• Nights of Cabiria

    Nights of Cabiria

    ★★★★★

    Giullieta Masina’s complete command of the screen at every moment in this film is simply incredible. The secret ingredient to her charisma as a performer stems from her wonderfully expressive eyes and smile, and her kinetic, playful gait and dance. It’s such a completely different role from Gelsomina in La Strada. Here as Cabiria, she is fierce, forceful, and delightfully outspoken. The commonality of the two iconic roles is their endearing sweetness and vulnerability.

    Her husband Fellini is smart to always…

  • La Strada

    La Strada

    ★★★★★

    Got my essential Fellini Criterion box in the mail today😌and before diving into the parts of his filmography I haven’t seen yet, I wanted to rewatch this beautiful little film. It looks so gorgeous in blu-ray. The minimalism of the storytelling works well to highlight those wonderful performances by Giulietta Masina and Anthony Quinn. So full of tragedy and humor. And Nino Rita’s score is so iconic.

  • Young Adult

    Young Adult

    ★★★★

    What an uncomfortable movie to sit through. There are so many scenes full of cringe-inducing behaviors. That said, I think it’s a good movie. It’s really rare that you see an American movie that allows an a-list actress to drive an entire movie by the sheer power of her performance alone. Charlize Theron embodies this complicated narcissist of a character with grace and energy. The restraint and the specificity of her role. It feels like something out a French drama…

  • The Lavender Hill Mob

    The Lavender Hill Mob

    ★★★★

    Entertaining British comedy caper starring Sir Alec Guinness. Features some very clever plotting that keeps you hooked the entire way through, and maintains a steady pace of wit and suspense.

    I was extremely taken aback by how beautiful and surreal the Eiffel Tower chase sequence of the film is. It’s shot with the kaleidoscopic, experimental energy that you expect from an Orson Welles film. It’s a fun, hypnotic, disorienting scene, and it was easily the biggest surprise of this otherwise pretty normally shot black and white movie.

  • Jack and the Beanstalk

    Jack and the Beanstalk

    ★★★

    Made-for-tv adaptation of the fairy tale. Stars Dennis Christopher and features Elliot Gould as the giant. Unfortunately Gould is under so much make-up and the version of the film I watched was a Spanish dub, so I was unable to appreciate his performance. The art direction is charming and there are some cute puppet effects featuring a cow and a golden-egg laying chicken. Does not reinvent or interpret the tale in any particularly interesting way, not that it should. It’s made for children. Executive produced by Shelley Duvall.

  • The Joy of Life

    The Joy of Life

    ★★★★

    The Joy of Life is a thoughtful, artful, and in my opinion, very successful experiment in documentary aesthetic. As a film about San Francisco, it deftly captures many of the elements that characterize the city: foggy vistas, beat poets, colonialist histories, and personal recollections from the city's LGBT community. In spite of the sometimes violent, upsetting, and disturbing content of the script, the voiceover narration is rich with a slow-paced monotone that gives the film an incredibly evocative and calming…

  • Sólo con tu pareja

    Sólo con tu pareja

    ★★★

    This early film by Alfonso Cuaron is a middling sex comedy with an incredibly refined look. Though technically a comedy, I think there was only one joke in the entire runtime that I found genuinely clever and funny. Other than that, I sat stone-faced while watching these dull jokes being realized with an aesthetic beauty that it was undeserving of. It’s plotted interestingly enough to keep you engaged, but ultimately it feels hollow and it lacks substance. The situations are…

  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

    A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

    ★★★★

    This is a really adorable movie. Lately I’ve been on a little bit of a cynical bend, and I initially started watching this movie with a very snobbish mindset. But it surprised me. It’s a very well made biopic and it has a lot of heart. The decision to lovingly recreate the Mr. Rogers TV show as a narrative framing device was such a beautifully rendered aesthetic. I responded a lot to it, and it paired well with the sensitivity…

  • The Chinese Violin

    The Chinese Violin

    ★★★½

    Very cute and adorable Canadian animated short from the NFB. An inspiring tale about the immigrant experience. Almost made me smile 😊

  • A Boy Named Charlie Brown

    A Boy Named Charlie Brown

    ★★★★

    This animated feature is three times as long as any of the Peanuts holiday specials, and yet it somehow has even less plot than any of them. It feels like a half hour special that’s been padded out with weird artsy montages.

    The little explorations of themes like what it’s like being a talentless failure and that of trying to make something of yourself are very fascinating and amusing, even if they’re not always at the forefront of the cartoon.…

  • Pickpocket

    Pickpocket

    ★★★★

    A down-to-earth character study. Xiao Wu tells the endearing tale of a lonesome pickpocket, hounded by authority and forgotten by his colleagues, who forges an unexpected relationship with a lowly karaoke bar singer. It paints a sad picture of this petty criminal as the old world he once knew begins to crumble and his life starts to unravel.

    The film’s deliberately distanced filming of these two losers living on the fringes of late 90s China creates a unique and emotional…

  • La Chinoise

    La Chinoise

    ★★★

    An interesting little novelty film from Godard. It’s centered around a bunch of young, good looking French actors (including a grown up Antoine Doinel from The 400 Blows), as they sit around a Parisian apartment discussing Maoist ideology and class-conscious revolution. The dialogue is a mix between Marxist-Leninist discourse and cryptic, pseudo-poetic back-and-forths between men and women concerning their passions and hopes. You can feel a lot of Jacques Rivette influence in this film.

    The music of the film is…