• Hard Eight

    Hard Eight


    Paul Thomas Anderson's debut (still "P.T." at this point) certainly feels like one.

    The script, in particular, is very juvenile and unsure of itself, meandering when it isn't pandering.

    The characters, story, and dialogue are all pretty obviously Tarantino-lite, imitative of not just directorial entries but also True Romance, swiping ideas from the diner opening to the literal roundtable storytelling to the Samuel L. Jackson casting.

    Let's talk about the casting. Phillip Baker Hall steals the show here, but his…

  • Yi Yi

    Yi Yi


    "You can't see it, so I help you."

    This isn't slice-of-life; it's the whole cake.

    Fantastic wide angles that peer in rooms, over tracks, through windows and reflections and into the sky. Married with editing that smartly creates and directs meaning by mashing the audio of one scene over the images in the next, juxtaposing seemingly unrelated ideas into clearly formed thematic cohesion.

    Excellent usage of color and architecture and production design that makes everything feel as one and borne…

  • Richie Rich's Christmas Wish

    Richie Rich's Christmas Wish

    Fuck, I forgot about this shit.

    That's not to say I remember it, but I remember...experiencing it?

    Childhood is weird.

    The cover makes me hesitant to revisit lol

    Side note: You could leave the entire title and cover intact and it would totally work for a mixtape IMO. It's just so ridiculous it's already circling back to creepy or ironic without any alteration.

  • Chungking Express

    Chungking Express


    A whirlwind daydream of heartbreak and longing.

    There's a painterly and playful aesthetic here that feels like melting watercolors. Water plays a big part in the film, the blue tones mixing with the wetness and the tears and the music.

    It's great music, both the score and the soundtrack, including a particularly neat Cranberries cover with altered lyrics.

    The absurdity turns meta often and comic even more frequently, with Lynch-like fogginess and Coen-like repetition and interplay: multiple Maes, two cop…

  • Trailer Park Boys: The Movie

    Trailer Park Boys: The Movie


    Pretty much a long episode of the show, although it's honestly not quite as funny as a given 4 or 5 episode stretch of the show, and it moves too slowly for its own good.

  • Shocker



    For Wes Craven, by Wes Craven.

    Shocker prods at the idea of media's desensitizing effect and of contagious vicarious violence.

    The tone is odd, clearly going for the slapstick-but-still-scary vibe of A Nightmare on Elm Street, but coming up short in a weird middle ground that's too straightforward and dark to be funny but too ridiculous and melodramatic to be scary.

    Our script and characters are B-movie quality, and they're pretty much played that way. Peter Berg isn't quite awful…

  • The Black Cat

    The Black Cat


    I don't really understand why this is called The Black Cat. Or what it's really about, besides Bela Lugosi getting revenge on Boris Karloff. But that's cool, I guess.

    Things start off somewhat rocky, with a relatively unexciting opening third that focuses too much on our not-even-really-characters Mr. and Mrs. Bland, who are basically human Macguffins in this film.

    The editing is also rougher during this portion, with a few odd shot transitions and at least one scene transition that…

  • Sansho the Bailiff

    Sansho the Bailiff


    This film doesn't pretend to have an answer.

    At first I felt put off by the message, which is more or less: "life sucks; be nice anyway."

    But ya know, that's about as honest and earnest as it gets, and the evidence for its rightness is the picture itself and its own realism.

    Lots of gorgeous shots, particularly when the shots are less concerned with the characters. In particular, the sequence featuring Anju's descent is breathtakingly powerful.

    Those characters are…

  • The Haunting

    The Haunting


    Honestly did not even realize this was a remake of that movie everyone else loves that I can't fuck with until after it started.

    But we ended up in about the same spot!

    I will say I prefer the setup here, although its ultimate execution is every bit as sloppy. And the production design, which was one of the few things I admired in the original, is probably again the biggest strength here.

    The interior of Hill House and its…

  • Blind Alley

    Blind Alley


    Feels more like an overly stretched out TV serial than an honest-to-God film, despite the decent cinematography.

    Freud Lite surface-level "investigation" of the Big Traumatic Event making our psycho killer antagonist go Criminally Insane in a series of exchanges throughout the film that go more or less as follows:

    "Talk to me."


    "Talk to me."


    "Talk to me."

    "OK, fine."

    And so we repetitively slow-crawl our way to the finish line, in which an actually-pretty-cool flashback scene depicts…

  • Idiots and Angels

    Idiots and Angels


    Stunning animation in a Gary Larson meets David Lynch-style silent noir.

    With its weighty, self-aware art style, Idiots and Angels depicts visual metaphor throughout vignettes of dark comedy and tragic body horror.

    The animation is extremely unique and striking, with geometrical emphasis and kaleidoscopic views of morphing objects and characters which transform and meld into each other.

    I do have some issues with the handling of the diegetic/thematic implications of the outcomes of the characters here, as covered in this…

  • In & Out

    In & Out


    "Homophobia is OK as long as it's being generally disgusted and weirded out and semi-subtly treating someone different socially, but it's not OK when it's firing someone from their job or saying you don't love them as a family member anymore."

    Seriously, this is the opposite of progressive.

    The entire film is a culmination of gay stereotype (count the number of Streisand jokes; they're roughly 40% of the total "comedy") as character, with every other "character" a straight (one exception!),…