• Tracked

    Tracked

    ★★★★

    Someone else noted the parallels to Kieślowski, but my dumbass couldn't stop thinking about Sloppy Steaks. “I used to be a piece of shit,” a Tim Robinson character named Shane says in a sketch from I Think You Should Leave. Robinson plays it for laughs, but the tragic kind. Shane's so hung up on his past, that it stops him from forming the connections he needs to reach a better future. Gosha is markedly more ambivalent about one's right to redemption, and Tokichi's inevitable fall implies that nobody is entitled to a second chance - especially if you used to be a complete piece of shit.

  • Eureka

    Eureka

    ★★★½

    Originally shot as part of Shell's Real Energy campaign, Eureka was a remarkably cinematic advertisement distributed through magazines and gas stations (that’s where I got my copy). Yes, the film's messaging is blatant greenwashing - Max's ambivalence over fracking is brushed off as teenage angst, peripheral to his father's quest for easily extractable oil - but its unwavering competence and artistic intent are still laudable. There's no reason why the fractured father/son dynamic needs to be this compelling, or why…

  • Barry Lyndon

    Barry Lyndon

    ★★★★★

    In Barry Lyndon, Kubrick loosely adapts Thackeray’s fictional autobiography of Redmond Barry, an Irish scoundrel recounting his adventurous life as a soldier, deserter, gambler, and lover who scales the British social ladder to the top before limping back to where he started – among the petty bourgeoisie of Ireland.

    A key stylistic aspect is the use of the zoom as a transition from one point of focus to another, typically as a medium-close to an extreme long, providing momentum and…

  • California Split

    California Split

    ★★★★½

    California Split is set in the world of gamblers, or rather it speaks of those who bet on everything, from the color of the passing cars to the names of the Seven Dwarfs. Altman’s ability to capture crowded places and move from one group to another with overlapping dialogues lends itself particularly well to this subject and provides long sequences during which the only purpose is immersion in an environment, noisy and profuse, where the lively spontaneity of the working…

  • Boogie Nights

    Boogie Nights

    ★★★★★

    Paul Thomas Anderson’s "Boogie Nights" (1997) operates as a double maneuver: not only as a humanistic POV on the porn industry, picking up where he left off on "The Dirk Diggler Story" (1988), but as a narrative in conversation with film history; Examining the end of one era and the beginning of another, through the perspective of two adjacent industries about to undergo one of its most brutal changes - the transition between theaters and VHS.

    Just as Tim Burton…

  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    ★★★★

    It says a lot of what you like about movies or at least Tarantino movies if you prefer the last act or the character stuff preceding it. The same principle goes for "Inglorious Bastards": if you prefer the Bastards portion or the Shosanna (Melanie Laurent) scenes.

    The ostensible "heart" of the movie is Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and Pussycat (Margaret Qualley). Tate and Pussycat symbolize different versions of the vivacious, naïve women swept up by the Hollywood machine, with cults…

  • The Birth of a Nation

    The Birth of a Nation

    ★★★½

    Cinema’s introduction to “historical revisionism” came by way of the first ambitious American feature, D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915), which attempts to preserve and recontextualize the legacy of Reconstruction and Southern “Redemption”. To that end, Griffith rewrites significantly iconic historical moments, presenting an alternate reality affecting the convincing combination of documentary realism and still nascent Hollywood melodrama.

    The first part of the film takes pains to align itself within the historical genre, with meticulous reconstructions denoted as…

  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    ★★★★½

    Writing about Dr. Strangelove hours after Russia bombed Ukraine’s capital feels oddly therapeutic. As if knowing how the end of mankind played out in Kubrick’s alternate reality, instigated by a handful of men plagued by ego and paranoia, takes away from the uncertainty of it all. Perhaps the fears associated with Mutually Assured Destruction come from a place of privilege, espoused by countries too large and integrated into the global system to be conquered. Maybe if Ukraine kept their nuclear…

  • Il Buco
  • The Card Counter

    The Card Counter

    ★★★★

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

    $6 trillion and 900,000 dead. Organizations the size of the US military can't use naivete as an excuse. If the only exit strategy you have relies on something so improbable that it hasn't happened in decades, it was never a real exit strategy.

    So when Tell convinces himself that he can save Cirk, that he's able to leverage his talents and resources to enact positive change in the world, he's being naive. Scaring Cirk into repairing his relationship with his…

  • The Fever

    The Fever

    ★★½

    I’m staying at a resort town in Mexico and this came on LOL

  • F9

    F9

    ★★★

    Every scene is either a reunion, introduction, or explosion