• Black Rain

    Black Rain

    ★★★★

    Exceptionally drawn out in a way that works in overall context and sentiment but has a tendency to feel too apparent. The subject matter is unmistakably mortifying and Imamura does a fantastic job at upholding a sense of dread and sorrow. There's an extravagant amount of mindfulness to the characterization that's impassionedly bittersweet and soulful. As to be expected everything visually is impeccable, and showcased is a fine-tuned style that really knows how to allocates space to frames constructively. An adept look at excruciatingly harsh and somber themes that keeps reminding you why they're important and vital

  • All About Eve

    All About Eve

    ★★★★½

    Mankiewicz's direction and screenplay here is straight up flawless. Can't seem to find a dull or uninteresting moment ever within its runtime and the details surrounding various characters and plot points are beyond crisp and lively. I guess I never really notice it unless it's too intrusive, but the narration here felt just right to set up and aid in the assembly of the narrative. The acting here is on another level, with Davis and Baxter giving two bombastically vibrant performances while everyone else doing a fantastic job of following suit and filling in the gaps. Timelessly acute, clever, and charmingly cunning on all fronts

  • Miracle

    Miracle

    ★★★★

    A bit lengthy and repetitive thematically but the ideas here are expressive and powerful nonetheless. I'm not sure I really like how "mild" a lot of the character work seems, there just isn't quite enough there that works well in conjunction with the general messaging. Despite that, and however I feel about what the film lacks, Bernal's visceral direction is anything about dry and insufficient. The intensity and gall of some of these scenes were really insane, and how he…

  • Before the Rain

    Before the Rain

    ★★★

    Feels significantly dated in its direction and construction. Structurally I usually like stories like these, but certain parts were just too flimsily conceived and overly forced. Found performances mostly unimpressive and a lot of the writing without enough insight into the themes involved. However, despite an overreliance on music and melodrama, a handful of scenes still do impress with how intense they get, and there's a good foundation visually that's really cool. I might've unfairly had higher expectations for this, but I simply didn't find it particularly compelling, at least consistently. Always interesting to learn about new perspectives and issues though

  • Eternals

    Eternals

    ★★★

    It's funny seeing such lofty questions be thrown around and debated only to be answered and resolved in the most basic ways. There was potential in some of these themes that just never got a chance to be realized, which is odd. Not a fan of how uneven these characters are approached individually, but as a group I enjoyed their overall chemistry and thought they clicked nicely together. The comedy was way more significant in terms of how awkwardly overbearing…

  • Dolls

    Dolls

    ★★★★

    While its commitment to such a quiet melancholy leads to some draining moments, the amount of emotional warmth and sadness that blossoms as a result undoubtedly necessitated them. The film isn't shy about how straightforward its storytelling is, even seeming gracefully aware that simplicity is key when it comes to these themes and ideas. Compositionally images are staggering and consist of beautiful colors and settings, all while Kitano's temperate direction when it comes to mood is full of sentimentally touching capabilities. Really enjoyed the performances here as well. Done with a heavy and poignant heart, exceedingly gorgeous

  • Linda Linda Linda

    Linda Linda Linda

    ★★★★

    Extremely feel-good and cheery, the type of film that's incredibly hard not to root for and enjoy how it carries itself. The characters, themes, and story are all sweetly put together, brightly looked at, and refreshingly light. Perhaps not the most attention-grabbing aspect in a movie like this but I really enjoyed Yamashita's visual choices, utilizing tracking shots and long takes to add a layer of radiant shine over each location and scene. Other than some moments feeling a bit…

  • A New Life

    A New Life

    ★★★½

    Had no idea what to expect and ended up getting a singularly murky and engrossing experience. Grandrieux's direction is so interesting to behold, dedicating itself to a grimacingly disorienting sense of style to capture bodies, actions, and evocate mood. I'm not going to pretend like I understood everything that happened here, as some stretches were mildly boring and definitely confusing, but crucially there was never a point where I didn't want to see and learn more about it. Puts all the senses on blast in a way that's wholly distinct, visually arresting, and hard to shake off

  • Fat City

    Fat City

    ★★★★

    Expertly clear-cut and concise with no fat to trim and so much said and done with how it's directed. Themes are elegantly exhibited with gracious empathy for its characters through the sheer simplicity of their respective stories and actions. Performances are faultlessly immaculate, breathing naturality towards the smaller details that make up the film's overall temper. Everything is just as clean and efficient as can be, whether it be scenes endearing or mellow. Compacted, guided, and adjusted in an impeccably regardful and sensitively gratifying way

  • Dune

    Dune

    ★★★★½

    Even calling this the grandest experience of the year doesn't do enough justice. Don't think I can really encapsulate how dauntingly effective all the visuals are here. Scenes don't feel like it's possible they're actually real, and yet they're conceived and executed with the finest of touches. From the vast landscapes to stunning props and visual effects, Villeneuve demonstrates monstrous care towards each of them evident by how well they synergize together. Big thumbs up to the blaring sound design…

  • The French Dispatch

    The French Dispatch

    ★★★★½

    I've seen most of Anderson's filmography but don't have a firm enough recollection to actually rank them. However, this has got to be near the top if anything just for its visuals alone. The images here are seriously crisp beyond belief, with inordinate density found in backgrounds and beautiful artistry in how it frames the mise-en-scène. There's plenty of uplifting charisma and humor to go around with very little waste to spare, and everyone in the cast pulls their weight…

  • The Piano Teacher

    The Piano Teacher

    ★★★★½

    The commanding strictness of Haneke's craft is overwhelmingly gripping and persistent here. Themes are generated and exposed compellingly with insane complexity, layers, and depth dedicated to the how and the why behind characters' behaviors and interactions with one another. The camera is also masterfully precise, choosing to either stay still or shift around with striking intention and seasoned flair. With how bold and exhausting the screenplay is, great acting is basically a necessity, and Huppert and Girardot certainly delivered with how intense both their performances got. Grueling and appalling in the best of ways, I really need to watch more of Haneke's work