• Hotel Monterey

    Hotel Monterey

    ★★★★

    March Around the World 2024

    1/30: Belgium (High Score: 20th)

    Chantal Akerman's debut feature, and a rather divisive one at that. Sixty-something minutes of silent hotel lobbies, corridors, elevators, etc. A brilliant time capsule regardless, though it is a stark reminder of Akerman's restraint. Like with Jeanne Dielman, one might call it more of a "museum installation" in its form, while others consider it straight up unwatchable. Not me though. I actually kinda dig it.

    Granted, this is not the…

  • Fire in Castilla (Tactilvision from the Moor of the Fright)

    Fire in Castilla (Tactilvision from the Moor of the Fright)

    ★★★★★

    José Val del Omar may have been an innovator in some sense, though his techniques are so difficult to replicate that his influence is perhaps easier to miss. Some filmmakers lead a crowd to the new world, while Val del Omar walks alone while his posthumous legacy is not of contemporary mirrors, but of contemporary envy. Secluded from the wider world of cinema, much in the same way Brakhage or Lipsett had been around the same time.

    As if cinema…

  • Tokio Jokio

    Tokio Jokio

    Less of an opposition to evil and more a nationalistic preference to one's own. There may be more aggressive or direct forms of propaganda, even more uniquely awful variants of it, but I'd be hard pressed to find one so absent of any interest in any era.

    No points for creativity considering the big punchline would be a blink-and-miss-it throwaway in other Warner Bros. animated shorts at the time. This isn't some furious delusion or justified anger, at least not…

  • Little Boy Boo

    Little Boy Boo

    ★★★

    Very nearly crosses into the realm of anti-humor had it not been for its comfortably mediocre slapstick keeping things from accidental brilliance. I'd sooner have this concept be a smaller segment rather than a full short, with the gags being surprisingly repetitive for a six-ish minute runtime.

  • Thumb Fun

    Thumb Fun

    ★★★½

    Not as erotic as the title suggests. Robert McKimson doesn't tend to be as widely respected as the likes of Chuck Jones, Robert Clampett, or Tex Avery, but he gets a few memorable Daffy gags here. A fun little concept all things considered despite not fully reaching its potential. A good distraction from the growing tidal wave of car culture. I like to think Daffy is still redeemable - the abuse of slapstick has surely made him cynical and reactive to the world around him.

  • Impudence in Grunewald

    Impudence in Grunewald

    ★★

    I am not sure there is a more unwatchable film that would last very long on this website. Every new shot is like a scalpel to the eyes.

    Like okay, we're all desensitized to whatever exists online nowadays - Anatoly Slivko, Viktor Sayenko, Abraham Zapruder... but somehow, this handful of artists out of Austria evoke a similar reaction despite everybody seemingly walking away unscathed. They don't even seem upset! I'm upset and I'm not even in the same room. I'm…

  • 20/68: Schatzi

    20/68: Schatzi

    ★★★½

    Somewhere between haunted and tasteless, leaning more toward the former if only because of its restraint. More interesting in theory, or as a part to some larger installation, though I do think what it attempts to be is reasonably achieved, albeit done better and more directly by the likes of Malcolm Le Grice and Jean-Luc Godard.

  • Rabbit Every Monday

    Rabbit Every Monday

    ★★★½

    Pretty standard Yosemite Sam short with a couple of uniquely ambitious gags - not especially funny, though genuinely playful and impressive for the few times it subverts the usual formula. The rare Warner Bros. slapstick short that falls comfortably into the "chaotic good" designation, for whatever that's worth. Such a great closing line too - justification for a more wholesome madness.

  • The Goofy Gophers

    The Goofy Gophers

    ★★★

    When slapstick doesn't land, things start to feel kind of cruel - the concept of violence as comedy almost feels alien and barbaric for a moment. I don't care much for these gophers or their self-referentiality, even if they are a creative and inventive bunch. I hope the dog is happy now, wherever he is.

  • The Great Piggy Bank Robbery

    The Great Piggy Bank Robbery

    ★★★★½

    Peak chaos from Robert Clampett, intermixing some really raw comedic animation with surprisingly gorgeous designs. A terrific riff on the crime genre and a style of humor that if anything has aged remarkably well in its mile-a-minute madness. Surely there's a ton of stuff I missed in such a frenzied eight minutes - a difficult feat for animation especially.

  • O.J.: Made in America

    O.J.: Made in America

    ★★★★

    It's an extraordinary feeling watching the whole world get made and destroyed around the complex and undecided image of a single man. As if you began with a young football prospect and ended up with an entire century resting squarely on his shoulders; epic and confounding and contradicting and unresolved. I appreciate the ambition in recognizing that in order to tell the story of O.J. Simpson, you must then speak of anything and everything America was, is, or could be.…

  • Still Life

    Still Life

    ★★★★½

    Like A Simple Event before it, Still Life is astonishingly simple to the point where it exists in the mind as something far beyond each sequence on-paper.

    Such a brilliant idea for a filmmaker transfixed by minimalism and loneliness - a man making his living raising and lowering the gate where traffic meets the train tracks despite no traffic ever seeming to arrive. Despite not knowing his age, he knows exactly how many years he's worked at the same outpost…