• Central Park

    Central Park

    ★★★★

    Ironic to watch this in the midst of social distancing and self-isolation. How dramatically we undervalue a sanctuary like Central Park, buzzing with life. Everything in America is happening in this park, it's a vital microcosm of social strata. A superimposition of what a park can mean to all peoples. In this one location are transients and theater practice, a memoriam quilt for victims of the AIDS crisis and a pride parade, careful bird watchers and gardeners evicting aphids. Communities…

  • Vitalina Varela

    Vitalina Varela

    ★★★★½

    Documenting memories by archiving space. Exploring spirits through concrete, towed walls, tiled floors. How do you say goodbye to an estranged someone that was already a ghost in your mind? How can you return to Fontainhas, whose destruction soundtracked In Vanda's Room, where half-destroyed walls are memorials. The mode of existence rendered by marching shadows of remaining citizens. Incandescent faces among ruin. Or is Vitalina the specter to Lisbon, emerging from deep shadows in this old house hitting her head…

  • Street of Shame

    Street of Shame

    ★★★★

    Mizoguchi's thesis film, his final work which settles and binds everything before it. Vignettes of Dreamland, a brothel in Yoshiwara, rendered in deep layers of focus. An advanced course in articulating a space, sometimes up to eight actors staged in thin slices of space shadowing and replacing one another. Fresh-faced Micky placed higher in the frame when she first arrives only to settle onto the same plane as the rest of the women. The camera moves with exactness, often choosing…

  • WHAT DID JACK DO?

    WHAT DID JACK DO?

    People act like "Lynchian" means gnarled symbolism and unfollowable logic, but in reality it is just a detective wielding a very small gun chasing a monkey in a suit whose only crime was loving too much which makes you shockingly emotional. King shit, we love to see it.

  • Casting Blossoms to the Sky

    Casting Blossoms to the Sky

    ★★★★½

    People inextricable from place, place indivisible from past. "If victory is peace, wars will never end [...] The V sign is peace for the winners." Within knotted historiography and rigorous didacticism Ōbayashi's formal expressionism enlivens and underlines living histories. Rhyming the Fat Man and Little Boy bombs with fireworks, fireworks with flowers, ghosts of people with ghosts of relationships. This is almost like the skeleton key to Ōbayashi's entire oeuvre: memories, coexistence of past and present, the pathos of festivals,…

  • The Irishman

    The Irishman

    ★★★★½

    Only scattered and messy thoughts on this complex monolith so far, but viscerally Scorsese has rendered a profoundly, profoundly sad illustrative blueprint of reflexivity. An 80 year-old Sheeran exhaustively recounting each decision that lead him here, almost coddled by death's embrace, alone in a nursing home requesting the door not be closed all the way. Or viewed in a wide angle forlornly watching meaningless September baseball, only killing time, only remembered by the ones he pushed away. The Irishman opens…

  • Touki Bouki

    Touki Bouki

    ★★★★½

    Sententious Afrofuturism, almost mythological. Tape Music singing looped, Josephine Baker croons "Paris, Paris, Paris / A piece of heaven on earth" repeating infiniment, vocalizations of Djibril Diop Mambéty's radicalism and the freewheeling desires of his characters to extricate themselves. The destination or departure towards Paris is not important, but rather the idea of freedom that the act of the voyage provides. The fierce shouting of your freedom in a post-colonized country's neocolonialism. Elders forbidding youth's wayfaring dreams, but the caged…

  • Innocent Blood

    Innocent Blood

    ★½

    33 of 33 for HoopTober 6/6/6

    Lethargic tonal nightmare and hollow farce. A purported send-up of posturing gangsterisms married with vampires that ceaselessly misfires comedy ("What about Italian?") and never even approaches terror. The scariest thing in the film is the skeevy strip club scene near the end, Landis' camera ogling the women sends a chill down your spine. Penned by first (and last) time screenwriter Michael Wolk, his script pulls the movie in eight different directions all of them…

  • Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror

    Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror

    ★★★

    32 of 33 for HoopTober 6/6/6

    What essentially amounts to a well made bonus feature, a cursory look at representation 101. Horror Noire has ambitions of being an exhaustive piece, but there's this lingering discordant desire to also be accessible, like a digestible primer for something much deeper. In 2019 representation in film and archival reevaluation within film history is such a necessary topic that in the truncated nature of its 83 minute runtime it skims the surface of the…

  • Violated Angels

    Violated Angels

    ★★★★

    31 of 33 for HoopTober

    Repressive politics feeding into repressive sexuality. The systematic murders of Richard Speck commandeered as a framework for a reflexive pinku eiga deconstruction on the convergence of the two. Still images of commercial erotica intercut with our eventual killer (credited only as the "Handsome Boy"), his smile at them and voyeuristic gaze of women on the street announcing social realism. Two nurses engage in a lesbian romance, their tryst stealthily watched by the other nurses of…

  • Burial Ground

    Burial Ground

    ★★½

    30 of 33 for HoopTober 6/6/6

    Or, Zombie Breast Eaters. Primal sleaze and undiluted exploitation. In it's day-for-night plot deficient cold open a professor (maybe?) looses a zombie horde after inviting three bourgeoisie couples to his mansion. Constantly ambling in and out of accidental interests, for every well-made maggot-adorned zombie there's yet another skin scene between our insufferable cast of characters. Perhaps the vapidness is intentional commentary but Andrea Bianchi or Piero Regnoli do nothing to indicate such conscious thoughtlessness.…

  • Critters

    Critters

    ★★½

    29 of 33 for HoopTober 6/6/6

    The second Gremlins knock off of my HoopTober, Critters is very, very obviously better than Hobgoblins, but it never coalesces into something that overcomes the pastiche of 1950s creature sci-fi it's upending. With its sardonic tone, like Gremlins, it offers an anarchist retort to the small town Americana of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial literalized at one point when one Critter chomps the head off of an E.T. doll after interrogating "Who are you?". This is…