• Matador

    Matador

    ★★★

    More palatable than later Almodovar, when he realy starts pushing toward edgelordship, but it reminds me that I never could understand why his audience thought his imagination was so quirky and unique.

  • Midday Cowboy

    Midday Cowboy

    ★★★

    Real-life "Savage Detectives" -- Mexican poet Samuel Noyola pulls a Rimbaud by publishing two books, then disappearing, first into the Nicaraguan Revolution and then into street-living alcoholism in his hometown of Monterrey NL. Then his friends try to track him down.

    The brunchy NPR virtue-signalling of most of the doc.s I've watched recently isn't so visible here, which was nice... Also distinctive for the way it presents Monterrey as a city; it's not shown as a whitexican playground the way…

  • The Penal Colony

    The Penal Colony

    ★★★

    EARLY Ruiz, so don't get excited. Budget's on the Coffin Joe level, and his Kafka adaptation takes major liberties... similar maybe to the liberties Warhol took adapting Clockwork Orange... but a few authentically Ruizian moments emerge. The ideas from one short bit of dialogue here were expanded on in On Top Of The Whale (or maybe it was Utopia?) -- about the language that changes its grammar/vocabulary every time a person speaks.

  • Death Shadows

    Death Shadows

    Peculiar movie. It's on the 'women do martial arts" tip, and it does that well... but it shifts into a whole different register any time a certain character shows up -- imagine a butoh-gestures and overacting 'madman' character from Jyberpunk plopped down among the samurais and ninjae. Tell them Mr. Hell sent you.

  • Howard the Duck

    Howard the Duck

    ★★★

    Undoubtedly inpsired by the success of Repo Man and Buckaroo Bansai... but this is what happens when you try o manufacture a cult movie with focus groups and testing; everything that would have been edgy and new if they had done it right is softened into sitcom mannerisms and sensibility, like the onscreen "punk band" that sounds like Pat Benatar.

    But it's no worse than The Blues Brothers. I think maybe the interspecies romance made it box-office poison.

  • Hatari!

    Hatari!

    ★★★

    Hot take: The Misfits, with al the self-reflection stripped away.

    All the Hawks talking points are in place, the Hawksness is unmistakable... but I think even minor H.H. films like Man's Favorite Sport and Red Line 2000 present those tropes in more interesting ways; this time, they were just sorta "there."

    Oh, how I loved that elephant chase in the last reel!

    PS: If you want to read against the grain,, "Dallas" becomes the velvetiest of gloves for the iron fist of imperialism to use in softening the blow. And Hawks' lack of racial sensitivity will dismay you.

  • Lupe

    Lupe

    ★★★

    US Indie vibe is unmistakable, so... *that* set of conventions. Cuban emigres in NYC, focusing mainly on a boxer's transition arc into womanhood. There's a lot of Trans 101 expository dialogue between two characters to give them some psychological depth -- it feels shoe-horned in, but it does its job. However obviously.

  • Doctor Sleep

    Doctor Sleep

    ★★★

    Three hour director cut? When pacing and rhythm are such a problem for these people? Heavily self-referential .Kingstuff, reusing flashbacks from Kubrick's Shining and lotsa narrative tropes that are familiar from earlier in his work. Modest pop-movie entertainment, considerably less than I hoped for.

  • Radio Patrulla

    Radio Patrulla

    ★★½

    Noir-adjacent "Fedora movie" -- if that's becoming a category -- of no particular merit. Cops go bad or they don't but only in the final reel do you know for sure. Spotters will spot a very young Mauricio Garces as Emilia Guiu's boytoy, a character known as 'La Circassiana'.

  • Knife in the Water

    Knife in the Water

    ★★★

    Hangout/pissing contest between two beta males stranded on a sailboat. Crisply-made and engaging, but probably "</= meets the eye."

  • The Big Bluff

    The Big Bluff

    ★★★

    Only minimally "noirish," I guess, but it's a nice little gaslighting/wife-o-cide with two strongly-written female characters. Heiress w/terminal illness + "Central American playboy," played by the not-familiar John Bromfield, sort of an Eduardo Noriega type.

    Wait, that was Billy Wilder's brother directing? I remember some chit-chat about him at some point...

  • Gángsters contra charros

    Gángsters contra charros

    You know another of the crucial, crucial things that helps to consign Orolmovies to the dustbin of history? Casting himself as the male lead. Less of Team Charro's rambunctiousness and more of Juan's gangster posturing is not a recipe for success. (Not that the prequel was any great shakes either.)

    At least now I've seen the pair of movies in order and the narrative arc for both is clear to me. Now I never have to think about either movie again.