pablocatepetl has written 61 reviews for films rated ★★★★★ .

  • Silent Running

    Silent Running

    ★★★★★

    This is superb science fiction. Not only did I love the way it looks and the way it feels, but also the philosophy and the ambiguous optimism behind it. Silent Running stars a young Bruce Dern as a tree-hugging astronaut tasked with preserving a giant, synthetic forest in space for a climate-devastated Earth that has become bereft of nature, beauty, and purity. Dern is a castaway, isolated in the empty vastness of space with nothing but the company of three…

  • Capernaum

    Capernaum

    ★★★★★

    Capernaum is a difficult, gut-wrenching work that explores the most destitute of poverty through a child's eyes. It exhibits a miserable existence of which people in the first world are far too unaware. Shot in a handheld, documentary-style, it captures the reality of the young protagonist’s life with astonishing naturalism and verisimilitude.

    This Lebanese film is directed with emotional directness. Watching it, you will not believe that the two young lead actors (one of them a baby) aren’t professionals because…

  • De Palma

    De Palma

    ★★★★★

    I think I'm at a point in my movie-watching journey where I enjoy watching movie tributes and montages more than watching full movies themselves. There's something stimulating and exciting about seeing movie clips removed from their feature-length context and distilled to pieces of pure visual poetry. Plot and character can be so distracting to the things that make this artform so special.

    There are few directors whose entire career trajectory can make for constant stitching of incredible image after incredible…

  • I Vitelloni

    I Vitelloni

    ★★★★★

    Watched this with my dad, and halfway through the movie he pointed out how relatable it was to him living as a young man in a remote village. It’s a movie about a group of men walking around their small town with nothing to do but drink, gamble, slack and cheat on their wives. It’s a movie about unmotivated losers with no direction in life, slowly being forced to become mature and responsible adults. I was taken aback by how…

  • 8½

    ★★★★★

    8 1/2 is a tricky movie to approach, especially for a cynical, modern day cinema appreciator like myself 🧐 It’s easy to forget what a novel idea it was back then to create a meta textual film that explicitly comments on the difficulties of filmmaking and the struggles of the creative process. Such post-modernist, self-aware storytelling isn’t quite as mind-blowing to today’s audiences, who have been spoiled by great works like Adaptation, Fleabag, and even by more irreverent fourth-wall breakers…

  • 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.

  • Days of Heaven

    Days of Heaven

    ★★★★★

    It really can’t be overstated how flawless this film is. This is one of those rare American movies that achieves the same artistic greatness as a Dostoevsky novel or a Van Gogh painting (other films that I think do this include Miller’s Crossing and There Will Be Blood). Its classical neorealist score by Ennio Morricone, and sublime visuals by French New Wave master Nestor Almendros, accompanied by the poetry of Terrence Malick, all blend together to create the very best…

  • Once Upon a Time in Iraq

    Once Upon a Time in Iraq

    ★★★★★

    Absolutely heartbreaking but necessary documentary to see and feel the tragedies experienced by the people of Iraq. The faces you will see are full of so much bravery, strength, resilience, and love, yet also of hate, anger, and profound sadness.

  • Embrace of the Serpent

    Embrace of the Serpent

    ★★★★★

    This is a movie where even by the first three minutes you know you’re watching something very special, and you spend every passing minute of the film’s 2 hour run in utter amazement at the director’s ability to maintain a rising level of artistic excellence throughout, up until the ethereal beauty of the finale. This film is the magic of Kurosawa, Bergman, Tarkovsky, Kubrick, and Herzog in a single viewing. It is a Heart of Darkness like voyage into the…

  • They Shall Not Grow Old

    They Shall Not Grow Old

    ★★★★★

    Director Peter Jackson uses the most cutting-edge, state of the art technology, man’s defining achievement to greatness, to capture, revive and commemorate one of its lowest, most repugnant moments in existence.

    They Shall Not Grow Old uses restored archival WWI footage to create a cinematic experience that is both real and astonishing, but with an aesthetic that feels uncanny and nightmarish. The protracted inferno of war is explored beat by beat, mounting terror by mounting terror, in an unforgettable no…

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    ★★★★★

    Flawless. A stirring depiction of the soul crushing loneliness and banality of a woman’s life in 19th century France, colored with the richness and beauty of a secret romance. Combines the greatest subtle qualities of French filmmaking, with the emotional tactics of a Hollywood period drama. An intelligently written movie that defies expectation and genre conventions. Beautifully acted and gorgeously shot in milky pastel colors that loan the film a hazy, heavenly look.