• No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★★

    Happy Monday, hope everyone’s had a great Spooktober so far. Sorry that I have missed all your reviews. You might have noticed this absence (or not) because I had a surprisingly busy week. Combined with the fact that I usually get a little burned out at HIFF, I had a feeling the first week of October wouldn’t be strong in terms of movie watching. It’s appropriate then that the only movie I saw last week was the new Bond movie…

  • The Bloodstained Butterfly

    The Bloodstained Butterfly

    ★★★

    How has every movie I've seen in the past five days had such an incredible soundtrack? Italians sure know how to compose their scores, and name their giallos after animals. Although, The Bloodstained Butterfly isn't exactly the perfect example of a traditional giallo. Its slow pace is comparable to Argento's The Cat O' Nine Tails but it's more focused on police procedural and even includes the accused killer's juridical battle. Things get more complicated, however, and the film carries its…

  • Gangster's Law

    Gangster's Law

    I watched Gangster's Law because I came across Piero Umiliani's absolutely incredible score on the interweb but this was easily the most torturous viewing experience I've ever put myself through. I watched the film via a VHS rip on YouTube where the audio was skipping and came through only one side of my headphones, half of the picture was cropped off frame, and the quality was approximately 20 pixels. I could hardly recognize more than maybe four characters which made…

  • The Cat o' Nine Tails

    The Cat o' Nine Tails

    ★★★½

    Argento, and to some extent Bava with his visuals, continue to delve into the world of senses. Not only in the form of Morricone's score or arresting compositions but by focusing on the characters' hearing and sight. Here it's blatant in Madsen's character who is blind and has to rely on his hearing, but it also manifests itself through multiple POV shots and the trademark red blood which makes you uncomfortable mentally and elevates the sensation of getting cut yourself.…

  • Blood and Black Lace

    Blood and Black Lace

    ★★★★

    I'm helpless in the face of moody jazz scores. And Rustichelli's theme is one atmospheric MFer. The credits pull you in immediately with the trumpets, percussions, and Bava's lush colors. I haven't paid too much attention to colors in gialli so far but here it's impossible to ignore. Flashing neons in dark antique shops, stylish clothing, bloody reds, red in signs, mannequins drenched in stunning reds and violets. What a brilliantly stylized world completed by a faceless killer, fluid camera…

  • The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

    The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

    ★★★½

    Okay, so apparently Suspiria isn't giallo. I only learned that fact during summer which should tell you I'm a total novice to this genre.

    Argento's debut, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, is hailed to be the one that started the craze although it wasn't the first of its kind. In fact, I did get a taste of the genre with Petri's A Quiet Place in the Country but that was kind of insane and had a lot more experimental…

  • Black Is … Black Ain’t

    Black Is … Black Ain’t

    How in the hell am I supposed to review this? Riggs says at the end that he lived his life through his work, and that he remains hopeful that Black people will overcome their struggles against all odds. Black Is… Black Ain’t feels like the culmination of his ideologies as well as his techniques with which he used to express those ideas. This documentary is insanely all-encompassing and holistic. Obviously saying that goes against the whole idea of the documentary,…

  • No Regret

    No Regret

    Riggs first frames a singer in silhouette and covers parts of the speakers' faces. They tell about stigma and denial, fear and death, "burdening" their family members with their AIDS, disassociating themselves from what is happening. It's a sequence of 10 minutes that is soaked in fear and shame giving of a feel that something is being repressed. When one of the men finally tells how he opened up to his mother, Riggs simultaneously reveals their faces. This move expands…

  • Color Adjustment

    Color Adjustment

    In Color Adjustment Riggs makes an adjustment of his own by returning to the style of his projects before Tongues Untied when he had a methodical and traditional approach to a single subject. With interviews, archival footage and program clips Riggs traces the evolution of primetime television's depiction of Black people and their roles. After getting rid of overtly racist stereotypes the battle to have realistic and grounded Black characters on TV was far from over. This documentary gets into…

  • Anthem

    Anthem

    ★★★★

    More experimentational but as loving and empowering as Affirmations. The reciting of poetry is cut to inserts of text, lines are repeated, flag of America is flashed after ACT UP's flag is merged with the shape of Africa, rhythmic music controls the flow, Black men kissing are layered with different color filters, bodies become form of expression as powerful as speech.

    "Rewriting history. Rearranging syllables. Revolution. Revolution, revolution revolutionrevolutionrevolution"

    Marlon Riggs ranked

  • Affirmations

    Affirmations

    A loving and intimate tale of lost virginity and liberation expanding to a larger context of pride in being gay and Black. Riggs made his masterpiece, Tongues Untied, a year prior and continues with smaller scale experimentation of blending sound and image in this and in Anthem.

    Marlon Riggs ranked

  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith

    Mr. & Mrs. Smith

    ★★★★½

    Last time I watched Mr. & Mrs. Smith in March I was a little reserved about calling it truly great but that reservation is now gone. Toxic relationship movies are my weakness because of how exhilarating they are to watch but usually the fun would be undercut by the reality of being stuck in an unhealthy relationship. Placing that subgenre into the confines of action-comedy provides double the entertainment but it risks making the relationship and its struggles unbelievable and absolutely…