• Patlabor: The Mobile Police

    Patlabor: The Mobile Police

    "a sea monster? [...] we don't have any handcuffs that big down at HQ"

    a slice-of-life OVA dressed up as a mech show with its left-wing ideas wearing police uniform. it does stretch its legs and get into techno-thriller territory eventually but even then its fairly resolutely downbeat and character-focused. the animation is so pinned to that borderline era of spraypaint shadows and clean angles that look hand-drawn without being quite as illustration-feeling as earlier anime sometimes is.

    kenji kawai's…

  • Nemesis


    a cyberpunk dystopia in burnt orange and clear blue constructed from a collection of the best abandoned buildings, dirt roads and nondescript hotel interiors albert pyun could find. although the passion is what always holds his work together, the execution in this one is really stunning. has that same glossy haze to the image that surrounds some of my favourite films of the 90s, but pyun is doing it by pure force of will and whatever natural sorcery he was…

  • Fe


    if you lack the context for it, some machinery is austere and weird enough that you can't tell if it's a vestige of the past or still working as intended but left so unremarked upon that there's nothing to say about it. this is about how it feels when that's the only way you can see the world.

    for something made in japan, this felt very swedish to me, like if mamoru oshii read a lot about 18th-century landscape painters from stockholm and this is what came out.

  • Awaara


    makes the synthesis of a million cutting-edge techniques into a captivating melodrama look easy. no wonder this was received well in the soviet union - socialist themes aside, who else was as technically obsessed? doesn't have the "how did they even conceptualise this" feel to the form that you get from mad scientists like eisenstein etc because of its insistence on drama with a capital D and its focus on sheer execution, but the way the history of film collapses…

  • Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

    Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

    bombards the audience with the look and feel of mystery. a bygone age (1975) recalling a bygone age (1910s vaudeville, 16th century italian theatre) presented in the way 2019 looks at the past - a talking head documentary. the content doesn't matter, you've got the white face paint and the flowers in the hat and nobody needs to remember more than that. bob agreeing to be interviewed so extensively for this should have tipped people off that something was up.…

  • The River

    The River

    naive but beguiling movie with renoir filming in colour but composing the shots like he just woke up from 1935 having dreamed about painted portraits.

    the narration in this is really wonderful, it gives a time and place feel with the stately tone of old-fashioned english fiction (with some of the pitfalls that implies) but also interjects in scenes and enhances silent close-ups with a view into characters' heads.

    death and rebirth all over india, our central family finding a…

  • The Gunfighter

    The Gunfighter

    a pretty perfect structure marred only by casting atticus finch as your exhausted cowboy instead of any of the myriad titans who were around in 1950 and would have absolutely crushed the role of an exhausted cowboy. not to say he isn't good in the film, it's just viewer error from having seen the mockingbird movie he'd do twelve years later. can't hold the gunfighter to a chronology that didn't exist yet.

    the way the film makes the little town…

  • Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

    Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

    watched the first 90mins of this yesterday and then the second half today, which felt like watching two separate films, a giddy romance and its light family-drama sequel. i enjoyed the latter half more, but i know shooting in europe was a huge part of this film's impact. before watching i basically only knew of this as a massive hit melodrama that is beloved by generations of people, and its definitely a crowdpleaser with beautiful pacing - seems like every…

  • Knock at the Cabin

    Knock at the Cabin

    straight-ahead and weighty with the trademark ascendant conclusion not acting as the distraction it sometimes can but a reinforcement of the love-despite-it-all idea that follows the man around from film to film. strips away the gimmicks till you're left with only one and makes you stare at it until it feels wrong to disagree and you've got that dead-eyed out-of-body look from the radio scene.

  • Glass


    all the ideas in this! an empathetic action film that deploys and reacts against a huge number of superhero plot beats almost by reflex. still a genre exercise like split but a profoundly more successful and interesting one. making your film about self-confidence the largest production you've ever helmed, hinging it on the audience having a long memory, and crossing your fingers.

    the leap from this film to the heavier abstraction and minimalist plot in old seems very impressive to me, but the way glass fits all the pieces together so deftly while staying inside a blockbuster structure makes it the obvious next step.

  • Split


    it's fine, i suppose. even with its semi-outlandish idea (not just the split identities but that they can have completely different physiology in the same body) that you could read a lot of psychology into/do a lot with if you wanted, it just felt like a very normal thriller with not much of the flair that even m night's misfires possess. the reveal at the end would have been incredible if i didn't know about it beforehand, though, and he did seem to be building to a straight-ahead exploitation film for a while.

  • Picture Mommy Dead

    Picture Mommy Dead

    let's scare susan to death. high camp gothic nonsense where all the fun is in the pauses in speech and (importantly) it knows to move at a clip so as not to let novelty wear off. the guy giving them the inheritance details at the start has one of the best character actor voices i've ever heard, i really hope he actually talked like that day-to-day.

    "you love to meddle with danger, don't you francine?"