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  • For a Few Dollars More

    For a Few Dollars More

    ★★★★½

    Hard to praise enough the shots and performances that sell the dread that fills characters staring death in the eyes, faces drenched in sweat. Men, moral and amoral, with nothing to live for and nothing worthwhile to gain still long for life.

  • Close-Up

    Close-Up

    Sabzian: a man so dissatisfied with his status and so focussed on living life vicariously that only this faux-documentary form befits his story.

    Crafting narrative out of already crafted narrative, Kiarostami lets the subject become himself only through performance based on his posing as a director, his most affected point. As much a film about inspiration to find/create/adapt art as about the public's reception to what you produce. That Kiarostami managed to have all parties involved agree to reenact the…

  • Black Mirror: Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too

    Black Mirror: Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too

    ★½

    This season's really lost its grip on the single-device setups that made the earlier episodes stand out even in their weaker moments.

    An episode about not selling out feels like the show's most audience-tested, crowd-pleasing one yet. It sheds a bit of the show's moralizing, for sure (though Smithereens seems fully indecisive on whether it wants to hang its head and say that it's been too hard on phones), but consequence feels lost and the end result, like with Bandersnatch, feels more manufactured regardless of the payoff.

    Btw does NIN just not exist in the Black Mirror universe?

  • Black Mirror: Striking Vipers

    Black Mirror: Striking Vipers

    ★½

    Happy pride, now I guess we're *straighting queerness* for our subversive scifi show!!

    So close to engaging with ideas of simulation and virtual reality as ways of experimenting and exploring sexuality, but barely skims the surface. The hinting towards body image/gender questioning is so throwaway it's embarrassing; commentary at the most shallow level. Despite the show's disinterest, I can at least say Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has a character, if a flimsy one, but was there a point where Anthony "Sad…

  • Dragged Across Concrete

    Dragged Across Concrete

    Provocateur cinema or showcasing the internalized, general-but-singular-focused hatred that projects itself unto the urban jungle? And if both, still solid pulp with crazy stellar production design and performances. Really digs into age, too; beyond just a generational analysis.

  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

    John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

    ★★★★

    Weakened by way too much emphasis on lore expansion making for some unfortunate absences of the personal stakes that fuel its best moments, but for the most part, an engrossing long funeral march. Stahelski and co. deliver again with incredible action that almost threatens to pique with an impossibly brilliant knife fight.

    As the violence pours out heavier than the franchise has gone before, it becomes obvious that John is essentially invincible, so why then does his pain and the…

  • The New World

    The New World

    ★★★★½

    Extended cut.

    Malick's films feel like they're literally breathing life in every single moment. His sense of impermanence is perhaps most at home here.

  • Demonlover

    Demonlover

    Resignation into ownership, that inevitability blaring at you, screaming at you, sounding off and looping before your eyes the entire way.

  • Tetro

    Tetro

    ★★★★

    The repurposing of lights and flashes to indicate fears of death, fame, and legacy as constant and inescapable is mind-blowing. Gazing into the minds of linked artists struggling to adapt and invent, surrounded by inspiration and grim reminders.

  • In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place

    ★★★★½

    Truth as something both capable of sparking massive love and unfathomable pain.

  • Under the Silver Lake

    Under the Silver Lake

    ★★½

    Doesn't go nearly far enough in its critique of Sam to justify its self-indulgent narrative. For that matter, feels indecisive on whether it wants to be motivated by a deconstruction of pop culture obsession or justify this through arguing that complete societal fixation is normalized. Garfield's performance is probably the best I've seen from him yet his character still appears too aimless, inaccessible to become invested in and the outside too seemingly normalized to accept it as being shaped through…

  • Dead Man

    Dead Man

    Jarmusch's late western frontier reflects the ugly reconciliation that shaped manifest destiny: the acceptance of death as inevitable, therefore justifiable, therefore exploitable, and the commitment to manufacturing that thought cycle and its perception long after until it became legendary.