pablocatepetl has written 125 reviews for films rated ★★★★ .

  • Requiem for the American Dream

    Requiem for the American Dream

    ★★★★

    My 1900th check☺️

    This film is a damming look into the cancerous 
    apparatus deterring American democracy known as wealth inequality. Renowned activist Noam Chomsky speaks to the camera in candid, unminced terms. He has an elegant way with words. The way he can take complex sociological concepts and distill them into concise, egalitarian language is beautiful. Aiding him in his deconstruction of oppressive economic policy and insidious propaganda tactics are visual representations of the concepts he describes. Animators depict these…

  • Growing Up Trans

    Growing Up Trans

    ★★★★

    A real thought-provoker and a tear-jerker. It’s so heartbreaking seeing all these children get so excited about their gender-confirming treatments and then watching their mostly supportive but visibly uncomfortable parents (usually the father) trying to question their feelings and instilling doubt in their life-changing decisions. Everybody in this doc goes through so much. It’s a captivating real-life human drama, and this documentary illuminates so much into this misunderstood topic. Good job, Frontline

  • A Thousand Cuts

    A Thousand Cuts

    ★★★★

    Another Frontline doc, though sadly without Will Lyman voiceover 😢

    This one follows journalist Maria Ressa of the Filipino news organization, Rappler, and her courageous battle against President Duterte’s vicious drug war policies and insidious disinformation campaign. She and her team are badasses and fascinating documentary subjects!

  • Sound of Metal

    Sound of Metal

    ★★★★

    Great movie. There's a rawness and sensitivity to it. It's genuine. The way the sound design flips between perspectives. The naturalism of the camera and the acting.

    It's a very lovely story, and it does that thing that I like movies do when they give you insight into a seldom represented community. Very cool to watch, especially with headphones.

  • A Tale of Two Sisters

    A Tale of Two Sisters

    ★★★★

    A very pretty, heartbreaking story of domestic disputes and personal tragedy hidden underneath a fun haunted house amusement attraction full of adrenaline-coursing shocks and intense, anxiety-inducing sequences. The film balances genuine horror with beautiful design very well. It is both disturbing and melancholic, with its use of swelling, classical scoring over cold-hued gothic decorations one minute, to its suffocating darkness and gore overpowered by harsh, discordant tones and violent brass another. A uniquely Korean piece of horror cinema, carried exceedingly well by the production design and the effectiveness of all three principal actresses.

  • The Squid and the Whale

    The Squid and the Whale

    ★★★★

    It’s excellent on the rewatch. I picked up on many of the quieter, less apparent jokes I missed out on the first viewing. The performances are so natural and real and affecting. All across the board: Laura Linney, Jeff Daniels, and Jesse Eisenberg, they work together so beautifully to make this domestic comedy-drama come to life. Noah Baumbach’s screenplay abilities are so sharp and subtle. He doesn’t have to exaggerate anything to make the humor land. It’s very confident, self-assured, and insightful writing.


     I can’t decide if I like this one or France Ha better. They are both extraordinary works of low-budget indie filmmaking.

  • Boiler Room

    Boiler Room

    ★★★★

    At last, I understand what the Workaholics guys were talking about when they said: “we’ve been Boiler Room’d.Boiler Room is a slick, energetic, flashily produced frat bro drama that follows in the classic post-modernist, hyper-masculine aesthetic of 90s films like Pulp Fiction and Fight Club (that’s right, y’all. I went to college, too). 

    Giovanni Ribisi stars as a slimy, conflicted, shyster stockbroker working in a so-called ‘chop shop,’ where he sells worthless stocks to gullible schmucks for jacked-up prices.…

  • The Straight Story

    The Straight Story

    ★★★★

    This film is the very definition of the word ‘quaint.’ One wonders with amusement at how a Disney-produced David Lynch film might look. Those two names seem to exist on almost polar opposites of the cinematic spectrum. One might think they were completely incongruous, like water and oil. Strangely enough, once you start watching, you realize the artistic marriage is not at all incompatible.

    If you’ve seen Twin Peaks or Blue Velvet, you know that Lynch is equally as skilled…

  • And the Ship Sails On

    And the Ship Sails On

    ★★★★

    A film from late in Fellini’s career, yet it is still full of rich creativity and inventiveness. Fellini creates these beautifully detailed tapestries with beautiful costumes and sets and unique looking actors to inhabit them. He is an artist for whom the story is a needless distraction. All he wants you to focus on is the splendor of his visuals: the milkiness of the ship, and the purple-hued beauty of the sky, as seen through a lens of shameless artificiality.…

  • Soul

    Soul

    ★★★★

    Very cute, whimsical, and full of imagination, as Pixar can always be relied upon being. There's something very mature about this one. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score was a particular highlight. I watched this one with my mom, and she forced me to put it on the Spanish dub, so I wasn't able to appreciate the vocal talents of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey. I’m sure they did a fine job, though.

  • Who Killed Captain Alex?

    Who Killed Captain Alex?

    ★★★★

    Where to begin with this film? The great thing about the film, Who Killed Captain Alex is that it’s just so full of energy and fun. Is it a silly movie? It is. This groundbreaking Ugandan action film is infamous in internet lore for its pervasive use of outdated chroma key effects, cheap-looking photography, and over-the-top martial arts performances. Still, the sheer passion for storytelling and entertainment that oozes from every frame will awaken the spirit of creativity in any…

  • Bad Day at Black Rock

    Bad Day at Black Rock

    ★★★★

    Engaging little thriller. A unique cross between a noir and a western. Stars Spencer Tracy as a man who steps off a train into a podunk, one horse town on the outskirts of the American West. Immediately he’s met with hostility by a townsfolk that have something very dark they’re trying to hide. Story deals with themes of prejudice and xenophobia.

    The film is quiet, simple, theatrical, but still emotionally involving. It’s moderately paced and slowly executed, but surprisingly it…