• Palo Alto

    Palo Alto

    This film belongs in Mondo Cinema. It is absolute trash and a disgusting, vile excuse for James Franco to act out his horrid desires in a film produced by him, based on a short story written by him, starring him as the pedophile Mr. B. Very, very concerning and you can’t convince me otherwise. Beyond the slog of it all though, I do bet that Gia Coppola is quite talented and I am curious to see where she will go afterwards. In…

  • Ghost World

    Ghost World

    ★★★★

    I really admire filmmakers who can build such unlikeable protagonists. And to do it in the coming of age genre is quite a feat in itself. This is seen in Enid, wonderfully portrayed by Thora Birch, is such a chaotic character who makes all the wrong mistakes with cognitive-dissonance as her middle name. Rebecca, her foil, is very well written; it reminds me of something I read in a book once, that every great story has characters with their own…

  • Ava

    Ava

    ★★★★

    While Ava raises eyebrows over its indefensibly pedophilic relationship between the titular character and her convicted lover on the run, there is simply so much heart and profound beauty in Léa Mysius‘s beautifully woven narrative that it’s easy to forgive. Molded from classic Bildungsroman and garnished with French art house aesthetic, Ava actually has a lot to say about the coming of age experience. Also that dog is so damn cute. Lea’s direction here is profound and clearly articulated— her…

  • Say Anything...

    Say Anything...

    ★★★½

    Solid romcom, concise writing and structure, but it’s James Cameron so I can’t help but feel it was made by a machine as opposed to a person. And by machine, I mean the Titanic-Avatar mega conglomerate backing machine with equal parts money in foreign oil and drone warfare. Watched muted with subtitles with hyperpop in the background because fuck your heteronormative white Anglo Saxon Protestant morals and values made with your slaveholder fortunes!

  • Sexy Beast

    Sexy Beast

    ★★★½

    Narratively, Sexy Beast is an often jarring, if not grating, cross section between Taxi Driver and Miami Vice. Visually, it evokes Jersey Shore. Perhaps overzealously, La Cienaga. Hot summer nights, whole lots of loafing in semi-nauseated inebriation. That feeling of absolute boredom, turned to dread— the thing is Jonathon Glazer’s direction really excels in depicting that. Unfortunately, the story’s not strong enough and in result, the film feels like borderline satire, unintentionally so.

  • Point Blank

    Point Blank

    ★★★

    Solid 60s crime thriller. Point Blank is a classic, and for good reason, but something about it feels a bit stale. It was monumental for the time but in the modern century, it’s only a little more than an encyclopedia, or a reference point for the genre.

  • Grosse Pointe Blank

    Grosse Pointe Blank

    ★★★½

    Solid rom com, John Cusack is great! Funny premise even if the script doesn’t quite fulfill it.

  • Clerks

    Clerks

    ★★★½

    While the film hasn’t aged too well, there’s still a good amount of salvageable material in Clerks that has clearly had a wide range of influence on other works. The sketch-like structure here is employed wonderfully and the film itself is honestly pretty funny. While a lot of the film’s praise and legacy is based mostly in its mythos, the mythos itself is genuinely quite impressive. Clerks goes to show that a shoestring budget is never necessarily a limitation, but rather a gateway to tapping into true creativity.

  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    ★★★½

    While the film’s structure can often lend itself to making Shang-Chi a bit heavy handed and expository, the story’s easy enough to follow that you can sit back, relax, and be taken to another world. CGI here is actually quite good and the third act romp fest here feels far more mature than a lot of Marvel’s others. Simu and Awkwafina have such great chemistry and Leung’s performance is a knockout. The narrative itself is very straightforward; where the film shines is in its heart and exploration of new cosmic entities. I.e. dragons!!!!

  • The Party

    The Party

    ★★★★

    Even if there’s a hint of pretension in the film’s more philosophical ideas, the screenplay is so good at what it does that all is easily forgiven. The Party has such a level of deep self-awareness that makes the narrative not only more entertaining but somehow even more immersive. The audience feels in on the “joke,” which is mostly just a cascade of bombshells or as Martha calls it, “drama.” Dialogue is crazy witty, sharp, and oftentimes profound. Pacing is impeccable here, and Sally Potter’s direction is astounding. Each character is so fleshed out, with such distinct motivations. Great film.

  • Flight of the Navigator

    Flight of the Navigator

    ★★★½

    Okay but in all seriousness the opening scene of the UFO actually being a frisbee that a cute dog then jumps in the air to catch is actually genius. And then we’re at a dog show. Examples like this show an incredible sense of maturity in editing, direction, cinematography. And this is all for a Disney film. A good cool down watch. Brought here from Childish Gambino’s I. Flight of the Navigator.

  • Idiocracy

    Idiocracy

    ★★★

    While Idiocracy offers such enlightened and eerily accurate takes on what a late-capitalist future society will look like, the story itself feels a bit bland in comparison to its premise. There’s a lot of good jokes and good material here, but nothing stands out too much. Solid performances but the writing isn’t great.