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  • Polyester

    Polyester

    ★★★★½

    A housewife's life unravels after she finds out her pornographer husband is cheating on her, her daughter is two months pregnant and wants to get an abortion and her son is a foot fetishist who injures women's feet. I have to say that this may be my favorite John Waters film. It combines the slickness of his '80s and '90s films with the wild and crazy elements of his '70s works. All of that is enveloped in this film that…

  • Utopia

    Utopia

    ★★★

    Two corrupt cops, a YouTuber, a drug dealer, a couple of hit men, some petty criminals and other sorts of characters collide one night underneath a comet. I have to say that there is an actual great movie to be made with this material. It feels a bit like a Coen Brothers film in its dark comedy tone. But I believe this film bit off a bit more than it could chew because its shift from comedy to social commentary…

  • Ford v Ferrari

    Ford v Ferrari

    ★★★★

    This is the true story of how automotive designer and engineer Carroll Shelby and British race car driver Ken Miles under the Ford Motor Company designed a car, raced and beat Ferrari at automotive racing. This is what I personally like to call a "dad movie". Sometimes that is a pejorative but this time, it's actually an excellent example of a "dad movie". I have next to no knowledge of this event, not being a car racing fan nor even…

  • The Truth

    The Truth

    ★★★½

    A famous French actress has written an autobiography and her daughter and her family comes to visit and this reopens some old wounds. I was very much looking forward to this. Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche (along with Ethan Hawke) being directed by one of Japan's current major auteurs, Hirokazu Koreeda in his first non-Japanese film! It turns out to be my least favorite Koreeda film....but that doesn't mean I disliked it. Far from it. This is still a very…

  • The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão

    The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão

    ★★★★½

    It's the 1950's. Two sisters are torn apart when their father banishes one of them for eloping and having a child out of wedlock. They live separate lives, hoping to see each other again. As I was watching this, it kind of feels like reading an amazing Latin-American novel with its sprawling narrative and its compelling characters. The characters this time are two sisters who were torn apart by the tyranny of patriarchal attitudes. It features beautiful performances by the…

  • The Same People

    The Same People

    ★★★★

    A young man breaks up with his boyfriend shortly before leaving for a job. He returns a year later and gets roped into a reunion where he has to confront his ex. I have to say it is very refreshing to see a romantic-dramedy and a Filipino LGBTQ film like this. A romantic-dramedy which does not exactly follow the exact same tired formula and actually allows for surprises every now and then and a Filipino LGBTQ film which depicts homosexuality…

  • Flowers of the City Jail

    Flowers of the City Jail

    ★★★★

    A young pregnant woman is jailed for "frustrated murder". As she sees the horrors of the appalling and harrowing conditions in jail, she grows even more determined not to give birth or raise her child there. This is one of the heralded classics of Filipino cinema and one of Nora Aunor's most celebrated performances. She is simply amazing in this one. She is supported by a fine group of actresses playing fellow inmates (Mitch Valdes and Perla Bautista are the…

  • Joyful Mystery

    Joyful Mystery

    ★★★½

    A plane crashes in the mountains. A family from a nearby village find a cache of money among the wreckage. This leads to an unexpected series of events. This is a Filipino film from the early 1980's and I can't say I've heard of it before. It stars an ensemble of some of Philippine cinema's finest actors. Based on the synopsis, I was expecting a black comedy but it's not. It's pretty much a straight up dramatic crime thriller as…

  • Fear and Desire

    Fear and Desire

    ★★½

    A group of soldiers get caught behind enemy lines and after an encounter with a woman, things escalate. This is director Stanley Kubrick's very first feature film and the only one of his films I haven't seen before now (I've seen most of the rest of his filmography at least twice). Kubrick hated it so much, he tried to bury it but it emerged and now I saw it. First of all, yes, Kubrick is right in saying that it…

  • 99 River Street

    99 River Street

    ★★★★½

    A former boxer gets himself entangled in a jewel heist involving murder. For us cinephiles, it's apparently Noir-vember and someone on Twitter asked people to list their favorite film noirs. The usual titles emerge, titles I've seen....but this one kept coming up quite a few times and I don't think I've ever even heard of it. I found it uploaded on YouTube and gave it a watch....and WOW. This is yet another wonderful discovery. This is an absolute thrilling film…

  • One Way or Another

    One Way or Another

    ★★★

    This is a half-documentary, half-narrative film about a group of people who live in a housing development after the Cuban revolution. The half-documentary/half-narrative approach this film takes is interesting but, for me at least, resulting in a mixed bag. The documentary part is fascinating and riveting. When it goes to the narrative part, it's not quite as successful. But still, it's a fascinating look into that time and place. This is apparently the first feature film made by an Afro-Cuban…

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

    ★★★

    Based on a true story, this film is about a 13-year-old boy who built wind turbines to help power his small village in Malawi. This film pretty much follows the formula of the "inspiring true story". I give it points for trying to break out of that formula, trying to immerse us in the African milieu, depicting the various political and socio-economic issues and problems that plague this little village in Africa. It also has some lush cinematography courtesy of…