• Center Stage

    Center Stage

    ★★★★★

    There's a gauzy, half-remembered quality to Center Stage, an examination of the artifice of cinema and invocation of the beyond that comes with reanimating lost souls in celluloid form. It's a haziness that manifests especially in how Kwan lights the film, overexposed highlights drenching everything the camera lingers upon in a radiant glow of white, as if the history we are witnessing is nothing but an illusion.

    Of course, it's all an illusion. The film cuts into documentary and archival…

  • Duelle

    Duelle

    ★½

    There is no force on this Earth more terrifying than the ability for French men to come up with great ideas for movies and direct them in the most boring ways imaginable

  • We're All Going to the World's Fair

    We're All Going to the World's Fair

    ★★★★

    There are countless strands for such a seemingly slight work to allow most anyone even vaguely familiar with the modern internet to connect to, but what was most striking to me (even beyond just how thoughtfully and deliberately cinematic Schoenbrun's treatment of such seemingly "uncinematic" material is handled) is in how quintessentially midwestern World's Fair is.

    It's a cold movie, a lonely movie, a walking on a crowded freeway across countless strip malls in the coldest dregs of February across…

  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer

    The Killing of a Sacred Deer

    ★½

    Lanthimos treats surrealism with the most blunt approach possible, stupid people standing in empty rooms speaking as machines in lieu of testing the boundaries of the cinematic form (and no, steadicam and slightly unconventional framing is not actually experimental). The genuine horror of the concept is wasted when every major plot reveal is accompanied with an overbearing musical sting, the elevated horror equivalent of a sitcom light telling the audience to scream. Had he used literally any other technique to…

  • The Gold Rush

    The Gold Rush

    ★★★★½

    Helped organize a screening for this on my campus! Seeing Chaplin in a theater is always a bizarre feeling, and especially for a work that is pulling itself back through time despite nearing it's centennial.

    The fundamental timelessness of Chaplin's storytelling (where larger than life characters play out social inequity with equal parts humor and sorrow) makes his films feel profoundly resonant. Here, the mythologizing of the gold rush (which itself mythologized Chaplin and The Tramp) translates characters and sign…

  • Needing You...

    Needing You...

    ★★★★

    The cinematic equivalent of feeling butterflies soar in the deepest part of your gut when you see the one you love.

  • House

    House

    ★★★★½

    Saw this at an outdoor theater with a lightning storm flaring up around us as a concert went off in the background.

    Perhaps the only movie that benefits from this kind of chaos.

  • Happy Together

    Happy Together

    ★★★★½

    It's possibly reductive to frame this primarily within the context of Hong Kong's looming (if not active) handover to the mainland, but also impossible to view this film without approaching the elephant in the room. This is perhaps why the aimlessness of this relationship isn't just cellular, but almost cosmic in its scope - the image of the Igazu Falls feels like the Earth itself weeping for the heartbreak Lai feels, a wildly irresponsible transposition of human emotion to the…

  • Final Destination 5

    Final Destination 5

    ★★★½

    Slayage

  • Love in the Time of Twilight

    Love in the Time of Twilight

    ★★★★★

    Connections through time and space and everything inbetween, wires and ribbons and relationships bonding us beyond the comprehension of the material world. Hark's formal playfulness constantly expands on itself with equal parts sincerity and chaotic verve, love as a force of mischief and as universal justice that underpins every other aspect of existence, that is the foundation upon which existence itself is based.

    This formal playfulness also grounds the density of Hark's filmmaking and the headiness of its themes with…

  • Cléo from 5 to 7

    Cléo from 5 to 7

    ★★★★★

    Rewatching this is like seeing an old friend for the first time in years, and instantly remembering exactly what made them so deeply special to me.

    Varda's love for humanity is as apparent as her understated formal mastery - every space Cléo occupies reflects (often literally) or reveals her character in a new light, making her a part of Paris just as Paris is so evidently a part of her. It is the mise-en-scène film, the warmest member of the…

  • The Northman

    The Northman

    ★★★

    Eggers' professed love of the magick and the Weird is lost in the Hollywood of it all, the imposition of American cultural values castrating what could've been one of the most devoted (or at least, interesting) translations of cultural legend to blockbuster scale in recent years.

    The movie's lack of identity is apparent from the outset, as the brutally rote plot plays out in the most spectacularly expected prologue imaginable. Eggers' technical competence is proven in the clarity with which…