able to take over human bodies, although the script for The Thing doesn't fully maximize that potential. There's also a fear of death that's missing here, an existential dread. The characters are mainly concerned with barking at each other and acting tough, they aren't multifaceted enough, and the performances don't reach the level that someone like Sigourney Weaver was able to achieve.

  • Diva

    Diva

    ★★★★

    Orgasmic sound design and music. Beautifully paced and wonderful cinematography in the second half. I loved the relationship between the fan and the diva, how their bond grew without any crazed theatrics (while the rest of the film is swirling with craziness), how gently he was there for her at all times and how she comes to find something that had been missing. The overall plotting of the film could have been a bit better and the tertiary characters better…

  • Francisca

    Francisca

    ★★

    Terribly boring artifice. Static camera, lack of editing. Some shots are good looking but mostly it's obvious they are on a set, drained of real life. Blank acting, misuse of music in the later parts. Stilted dialogue, too much telling rather than showing. Probably the best costumes of 1981 though (but it was a weak year for the category).

  • Blow Out

    Blow Out

    ★★★½

    For a film centering on sound, De Palma doesn't use it as effectively as he could. The noise of crowds, footsteps, clothes rustling, breaths being drawn, a cigarette being lit, where are these details in the soundscape? There's a certain disregard paid to emotional, story, and logistic details throughout the whole film. De Palma is so obsessed with the visuals that other areas are not given the attention they deserve.

    It's an engaging movie for sure, but could have said…

  • The Fox and the Hound

    The Fox and the Hound

    ★★★★

    What a joy to revisit this and realize the formative impact it had on me as a kid. Cooper the sweet little pup, turned to an aggressive hunting dog by the ignorant hunter. In my own family the boys were all supposed to take up hunting, but I never cared for it. Todd the fox's adamant belief in Cooper as a creature of friendliness and adventure, someone who shared his own world and would never fully "go to the dark…

  • Man of Iron

    Man of Iron

    ★★★½

    This is such a good story, and the performances are good enough (and Krystyna Janda is great, with a confident defiance and layered heartbreak), but I was missing a more exciting and emotional cinematic treatment. Where is the expressive editing, cinematography, sound, music, and interesting visual juxtapositions and camera usage? It was too flat and lacking in pacing, turning something that could have been excellent, and clearly has much thought and conviction behind it, into just an okay movie.

  • Modern Romance

    Modern Romance

    ★★★½

    Well written insight into neurotic relationship pressures (with a particularly insecure character at the center), and using the idea of romance as a means of status and possession to think you can achieve happiness. The aspects concerning film editing were quite funny too. I think this needed to be acted better to sell the constant on-and-off relationship; it isn't quite believable because the performers are just playing the surface, instead of the entire reality of what this situation would be like.

  • Marianne and Juliane

    Marianne and Juliane

    ★★★★

    "That business was years ago, murder or suicide, nobody cares anymore. That's like last year's snow. You're a journalist, you know the rules. Topicality means the right news item at the right time."

    Effective study of two sisters who want to make a difference, but take different paths in doing so, causing some personal conflict. The story meanders more than I wanted but holds well-observed truths. It's sensitively directed and brings a good understanding of the main characters, although more urgency and sense of scope would have created an even bigger impact.

  • Excalibur

    Excalibur

    ★★½

    Revisited this because I couldn't remember hardly anything about it, and it's pretty bad, like I originally thought. Very cheesy throughout, which is sometimes entertaining, but mostly annoying. The first part of the film is terrible really, but then it gets somewhat more interesting. The acting is just comical at times and the design elements are trying too hard, leaning towards not feeling authentic. My most prevalent memory of the film was the cinematography being too fake looking and, yes,…

  • Chie the Brat

    Chie the Brat

    ★★★½

    Interesting comedic work from Isao Takahata here, combined with a very young self-sufficient protagonist. Chie's ability to act grown up, in the face of having a troubled/absent parenting situation, is reminiscent of what's to come in Grave of the Fireflies. Characters being animated in an overemphasized way when showing anger seems like a modern stylistic trait of anime that could be traced back to this film. There was a motif about testicles here that I didn't care for, but overall a pretty unique and very underseen movie.