• Perfect Days

    Perfect Days

    ★★★★½

    This is a vibes movie. So it’s kind of surprising that I enjoyed it so much, because I’ve been complaining about filmmakers relying on vibes in recent reviews. I suppose what makes this different is that the intentions of this project are made plain from the start: It’s a piece of art that wants to explore what it means to be centered and to find joy in the smallest of life’s moments.

    There is a tree motif featured throughout. And…

  • Madame Web

    Madame Web

    ★★

    This review is brought to you by the prefix “un-”.

    As in, this is a movie that is unintentionally hilarious. It is unironically cynical. It is unrelenting in its botched execution.

    To make matters worse, it has no discernible connection to franchises we already like or established characters that matter.

    It is unnecessary.

    But.

    But…

    There’s something singular about this project. It is the culmination of obvious studio meddling, an inept screenplay and a startling lack of creative vision. The…

  • To Kill a Tiger

    To Kill a Tiger

    ★★★★½

    I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to give a project a negative score just based on the subject matter.

    This is an excellent documentary - and I hate that. That means the inane, insipid, even inimical attitudes on display here are accurately depicted.

    I mean, it gets so bad that the mother of a young teenager who was gang raped has to calmly explain to an authority figure that men in her village killed a woman after accusing her of…

  • Love Me

    Love Me

    ★★★★

    The conversation about AI has been urgent in multiple ways. Technology is either going to take all our jobs and leave a significant portion of the human population destitute. Or it will become sentient - go Skynet on our asses - and unleash Terminators or Mr. Smith’s to extinct us.

    “Love Me” presents another interesting “What if”. What if instead AI became self-aware and became romantic? What if it longed for companionship? What if it saw humans and our messy…

  • Handling the Undead

    Handling the Undead

    ★★★

    This is a film with a fascinating premise and good execution. But it wasn’t totally my jam because it’s one of those “vibes” movies.

    You know the type. This is a project that’s more character-driven than plot driven. That’s fine. But the themes explored are predictable. Regret, forgiveness, naivete and the need to finish the grieving process by letting the beloved go.

    This is ostensibly a horror movie but there’s not much in the way of scares or sense of…

  • Exhibiting Forgiveness

    Exhibiting Forgiveness

    ★★★★

    Oh, I get it. The main character is an artist who puts on EXHIBITS. And the central conundrum revolves around whether he has the capacity to FORGIVE someone from his past. Thus, “Exhibiting Forgiveness”!

    Yeah, the title is appropriately on-the-nose. But upon consideration, it kind of isn’t. Protagonist Tarrell - portrayed gamely by André Holland - struggles with his past so much that it gives him night terrors. They concern his childhood and his hard-as-fuck, drug-addicted father. The events are…

  • Little Death

    Little Death

    ★★★★½

    Oh shit, is there something in the water in Hollywood? Hmm.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call this project anti-woke. For one thing, I hate those terms (“woke” has become a parody of itself and “anti-woke” is a lamentable YouTube genre filled with despicable grifters). For another thing, this movie isn’t arguing against the importance of representation in the media or anything of the sort. But it is highly concerned about authenticity.

    In this vein, it is remarkably…

  • Thelma

    Thelma

    ★★★

    I mean, what can I say? It’s a breezy caper featuring senior citizens. While I didn’t think it was exceptionally funny, it was entertaining enough. And it features two actors who have been in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

    One of those actors is the delightful Clark Gregg. He plays a sardonic patriarch whose nonplussed attitude contrasts sharply with the shenanigans that happen in this story. Said shenanigans include nonagenarians escaping from a senior living center… on a motorized scooter. That…

  • Sebastian

    Sebastian

    ★★★★

    Oh wait, he works as a prostitute where men find him via an escort website - that’s definitely not me. (Not hot enough ☹️).

    The sex work aspect serves as the main narrative thrust for Sebastian (forgive the pun). And in the first act I felt a certain “So what?” about this whole situation. In part because sex work has been significantly destigmatized in western society (it won’t be a category on LinkedIn any time soon obviously) and also due…

  • The Teachers’ Lounge

    The Teachers’ Lounge

    ★★★★

    If I had to make an elevator pitch as to what this movie was, I would describe it as the progeny if “Uncut Gems” and “Abbott Elementary” were to have a baby. (I assume I’m the first user on Letterboxd to make that analogy… You’re welcome!)

    Thankfully, I like both of those projects so this movie is a thumbs up for me!

    It’s interesting how film can manipulate the audience to feel a certain way. Example. Early in this runtime,…

  • Pasolini

    Pasolini

    ★★★★

    So… I watched this Pasolini movie because of Barbie.

    How did that happen? Well, in a group chat we were vigorously discussing the egregious snub of Greta Gerwig not getting a nomination for the 2024 Oscars. I posted a screenshot of this tweet, whereby I stated that Scorsese should be removed from the nominees and Gerwig put in his place.

    SOMEHOW this led to a comparison being brought up between Abel Ferrera and Martin Scorsese. And SOMEHOW I started to…

  • The Zone of Interest

    The Zone of Interest

    ★★★★★

    Are you tired of hearing, “tHe baNaLItY oF eViL” yet?

    I mean, there’s good reason why so many reviewers are resorting to this phrase as their go-to with reference to this film. This is s a project with a stark dichotomy as its foundation: anodyne family life on one side of a fence, horrific genocide on the other side.

    As this film starts, there’s a feeling that the audience is supposed to be startled by this juxtaposition. And I think…