• I Don't Want to Be a Man

    I Don't Want to Be a Man

    ★★★½

    I joined the all new How Would Lubistch Do It? podcast to cover a myriad of issues on this defining early feature of the director's career, including covering its oft inclusion as a key early work of Trans Cinema.

  • The Cardinal

    The Cardinal

    ★★★★

    In one of my likely abandoned history articles, I was writing a history of copyright law in postwar France, and particular the fights around whether directors would be formally given "moral rights" and thus bestowed as authors within the legal landscape of art (for thos trivia nerds: it was this law that allowed the Huston family to sue and stop the colorization of The Asphault Jungle in the 1950s). What struck me is how little involved the major film critics…

  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

    Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

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

    One of the main complaints repeated around Glass Onion as was in Knives Out is whether the numerous references to reality and “the present” to put it bluntly, is a shtick. I think if you pick up any Christie novel or watch any of the early 30s films like The Thin Man, you will find actually a surprising number of references, whether to Princess Elizabeth, Mary Augusta Ward, or the Dick Jurgens Band, things that will immediately set the era.…

  • The Fabelmans

    The Fabelmans

    Wild that the two most important cinematic references Spielberg uses beyond his own filmography is Antonioni's Blow Up and Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia.

  • The Decks Ran Red

    The Decks Ran Red

    ★★★½

    Maybe as Twitter dies and my new job is less focused on writing about old films I can get back into the letterboxd game...

    Shown at the Academy Museum obstensibly as part of a Dorothy Dandridge series, here forced into a role playing the Maori wife stuck on a boat. The film can't decide whether Dandridge should be a sex kitten or a vulnerable ingenue sadly so she does her best alternating between the two. But that's all sideshow to…

  • Moonfall

    Moonfall

    ★★½

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

    The whole secret premise of Independence Day: Resurgence was to actually use it to set up what Roland Emmerich clearly wanted to make: a giant space opera where humans joined one side of an intergalactic war. Obviously that didn't work out, in part because Resurgence was one of the worst pieces of garbage in recent memory. Since that he did Midway, which was also a passion project of sorts and put him in touch with Chinese investors that contributed here.…

  • Inglourious Basterds

    Inglourious Basterds

    ★★★★½

    It’s All True

  • The French Dispatch

    The French Dispatch

    ★★★★

    A film about depth beyond the surface. Anderson's films almost always appear in two dimensions to us, so what is apparent throughout is how often the film seems to push further in or out within the frame. Layered surfaces are literally pulled back to reveal something in and out. Temporal strategies are employed throughout to contextualize art in ways otherwise inexpressible. An aside of (violent?) sexual rapture requires moving closer in to the audience to break the spell of presentation.…

  • Licorice Pizza

    Licorice Pizza

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

    What was so fascinating was being 45 minutes into and being like "I have no idea where this is going at all." Especially having these big movie stars come in for something and in like 2 or 3 scenes, and literally disappearing. The running metaphor is probably the most curious: keep hustling, keep moving, the last thing you can do is slow down [or stop without gas]. Nothing goes really anywhere, but it's thus like the more accurate version of…

  • Red Notice

    Red Notice

    There are more shows and films to watch than ever before. So why does it feel so hard to find something good? Turns out this is just another effect of Hollywood's exploitation of labor and its poor business practices in the Streaming Revolution. Today I'm on "The Politics of Everything," a podcast from The New Republic, discussing why streaming made Hollywood Suck more than ever.

  • Black Widow

    Black Widow

    No I did not watch this. But I'm over at IGN this week with some quick analysis of the recent lawsuit begun by Ms. Johansson over this film's theatrical release and the future of streaming. A teaser:

    "This will lead to a tough question for fans: Do you see the Marvel Cinematic Universe as belonging to the studio and its underlying intellectual property, or its creators that inhabit and make these roles iconic in the first place? In our digital…

  • Ready Player One

    Ready Player One

    "Skeptics will say that independent filmmakers will just hustle, as they always have. But that becomes harder when digital distribution — and the need to access these primary platforms to make any profit — strangles the industry. Giants such as Netflix are positioned to control which films get made and how, without necessarily following the preferences of consumers.

    But antitrust offers a solution. For more than a century, the U.S. has used antitrust laws to break up or curb monopolies…