agamboi has written 28 reviews for films rated ★★★★★ .

  • Moonlight

    Moonlight

    ★★★★★

    It is obvious that our brokenness is often most painfully experienced with respect to our sexuality. My own and my friends' struggles make it clear how central our sexuality is to the way we think and feel about ourselves. Our sexuality reveals to us our enormous yearning for communion. The desires of our body ⁠— to be touched, embraced, and safely held ⁠— belong to the deepest longings of the heart and are very concrete signs of our search for oneness. It is precisely around this yearning for communion that we experience so much anguish.

    Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved, 73.

  • The Tree of Life

    The Tree of Life

    ★★★★★

    The Actually Good Christian Movie Marathon (5 of 6)

    Review to come

  • A Hidden Life

    A Hidden Life

    ★★★★★

    George Eliot wrote that "the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs." When this quote appears as the final line of A Hidden Life, it drops like a bomb. It functions as a hermeneutical key given only at the last possible moment, causing…

  • Uncut Gems

    Uncut Gems

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    An old Freudian dictum holds that all neuroses are the sex drive directed at the wrong object. Obsessed with success? Can't stop thinking about politics? Have an addiction to gambling? Sex, sex, and sex. Robert California of The Office put it simply: "There is only sex. Everything is sex. Do you understand that what I'm telling you is a universal truth?"

    Uncut Gems begins with a glaring Freudian comparison: the Ethiopian Opal, via the nice visual effects presumably attributable to…

  • Parasite

    Parasite

    ★★★★★

    My friend told me this movie was "about people who fold pizza boxes." And you know what? He's not wrong.

    Best of the year. Absolutely psycho in every way and piercing in its social commentary. Parasite is one of those movies with a fantastic, 100% A+ plot, and yet the plot still isn't even the most important or best part. I was totally enthralled by the storyline and its thrills but also by the class conflict and analysis. (They blur…

  • Lean on Pete

    Lean on Pete

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Christological film analysis, on a number of levels, does not work. First, when the director does not intend to make a film about Christ, we import excess meaning into their work and skew their intention, skewing also the fit they intended between their content and form. The piece of art as art falls apart when we make Christ the true object, because that imposition jars its form. Second, Jesus of Nazareth is a historical person and not an ahistorical force…

  • Come and See

    Come and See

    ★★★★★

    Criterion Channel Summer Hotlist (4 of 52).

    Enough pure terror to scar you for a long, long time. Come and See is as bleak as bleak gets and doesn't lighten for one second. The raw, unflinching visuals are enough to make you a pacifist. If you spend most of the movie thinking, "Who tf thinks of this?" just wait until the text-card at the end, when you are now forced to acknowledge, "Wait, it was all real? This really happened???"…

  • We the Animals

    We the Animals

    ★★★★★

    HOLY UNDER THE RADAR

    Better impressionism than Malick, better coming of age than Boyhood, stronger emotional impact than Moonlight, more meaningful suspense than Tarantino, higher, greater, clearer, weightier, smoother, everything. We the Animals is superlative in every way to all eight Best Picture nominees, that’s for fucking sure, if not all films but a handful from last year.

    I was stunned at every artistic decision. The quiet poetry in this film — the screenplay rhymed with itself — was most…

  • No Country for Old Men

    No Country for Old Men

    ★★★★★

    And in the dream I knew that he was goin' on ahead and that he was fixin' to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold, and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there. Out there up ahead.

    McCarthy's novel No Country for Old Men works on two levels. The central plot features a cat-and-mouse-game between an everyman welder who found some money, and an evil hitman bent on "keeping…

  • Light from Light

    Light from Light

    ★★★★★

    Chicago Critics Film Festival 2019

    Marin Ireland and Jim Gaffigan give lead performances marked by restrained grief and pained false optimism. The emotional complexity in Light from Light supplements an extremely simple plotline — very little happens in this film, and that's okay. Light from Light was pushing all my cinematic buttons at once: lingering gaze, minimal action, natural imagery for its own sake, teens who need help but reject the advice of adult figures who try to help them,…

  • Monos

    Monos

    ★★★★★

    Chicago Critics Film Festival 2019

    A masterpiece. I was so awestruck that I need to see it again to write a comprehensible review. The bold cinematography choices and talented young actors were both outlandishly good. I have few words for Monos or I'll spoil the glory of the film. Wow.

  • Alien

    Alien

    ★★★★★

    Chicago Critics Film Festival 2019

    Special 40th Anniversary screening, with Tom Skerritt in attendance!

    Gee wiz this might be the best film I have ever seen. The tension is palpable. Besides Inglorious Basterds this is the most successfully suspenseful film I’ve seen. The narrative is tight. The female hero probably meant more in 1979 than in the age of Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, but even still, feels powerful. The camera work, the lighting, the claustrophobia-inducing set, the acting, honestly all of it. My only regret is seeing Prometheus (the prequel to Alien) before seeing Alien itself.