• United in Anger: A History of ACT UP

    United in Anger: A History of ACT UP

    ★★★★½

    In the preface to her book Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987 - 1993, Sarah Schulman, who co-produced this film, writes:

    --
    When it came to making our feature-length documentary film, United in Anger: A History of ACT UP, [director] Jim [Hubbard] and I met with several prominent funders of documentaries. We were told over and over that a documentary film has to have four to six characters the viewer can follow on…

  • Everything Everywhere All at Once

    Everything Everywhere All at Once

    ★★★★½

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

    Reality has always felt to me like something tenuous, fragile, in flux. One afternoon in college, a friend and I were sitting in the dining hall contemplating the statistical improbability of every moment of our lives. "We're winning the lottery every second," he said, not to mean we had such great fortune (though of course in some ways we were both quite fortunate, in others both of us less so), but to mean that it was so unlikely that this…

  • The Batman

    The Batman

    ★★

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

    Watched this film three weeks ago and just now writing about it so take this with a grain of salt, as a reflection of what I still remember, rightly or wrongly, about a movie I didn't care enough to write about sooner.

    For a long time now, there's been some discourse about how Batman is bad, actually, how you have Bruce Wayne, a billionaire who could help Gotham City in real ways with his vast riches by using them to…

  • Drive My Car

    Drive My Car

    ★★★★½

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

    ***SPOILER WARNING IN FULL EFFECT***

    I first watched this film some weeks back, rated it highly but didn't write anything. The state of profound stillness it left me in seemed like something that would only be disturbed by my efforts to write about it. Last Saturday, I saw it again, this time at a theater. I wanted to again bask in the stillness of it. To me, watching Drive My Car feels something like staring into a clear pool of…

  • The Lost Daughter

    The Lost Daughter

    ★★★★½

    The sense memory of an ice cream cone on the beach, or peeling an orange. The things we long to run from and long to come back to. The way the past is alive in the present. This film is so very alive.

  • Goodbye, Dragon Inn

    Goodbye, Dragon Inn

    ★★★★

    Watched this movie about the final hours of a movie palace in the final hours of 2021 via Metrograph At Home. A movie about movies, about how our relationship to movies is changing, about movie theaters as places of worship. Very long takes, very little dialogue. Palpable longing--for the past, for a connection that will never happen. The sense of time passing, the way the theater feels haunted by its own glory days. The solitude of the woman who works…

  • C'mon C'mon

    C'mon C'mon

    ★★★★

    A film that really cares about the experiences of children. Wise and alive, with amazing performances from both Phoenix and his young co-star, Woody Norman, who truly gives one of the most extraordinary performances I've ever seen from a child actor. In some ways adults are just big children, doing the best we can, fucking up and then--ideally--trying to atone for our mistakes (Phoenix's Johnny certainly has lost, oversized kid energy in a lot of ways) and kids are far wiser than most adults give them credit for.

  • The Matrix Resurrections

    The Matrix Resurrections

    ★★★★

    "She's the only home you have, Thomas."

    Warner Bros. was gonna resurrect the Matrix series with our without one or two Wachowskis at the helm. We'll never know, of course, but I suspect the film we would have gotten without Lana coming back for this one would have been more geared to audience expectations, more concerned with replicating the "cool" factor of the originals, and, quite possibly, much safer and duller as a result.

    I love this film. Both the…

  • West Side Story

    West Side Story

    ★★★★½

    Just outstanding. There’s so much energy and vividness in the production—the background details, the way the camera moves and sweeps through it all—that you feel you could step into it and find a fully realized city thrumming with life all around you. It’s a New York in transition, in ruins and beautiful. The film feels effortless in the way it finds larger meanings in its story. For instance, in the opening tracking shot, you see what some of those ruins…

  • Licorice Pizza

    Licorice Pizza

    ★★½

    Fuck, man, I don't know. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. I am down for some valley mythologizing, and I fully expected this film to make me heartsick for California. And in fits and starts, it does. Anderson is meticulous, of course. The little living rooms of houses in the flatness of the valley, the billboards, the restaurants, all of it is perfect. Most of all, the light is perfect, and it was the golden sunlight that moved…

  • Ghostbusters

    Ghostbusters

    ★★★½

    More than perhaps any other film, Ghostbusters leaves me feeling torn--trapped, as it were--between my childhood self and my adult self. I just watched it for the first time in many, many years. There's no denying that it was for me a childhood touchstone, *the* touchstone, a film that, for a while, I felt far more unbridled enthusiasm for than Star Wars or Back to the Future or any other blockbuster that kids of my generation loved. I don't feel…

  • Ghostbusters: Afterlife

    Ghostbusters: Afterlife

    ★★

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

    Cards on the table: I love the original Ghostbusters. I love it so much. I love the proton packs and PKE meters and ghost traps, but the reason I love that stuff is because it's wielded by a goofy bunch of guys who find themselves the unlikely heroes of New York. I love it because it's a comedy without traditional jokes--the humor just comes out of the characters talking to each other, and I believe these people would say these…