• For Me and My Gal

    For Me and My Gal

    ★★★★

    Solid. Like a 900-page novel turned into a 90-minute picture. With twists and turns and twists and turns. And songs! Judy Garland is so great here.

  • I Carry You With Me

    I Carry You With Me

    ★★★★

    This is a very sensitive and thoughtful film. Very pleasant. The director Heidi Ewing is not a formalist theorist.

  • Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue

    Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue

    ★★★★

    I love Jia, but this seemed a bit… PBS-ish. Just talking heads.

  • Mangrove

    Mangrove

    ★★★★

    I love court room dramas and I love movies with a very simple progressive agenda.

  • Time

    Time

    ★★★★

    Wow. This was great. I cried.

  • The Salt of Tears

    The Salt of Tears

    ★★★★

    Like a lot of later Garrel, this follows the various romantic and sexual comings together and driftings apart of a group of people – here, centered on Luc, a young carpenter from the sticks who comes to Paris to attend a fancy cabinetmaking school. First, he falls for Jemila, then for an old high school flame, then for a nurse he meets in the city. As usual in later career, Garrel shoots in an almost bleached-out low-contrast black and white,…

  • The Human Voice

    The Human Voice

    ★★★

    Minor Almodovar.

  • The Calming

    The Calming

    ★★★★

    This one crept up on me. About twenty minutes into it, I thought to myself: jeez, this is a real snoozefest. It’s an autobiographical portrait of a young Chinese documentarian/artist. Interestingly, though, in depicting her own life, Song presents only moments of isolation and insignificance, leeching out all feeling from the tedium of her own existence. We see her walking around by herself, sitting alone by herself, sitting on moving trains by herself. She meets up with people, but every…

  • MLK/FBI

    MLK/FBI

    ★★★★

    This took a while to get into the swing of things: the first thirty minutes were a bit slow for me; they seemed bit too overviewish, if you ask me. But once they started talking about the surveillance, it really picked up, became fascinating. The last hour or so was compelling watching. By the end – as with most documentaries about King and the 60s, I got a little choked up. America’s so fucked up: always has been, probably always…

  • The Monopoly of Violence

    The Monopoly of Violence

    ★★★★

    Fascinating documentary of violent confrontations between protesters and police in France during the yellow vest protests – employing smartphone video footage shot by people involved in the protests and journalists edited together with talking head interviews with political philosophers and a smattering of protesters and a couple members of the police. The footage itself is eerie, disconcerting, creepy: the black-clad, faceless police force in this democratic country has the appearance of a fascist army, out of control. The film clearly…

  • Malmkrog

    Malmkrog

    ★★★★

    Unlike many ardent film buffs, I generally like talking films: talking seems just as – maybe even more – important than the visual design. But that’s just me. So I liked this one because it’s just three and a half hours of a group of 19th Russian aristocrats – speaking in French – talking about philosophy and politics and ethics and God.

    The discussion itself is meandering, both inspiring and enervating. One the one hand, it’s comforting to hear people…

  • Stray Dogs

    Stray Dogs

    ★★★★

    Given that Tsai has a reputation as a radical visual stylist and a purveyor of mood, it was fascinating to see him here paying such attention to narrative -- though given his radical visual style, you only quite begin to notice that he's even telling a story maybe one-third of the way into the movie. I had the same feeling I had years ago watching Jacques Rivette's L'AMOUR FOU: sometimes a really smart director working in an experimental vein can…