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  • Sworn to the Drum: A Tribute to Francisco Aguabella

    Sworn to the Drum: A Tribute to Francisco Aguabella

    ★★★½

    The fourteenth and final short documentary in Criterion's collection of Les Blank's documentaries is about an Afro-Cuban drummer named Francisco Aguabella. Afro-Cuban music is adjacent to, and often associated with, jazz, so I was familiar with some of the people in this film (particularly Dizzy Gillespie and Carlos Santana), but as much as I listen to jazz music, this particular style isn't one I'm super familiar with. It was interesting to learn more about it. This music is deeply connected…

  • The Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists

    The Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists

    ★★★★

    The thirteenth short documentary in Criterion's 'Les Blank: Always For Pleasure' boxset is about an artist by the name of Gerry Gaxiola. I don't think there's so much as a Wikipedia article about Gerry Gaxiola, but his story is really interesting! He worked for much of his life in various jobs before finally deciding with great conviction one day that he would quit work and become an artist, something which he had no real training in. He also, at the…

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  • The Irishman

    The Irishman

    ★★★★½

    My tenth film by Martin Scorsese. I think this marks the longest film I've ever seen in a theater and the first time I've gone to see a movie made for a streaming service in theaters instead of just watching it at home.
    I've got a lot of kind of scattered thoughts on this movie, but overall I thought it was very good, although I don't know if I would have the attention span to watch another film of this…

  • Uncut Gems

    Uncut Gems

    ★★★★

    My second film by the Safdie Brothers.
    To begin with, from the two that I've seen and from what I read about their other films, it's evident that as directors, the Safdies produce films with one very particular energy to them, which is something akin to an almost constant heightened sense of extreme anxiety. This is accomplished by having their protagonists be impulsive and short-sighed to an extreme fault - it's an uncomfortable person to have to accompany for the…