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  • Demons

    Demons

    ★★★★

    Like Shinoda's Double Suicide and Ichikawa's An Actor's Revenge, Toshio Matsumoto's Demons infuses classical Japanese theater with a distinctly modern sensibility, reshaping a traditional tragic story to convey a deeply held resentment toward and disgust with Japanese society's cruelty and greed. Matsumoto is generates an almost stomach-churning tension as his characters slowly reveal the universal corruption of mankind, but it's the film's masterful cinematography, using pools of lightness and darkness to transform the (mostly) single setting from something resembling a stage into a world of its own. Absolutely stunning.

  • Deep Breath

    Deep Breath

    ★★

    Dumont's pastoral absurdism without the formal acumen or spiritual underpinnings to help it rise above empty provocation and exploitation.

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  • Pickup on South Street

    Pickup on South Street

    ★★★★½

    Pickup on South Street, Sam Fuller’s brutal yet sensual masterpiece, begins on a speeding subway train, full of colliding bodies stuffed inside like canned sardines. No one speaks, but everyone glances; some at the floor or out the window, others at unsuspecting passengers, yet all attempting in one way or another to not betray what’s truly on their mind. Every initial glance is revealed to be misdirected until our anti-hero, Skip McCoy, bursts onto the scene to meet the sultry…

  • Burning

    Burning

    ★★★★

    Was not at all prepared for the shift into Antonioni-esque thriller territory in the second half of this. The scene where Hae-mi and Ben visit Jongsu's farm is likely the scene of the year so far, not only for how it tightens the psychological tensions between the two men and complicates our understanding of all three character's troubled psychological states but for how it recalibrates the film's focus (after Hae-mi's African dance) to something far grander and more elusive than…