• The Zone of Interest

    The Zone of Interest

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    "It's easy to see people committing genocide and thinking they're monsters. And to think 'that's not me - I'm safe.' But they didnt start as mass murderers. They started as boyfriend and girlfriend, having dreams about their future." ~Jonathan Glazer

    Walking out of this screening, I was torn on how to react. Having time to ponder it, I know this is a cautionary tale, that asks more questions than it says directly.

    In a similar way that Son of Saul…

  • The Holdovers

    The Holdovers

    ★★★★

    They don’t really make films like this anymore. This movie feels like a lost gem from the 70s, and pretty much every element going into the movie contributed to the outcome. I was absolutely mind-blown to find out that this wasn’t shot on film. The way cinematographer Eigil Bryld and colorist Joe Gawler manipulated the image (Arri Alexa Mini) is so inspiring.

    Another obvious highlight of the film is Paul Giamatti’s performance, which is my hope and pick for the…

  • Anatomy of a Fall

    Anatomy of a Fall

    ★★★½

    Brilliant performances. In whole, an effective film. Maybe it’s just because I don’t love courtroom dramas, but I was pretty underwhelmed by this, especially it being the Palme d’Or winner. But I guess I’m the only one who thought it was too long and shot rather poorly. Again, amazing ensemble cast, and happy for Triet & team’s success. Just not my cup of tea I think.

  • Fallen Leaves

    Fallen Leaves

    ★★★★

    A beautifully shot and subtly performed romantic comedy about trying to get by in a world full of dark. This was such a breath of fresh air. Awkward, charming, funny, and expertly crafted. This was my first Aki Kaurismäki film, and it felt a bit like Wes Anderson if his head wasn't so far up his own-

    ...ego.

    Fallen Leaves is a must see from 2023. It's a short watch, and definitely something I'll be revisiting in the future.

  • The Beasts

    The Beasts

    ★★★★

    An intense thriller full of incredible performances. A standout from last year - The Beasts is a confidently directed piece about cultural tensions, what "home" means, and standing up for what you believe in. Sometimes the pacing was off, and some could have been trimmed from the third act, but this is definitely an under appreciated gem.

  • Godzilla Minus One

    Godzilla Minus One

    ★★★★★

    Minus Color.
    The lack of color adds an entire world of depth to this film. Probably the greatest black and white iteration of a color film to exist.

    Not only does it harken back to the original 1954 even closer, but the black and white grade here does what any good modern monochrome cinematography does, and focuses on the core of the story.

    Color adds depth to the background, the textures, the moods. This monochrome iteration of Minus One brings…

  • Maestro

    Maestro

    ★★★

    The movie feels more like Bradley Cooper trying to flex than an actual depiction or vision of a man. Maybe time will help me appreciate this more, but right not, all I feel is the oscarbait. Matthew Libatique lensed the hell out of this - especially the black and white shadow-on-the-curtain shot. Otherwise felt hollow, despite me wanting to enjoy it. For historicals/biopics like Darkest Hour where the HMU needed to be drastic, it works, but the nose prosthetic is…

  • Leave the World Behind

    Leave the World Behind

    ★★½

    Alex Garland’s upcoming Civil War is about to make this movie look like a joke. Even though Baumbach’s White Noise already did. At least this was better than birdbox..?

  • Godzilla Minus One

    Godzilla Minus One

    ★★★★★

    The echoes of choirs past become crashing
    waves and metal. Keloid scars and burns
    that heal, but nightmares that never do.
    Winds strong enough to level earth.
    Screaming to the heavens, wondering,
    as black rain cascades from above.
    Can we be patriotic without dying?
    Maybe I do deserve to dream again.

    ...

    Rarely do I ever give a perfect score on a first watch. But there is no other way for me to adequately describe my feelings for this film.…

  • It Lives Inside

    It Lives Inside

    ★★★★

    Awesome indie horror here. Proud to call the director of this film a friend and mentor. Bishal, I cannot wait to see where your career & journey takes you next. For those who don't know, this is Dutta's feature debut, and his several short films made leading up to It Lives Inside are also spectacular. A case study to be sure, of a passionate filmmaker who climbed the ladder in all the right ways. I hope to someday soon achieve my…

  • Nobody Knows

    Nobody Knows

    ★★★★½

    Rewatch. Second time viewing. First time I saw this, I was left in too great a state of shock, frustration, and grief when the credits rolled, to fully appreciate what a perfectly crafted film this is.

    Yagira Yuya became the youngest ever Best Actor winner at Cannes for this film, which started filming when he was just 12 years old. Such a brilliant and nuanced performance from someone who’d never acted before. But when you consider that pretty much the…

  • The Twilight Samurai

    The Twilight Samurai

    ★★★★

    Incredible film featuring a particularly stunning performance from Hiroyuki Sanada. The blocking and music raise the bar for early 2000s movies of this kind. If you love jidaigeki, you need to give this one a chance. Can’t believe I hadn’t seen it until now!