• Kajillionaire

    Kajillionaire

    ★★★

    Quintessential “quirky” film. Great performance by the cast (wow Debra Messing...and amazing how Evan Rachel Wood disappears in Old Dolio). Miranda July once again deals with traumatic family dynamics through a somewhat heightened reality and oddball world where the emotional hurts are salved through whimsical moments and details, and resolution is found in embracing a new, uncertain world.

  • Exterminate All the Brutes

    Exterminate All the Brutes

    ★★★★

    “It’s not knowledge that we lack...” 

    Powerful free form visual essay/memoir/documentary/argument/narrative about the roots of white supremacy, it’s role in history’s wars, colonialism, imperialism, and genocide, its continuing influence today through institutionalization and culture and politics, and how it is rearing its head once again through xenophobia and nationalism.

    It’s a lot, but Peck approaches this in a non-didactic way as telling his story, in a montage of associated images that overpowers the conscience, saddens, and enrages. His approach both…

  • Kramer vs. Kramer

    Kramer vs. Kramer

    ★★★

    Neither character is particularly admirable, but they try their best for the kid, and that’s the point, isn’t it? Life doesn’t work out like fairy tales, relationships sometimes don’t work out, and people have accumulated emotional and psychological pain to deal with, and all we can do is try our best to work everything out and be happy and minimize collateral damage.

    Great acting by Hoffman and Streep.

  • An Autumn Afternoon

    An Autumn Afternoon

    ★★★★★

    This film reminded me of Tati’s Playtime for it’s laid back observations of the modern world, with its carefully framed shots, color schemes, and playful soundtrack. It also reminded me of Miyazaki in the way that it portrayed in a gentle way the eternal familial issues that arise with the passage of time and age. 

    This gentle and casual observation treats it’s subjects’ conflicts relating to change that comes with the passage of time with acceptance and without judgment, as if…

  • The Dark Knight Rises

    The Dark Knight Rises

    ★★★

    Watching this again after many years, late last night, after a few drinks - annoyance of Bane’s muffled talking still persists. What a waste of Tom Hardy’s casting. Anne Hathaway did a great job. Her first scene in which her demeanor visibly changed from innocent maid to femme fatale with just a slight modification in her facial expression and voice was amazing. I still don’t get why Bane just doesn’t kill Batman in his first try...seems like he could’ve destroyed…

  • Man Bites Dog

    Man Bites Dog

    ★★★

    Interesting meta-faux-documentary that questions the “narrative” of the documentary, whether there is ever anything that is objective (also known as the observer effect, in physics), and the morality of documenting suffering, but it gets old in the third act, veering towards farce, and is not quite sure how to finish.

  • Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance

    Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance

    ★★

    Not as pure of a revenge flick as the original...

  • Raining in the Mountain

    Raining in the Mountain

    ★★

    Interesting cat and mouse plot, but there were too many continuity issues and plot gaps, and perhaps 30 minutes of shots of people running around an empty temple could’ve been lopped off.

  • A Special Day

    A Special Day

    ★★★

    A bittersweet half-romance emerges between two lonely souls, amidst the increasingly stifling militarized, fascist culture and life in pre-WW2 Italy. 


    This is probably the only sepia-toned movie I have ever seen - I wonder what the decision was behind that. 


    The pacing matches the daily rhythm of life, and the conversational structure reminds me very much of watching Before Sunset. 


    Scola does amazing work capturing lives in a massive, prison-like public housing complex, gliding from one compartmentalized living space to…

  • Kiki's Delivery Service

    Kiki's Delivery Service

    ★★★★

    Leave it to the cold, soulless urban cities to kill the magic of the small town country witch...

  • Hemingway & Gellhorn

    Hemingway & Gellhorn

    ★★

    Granted, it’s a TV movie on a lower budget, but I was pretty disappointed in the production quality, writing, and acting. I think they miscast - Clive Owen and Nicole were highly distracting, especially when they couldn’t keep an American accent and even when Nicole’s own voice changes between older age and youth. Most distracting was the constant shift/morphing between old school newsreel footage (some real and some mimicked) and “real life” reenactment, as if we needed constant reminder that THIS REALLY HAPPENED.

  • The 39 Steps

    The 39 Steps

    ★★★

    This movie is an early exemplar of one of several story types that Hitchcock is preoccupied with - the innocent man caught in a spy game and being chased down and accused by authorities of something he didn’t do. It provides the mold for North by Northwest, and even this early on, you can see Hitchcock’s obsessions, humor, plot mechanics, and style pretty well developed.