• A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas Carol

    ★★★

    Puritan Humbug. Without a doubt one of the cleanest, safest versions of Scrooge’s Odyssey, but my giallo-poisoned brain parses out some eerily Bava-esque imagery that should make anyone wonder what it would look like if someone made a relentlessly macabre answer to Christmas Carol. Christmas Past adorned in greenery, Christmas Present in jewels hiding the frame of Desire & Ignorance under his coat, Christmas To Come standing silent, nearly motionless pointing its crooked rigor mortis fingers to the graveyard of human kindness. As clean as it comes, but stay for the creepiest version of Christmas Future until Robert Zemeckis got in the mood to traumatize Gen Z.

  • Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

    Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

    ★★★★

    The Way of Three Cultures. All that can be said from my Unwise Non-Samurai perspective is that this is a triple threat of doctrines. The 36 Social Chambers leading to gore and grace. Jarmusch was clearly infatuated with regional history and how it contextualizes violence, because this is finely segmented into different moods and forms of aggression between humans. Wu-Tang swagger on the first floor, Mafia fancy on the second, Kurosawa humility on the third. Between all three is a…

  • 28 Weeks Later

    28 Weeks Later

    ★★★★

    28 steps above the grave. Boyle’s BlackBerry zombie escapade was all growl, no gnash, so imagine my surprise at how dirty and migraine raw this is. Both a memorandum to the destined failure of military states and a capsule of all the most miserable footnotes in zombie/outbreak cinema. Even the last refuge for humanity can be broken by the thirst for capitalistic power, and all things around it in post-apocalypse are the cries of victims, the torching of cities, and the potent stench of tragedy. The Burning of Pompeii, but there’s not even a trace of survivors.

  • Penguin's Memory: A Tale of Happiness

    Penguin's Memory: A Tale of Happiness

    ★★★★½

    The epilogue to Apocalypse Noot. YouTube comments have already touted this as the submission from 'Club Penguin' for Vietnam war cinema, but to call it a Vietnam movie is only reducing it to muddy, waterlogged, viciously American history. If anything, it's a beautiful summertime tapestry of all the circumambience around wartime, not solely its status as a period of time for all parties but also a cultural moment that recolored the way we love, fear, indulge, and participate in society.…

  • Angela

    Angela

    ★★★★

    Mary saving mothers. Miller captures the distinct pocket dimension of rural cityscapes, so many rusted houses that they stack to something bigger than life, with such a painter’s eye that it’s easy to raise your head above water admiring it, but nothing quite prepares you for how stark this is as a dysfunctional family portrait. The Deep South is a hotbed for untreated mental illness because it’s one of the most thoroughly abandoned economic sections of the U.S., so absent…

  • The Virgin Spring

    The Virgin Spring

    ★★★★

    Futility in the tired face of God. One of Bergman’s darkest moments, hand in hand with how much beauty and olden trauma is laced on its branches and enlivening its roots. Deeply woeful and paradoxical as both a grace note to the tragedy in weeping to a god that doesn’t answer and as a dramatic elegy. The menace of men portrayed almost as dark magic; faces that manifest out of void, forest dwellers snapping in and out of reality. An…

  • Amulet

    Amulet

    ★★★★

    Manor sorcery. Bizarre in ways that absolutely warrant its divisiveness, but this is the psycho-cerebrotica that I live for. Deliciously outside the woodrot of staircases, flying like a bat out of an autumn kaleidoscope filled with carrion. Guilt, confusion, passion, and fantasia floating like ball lightning through curtains at each other. No posturing about heaven or hell but more of a tome detailing a heady, deeply yonic state of being. The Birth of Venus, but weirder. Stunning for freaks like me.

  • Stutz

    Stutz

    ★★★½

    My Dinner With Stutz. Viewing this more as a public discourse than a commending of Jonah or Stutz, this is a mostly powerful confab on how the archetype of Actor is an inherently transmogrifying, isolating experience that dramatically reshapes your coping mechanisms and ability to process emotions. Being in the public eye for so long left Jonah unable to pick himself apart so mechanically and productively without a camera present, and there’s some testament to be found about how a performer’s feelings are only codified through Hollywood screens. A visual essay about roles and their use as spiritual self-cages. Solving the problems of yourself is hard.

  • Sayounara

    Sayounara

    ★★★★

    Grieving in high tide. Powerful in all the ways it doesn’t show *or* tell, much like some
    veins of real life suffering. When you are in so much pain that it shocks your nerves into numbness, you learn to cry out for help in all the most silent ways. The gait you carry through halls and past crowds, the excuses you give to leave a room as quickly as you came in, the inability to be hurt by other people…

  • Fire of Love

    Fire of Love

    ★★★★½

    Rapturous in 1000°. Very obviously a powerful romance masquerading as See It To Believe It spectacle, but more implicitly a beautiful mood piece about the immutable size and color of life itself. Not the abstract concept of it but the more literal idea of life as the physical world around humans, the formations of nature and its vivifying, addictive artworks churned together in magma and spun smoke. Cruelty and kindness aren’t part of the pictures the Krafft’s recorded, only inevitability. The unstoppable force of love colliding with the monolithic velocity of Earth. They went in the worst way possible, but they went together. “So I follow.”

  • Where the Crawdads Sing

    Where the Crawdads Sing

    ★★

    Swamps have never looked so sterile. For a story that revolves around generational woes like abuse and poverty in the South, a distinctly Not Clean and deeply broken part of U.S. culture, there are heinous measures taken to tidy up one of the regions of North America where untidiness is a point of pride. It’s interesting after-movie-trivia to think about its possible correlation to real murder, but how spineless can it be that a court case is the closest this gets to how harrowing it feels for kids that are given the short end of life’s stick?

  • The Bloodettes

    The Bloodettes

    ★★★★

    Cameroon Witches. Nothing prepares you for how much of an immediate spell of water, neon, and makeup this puts over you from Frame 1, and the rest is an odyssey through an unfettered sci-fi-coven Afropunk city where Green and Blue are cosmo wives. Cauldrons full of mortuary tonic to dump over men and turquoise runways, affixed like lapis lazuli on corpse girl necks. In male-dominated undergrounds, women survive off each other. A movie about how solidarity is its own form of magic.