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Irvin has written 523 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ .

  • Pain and Glory

    Pain and Glory

    ★★★★½

    An aging film director gets addicted to heroin and goes through a series of health scares whilst reminiscing about his life including his childhood, his past loves and former colleagues. Just to get this out of the way, this is far from my favorite Pedro Almodovar film. But that's only because his top-tier films are just so freakin' great. This is a perfectly excellent and very lovely and obviously very personal film featuring Antonio Banderas in one of his career-best…

  • Underground

    Underground

    ★★★★½

    It's World War II in Belgrade. A couple of black marketeers make weapons for the Communist resistance with the help of a group of refugees. But after the war is over, one of them decides to have them keep making weapons pretending the war is still going on while stealing the other's girlfriend. This film is kind of like Life is Beautiful's drunk, fucked up cousin. It's an often very funny black comedy that pretty much blows away the pomp…

  • I Lost My Body

    I Lost My Body

    ★★★★½

    A young man pursues a woman he only heard on the intercom during a botched pizza delivery. In the meantime, a severed hand comes to life and tries to find its owner. It's actually not QUITE as weird as it sounds (or maybe it is, I don't know). It's a beautifully animated and a truly emotionally involving piece of work that could have been too weird and too quirky for its own good but manages not to cross that line.…

  • 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…

  • Invisible Life

    Invisible Life

    ★★★★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…

  • 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…

  • Love and Anarchy

    Love and Anarchy

    ★★★★½

    A man from the country goes to the city in order to assassinate Benito Mussolini. He hides out in a brothel and falls for one of the prostitutes. This is a film collaboration between director Lina Wertmuller and star Giancarlo Giannini. It is pretty terrific. I have to say that it's very interesting to see Wertmuller's way of depicting prostitute characters when compared to her male contemporaries who have depicted prostitute characters like Bertolucci and Fellini. She makes them much…

  • Dolemite Is My Name

    Dolemite Is My Name

    ★★★★½

    This is a film about actor/comedian/musician Rudy Ray Moore and how he made the cult blaxploitation classic Dolemite. This film is a JOY, spelled in all capitals. This is quite possibly the best film about making films since Ed Wood, and this was written by the same screenwriters of that film, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. Eddie Murphy gives what I think is his career-best performance as Moore. He is very funny yet making him believable and human. He makes…

  • Viy

    Viy

    ★★★★½

    A young seminarian is tasked with doing a three-night prayer vigil over the body of a young woman possessed by an evil witch. When this film began, I thought, "Oh, this is silly!" They were almost playing it for laughs. But by the end, holy crap, I was considering sleeping with the lights on that night. I'm serious. The film starts out silly but then slowly becomes full-blown horror in the end that's actually quite scary. The special effects and…

  • High Life

    High Life

    ★★★★½

    Death row prisoners are sent to space to be experimented on including space reproduction and getting energy from black holes. This is a film directed by Claire Denis and despite it being a science fiction film set in outer space, it still feels like a Claire Denis film through and through. It is quite simply one of the strangest, wildest and pretty fucked up (in a good way) outer space movies out there. Why, it contains quite possibly the most…

  • Beanpole

    Beanpole

    ★★★★½

    It is shortly after World War II. A young woman returns from the war to reunite with her three-year-old son left under the care of her friend but tragedy strikes. This is a remarkable film from an extraordinary (and very young) director. The film is a brutal meditation on loss and the consequences of war. Yes, it is a downer but it still lures you in and surprises you in ways you never expect. The ending, in particular, is quite…

  • Bacurau

    Bacurau

    ★★★★½

    In the near future, after the 94-year old matriarch of a small remote Brazilian town named Bacurau dies, the village seemingly disappears off the map....then cell phone reception gets jammed. That's just the beginning of a series of sinister events which I won't spoil here. This is like Parasite. You think it's going one way, then it goes another way....then it goes yet another way. It has elements of a gangster film, a science-fiction and a Western and it all…