pablocatepetl has written 51 reviews for films rated ★★★½ .

  • The Clowns

    The Clowns

    ★★★½

    The Clowns is an endearing, offbeat made-for-TV film from the second half of Federico Fellini's film catalog. This oddity was excluded from Criterion's Essential Fellini box set, so I had to order a copy from Kino's Raro Video series. The transfer and restoration by Kino is very lovely, and all the colors and details of the film pop gorgeously off the screen. It's the director's tribute and study of clowns, an ancient art form to which his unique aesthetic is…

  • Mikey and Nicky

    Mikey and Nicky

    ★★★½

    Mikey and Nicky is a stylish crime drama that takes place throughout a single night. The plotting is simple, but the characters, their actions, and their relationships towards themselves and the people around them feature a complexity that’s rich and novel-like. Cassavettes and Falk work brilliantly against one another, fully embodying the sleaziness and belligerence of their New York wise guy rolls.

  • The Street Fighter

    The Street Fighter

    ★★★½

    The plot surrounding this martial arts classic is nothing special. It’s your typical boilerplate story about an overpowered fighter coming up against endless waves of nameless baddies while 70s bass stingers transition us from one scene to the next, with a helpful serving of Leone style close-ups and dramatically dutched angles. That said, the action itself is exhilarating, and Sonny Chiba stands out from other martial arts movie icons like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Gordon Liu. First and foremost is…

  • Mortal Kombat

    Mortal Kombat

    ★★★½

    I like this movie because it very shamelessly has the barest minimum of plot and the absolute cardboard stockiest of characters. And it doesn’t matter! Screenwriting gurus will often say that story is king, but that isn’t true. Spectacle is king, and Mortal Kombat has a lot to offer. The movie jumps right into the action and is so much fun to watch. The quality of the special effects varies from being very cool (Goro and his practical puppet effects…

  • Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

    Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

    ★★★½

    I am now firmly in the camp that even a bad Star Wars film is pretty good and enjoyable. I even enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker, which was almost  universally panned, at least by the online community. Does Attack of the Clones have a weird, consulted plot? Yes. Is the romantic subplot tacky and unconvincing? Yes. Are the characters basically just flat, two-dimensional characters. Yes! But the reason all these movies works, the glue that keeps them together, is the…

  • The Trials of Henry Kissinger

    The Trials of Henry Kissinger

    ★★★½

    Informative and illuminating case study in the war crimes of Henry Kissinger. Features fascinating talking heads with instigators and participants of 1970s world history. Also features interview with Christopher Hitchens (who wrote the book the documentary is inspired from). The man is just radiating this sarcastic, controlled intellectual rage that’s so captivating to watch on screen. It’s too bad that his provocative actions and many of the things he said made him such an easy target for his detractors, because…

  • Mank

    Mank

    ★★★½

    On a technical level, this movie is absolutely gorgeous. It looks beautiful in that way that glamorously-lit black-and-white period pieces are known to look. The attention to detail of the set design, the costumes, and the music create a perfect evocation of the time period. I was reminded of Scorsese’s The Aviator while watching it, as that was another movie that does an excellent job of transporting audiences back to the same time period in Golden Age Hollywood. The production…

  • Kung Fu Hustle

    Kung Fu Hustle

    ★★★½

    Pretty funny, though not nearly as funny as the high production value and elaborate effects would make you think. The director’s commitment to the live action cartoon aesthetic is quite breathtaking at times, and I was constantly impressed by the inventiveness of some of its most absurd visuals. The acting is fun, and the fights are cool too! The most satisfying aspect of film was getting to see Stephen Chow at the end finally display his action star charisma in all its glory.

  • 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 😊

  • Ganja & Hess

    Ganja & Hess

    ★★★½

    This is a very difficult film to describe and categorize. It defies convention. Its Wikipedia synopsis refers to it as a vampire horror film with an all-black cast. Though it technically is that, it is very much unlike any other vampire film I’ve seen. It’s an experimental art film full of erratically constructed sex sequences, contrasted with long drawn out scenes of philosophical debates, and then interspersed with violent images of murders and rituals.

    There are for sure many interesting…

  • Stutterer

    Stutterer

    ★★★½

    A well-shot Oscar-winning short with an interesting use of voiceover to illustrate internal monologue and mental anxiety. Often we talk about how films have good dialogue, but the most interesting thing about this short is how good its ‘internet chat’ dialog is. It feels real here. Filmmakers still often have a hard time incorporating modern technology (esp. social media) into film in a way that feels natural and authentic, but this movie does it well. It captures the warmth and humor and awkwardness of a long distance relationship very accurately.

  • The City of Lost Children

    The City of Lost Children

    ★★★½

    The City of Lost Children is a nice little treasure for cinephiles. By cinephiles, I specifically mean it in the “IMDB top 250 movies are the best” type of way. It’s created by directors who are visibly in love with the wonder of a Spielberg movie and the weirdness of a Terry Gilliam film. It’s co-directed by Amelie-auteur Jean Pierre Jeunet. He and Marc Caro have assembled an incredible team of artists like cinematographer Darius Khondji (Se7en), composer Angelo Badalamenti…