• Nightmare Alley

    Nightmare Alley

    ★½

    Can confirm reports that this movie is not real.

  • Compartment No. 6

    Compartment No. 6

    ★★★★

    Formulaic, yes, but extremely well executed; performances were delightful and the character work was nuanced enough to make a familiar story work. Made me very happy. I also appreciated the subtle period detail… but when does this movie actually take place???

    The music and technology would imply its the 1980s, and much of the infrastructure and costuming implies that the film is from the late-Soviet era. However, the petroglyphs that Laura is looking for weren’t discovered irl until 1997, and at one point Lyokha references the James Cameron Titanic movie, also 1997. If anyone has some concrete answers or theories I would love to hear them.

  • The French Dispatch

    The French Dispatch

    ★★

    Wes Anderson was a very formative filmmaker for me so it makes sense that films that I first watched when I was 11 or 12 would resonate with me more than his latest efforts, but I definitely feel like his films are taking a turn for the worst. Buoyed by a growing fanbase of people more concerned than the aesthetics than the themes of his earlier works, Anderson has amplified a large share of his most irritating ticks as a…

  • West Side Story

    West Side Story

    ★★★★

    Clearly strives to be ‘current’ and feels very much of its time as a result, but it’s nevertheless one of the shrewdest Shakespeare adaptations there is. Wise, Robbins, Bernstein, Sondheim and co. prefer the translation of concepts rather than dialogue and playful visual puns: whereas once Romeo and Juliet’s insatiable chemistry formed a perfect sonnet, they now manifest as a Broadway dance number weaved just as intricately. Watching it in 2021 its striking how racially motivated the film is; it…

  • Spencer

    Spencer

    ★★★½

    Mental illness as horror cinema is always hit or miss with me, but Larraín’s adherence to the visceral, immersive style first presented in Jackie effectively straddles the harrowing nature of its historical backdrop and the far-fetched camp of its fictionalised plot beats. I was reminded throughout of Phantom Thread, a train of thought undoubtedly influenced by the films’ shared composer, Jonny Greenwood, who produces a jazzy, screeching and powerful accompaniment. Nevertheless, the ideas of tradition as a stronghold, a trap…

  • Annette

    Annette

    ★★½

    Works as a movie at parts, but as a musical not so much -- struggle to see how trying to 'reinvent' the musical as crowd-pleasing festival fodder is any more or less grading and condescending to the genre than when Hollywood Oscar hounds try to do it. Primarily a rock and pop group, Sparks seem to have no real grasp on how musicals should be structured and performed; after some punchy motifs early on, the melodies devolve into Adam Driver…

  • Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

    Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

    ★★★½

    Deliriously unsubtle. Works at somewhere between the crossroads of Jean-Luc Godard and Commedia dell’arte. Real state of the nation stuff, though I’m not entirely sure where director Radu Jude’s mindset is at. Whilst narrating the film’s flabby middle section he comes across as a nihilistic contrarian, but the film’s comedically seasoned final act makes us consider whether he’s really just a troll in an art film director’s clothing. If so, respect.

  • Sound and Fury

    Sound and Fury

    ★★★½

    Kitchen sink realism rendered through Brisseau’s own heady imagination: student revolutions, cultural westernisation, and boobs, lots of boobs. Not as moving as Céline or as provocative as Secret Things, but with an indelible charm and humour all it’s own — Bruno Cremer is a force of nature.

  • The Comfort of Strangers

    The Comfort of Strangers

    ★★½

    Straddles the line of stories that are probably interesting enough for the written page but not when put on to celluloid. Perhaps the issue here is that Schrader’s direction comes three steps removed from source, through two other very talented and singular writers beforehand with, from what I can tell, very little collaboration between the parties. There’s just a very weird lack of consistent tone and momentum emanating from this thing, exacerbated by an unconventional plot structure in which nothing…

  • Twenty Years Later

    Twenty Years Later

    ★★★★

    Deeply embedded in Latin American politics, of course, but also foreshadows the formal experimentation of Kiarostami and Panahi seven thousand miles away in Iran. Through circumstance Coutinho is forced to reflect on the purpose of art itself, the artifice of cinema, the power it can hold, and also its ability to evolve and to mirror society at large. The result is soul-shaking, essential cinema. You can revisit the same frames with the same director, but once it evolves from fictionalised hagiography to genuine documentary the tone shifts to something altogether more heartbreaking and fascinating.

    Or, in layman's terms, fucking poggers.

  • Freaky

    Freaky

    I’d rather masturbate than fuck with Vince Vaughn

  • Cruel Story of Youth

    Cruel Story of Youth

    ★★★

    Strong early work. Same ebb and flow as a mid-career Rohmer joint with the infused energy of disaffected youth lending Oshima’s vision a necessary jolt of colour and anger (and violence against women). Imagine la nouvelle vague but with slightly more formalist, patient sensibilities. Easy if you try…