le-bonheur-movie

Le bonheur

Films as dark and subversive as Le bonheur are not usually so beautiful. Drenched in a rich, chromatic palette and played to the tune of twee renditions of Mozart (played by Jean-Michel Defaye), the third feature fromRead Full Review

Satantango-movie

Sátántangó

The characters in Sátántangó are used to persevering through brutal conditions. The rain never stops, the sky a permanent overcast grey which promises no hope for warmth or light. Their homes are crumbling and dilapidated, their belongingsRead Full Review

i'm-thinking-of-ending-things-movie

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Without the filter of directors like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry, the screenplays of Charlie Kaufman can have an unfiltered quality, as the despair so central to his stories becomes much less palatable. Directing his own scripts,Read Full Review

Cane-River-movie

Cane River

The restoration and re-release of Cane River in 2018 brought independent director Horace B. Jenkins’s film to many who had not heard of it before. Jenkins’s death in 1982 occurred shortly after the film was finished, which stuntedRead Full Review

an-elephant-sitting-still-movie

An Elephant Sitting Still

Place Hu Bo among the ranks of the tragic artists, the ones lost well before we were prepared to see them to go. An Elephant Sitting Still is his only feature film. He committed suicide in 2017Read Full Review

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Young Ahmed

The tenderness of the films from the Dardenne brothers are usually contrasted by worlds offset by calamity. Their characters are often forced into inherently unfair circumstances that are made worse by their suspect judgment and poorRead Full Review

walkabout-movie

Walkabout

The human race has a fraught relationship with the natural world. We have taken much more than it was ever meant to give. We’ve given ourselves rules, and placed ourselves in a society to maintainRead Full Review

First-Cow-movie

First Cow

The opening image of First Cow is of a massive cargo ship gingerly easing its way down a peaceful river. The ship itself is not peaceful, it’s loud and lumbering, but it’s far enough away toRead Full Review

mr-arkadin-movie

Mr. Arkadin

Stories that circle behind the production of Mr. Arkadin are deliciously Welles-ian. An unfinished film, pieced together by the cineastes who adored him, with a convoluted plot that is rescued by inventive filmmaking. What more canRead Full Review

the-truth-movie

The Truth

Familial tensions abound throughout the films of Hirokazu Kore-eda. Children are often suffering the burdens of disgruntled parents, as the pride of adulthood grinds uncomfortably against the pure innocence of youth. The Truth is his firstRead Full Review

palm-springs-movie

Palm Springs

Palm Springs has an exquisite first act. If you’ve happened to watch the trailer for this film then you already know the movie’s big reveal, but caught unawares, the first ten minutes is especially effective.Read Full Review

merry-christmas-mr-lawrence-movie

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

Aside from being one of the preeminent rock stars of the Twentieth Century, David Bowie proved to be a rather talented actor. His roles are few – on several occasions, he was simply asked toRead Full Review

never-rarely-sometimes-always-movie

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

“Are you abortion minded?” This question is asked early in the film Never Rarely Sometimes Always by a middle-aged woman at a women’s clinic in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. The question is being posed to a seventeen year-old named Autumn (SidneyRead Full Review

The-Watermelon-Woman-movie

The Watermelon Woman

An experimental filmmaker by trade, Cheryl Dunye’s feature debut, The Watermelon Woman, has very little interest in perpetuating mainstream filmmaking sensibilities. Her fusion of documentary and narrative, as well as her inclusion of metafictional aspects should alienateRead Full Review

eight-hours-dont-make-a-day-movie

Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day

In about thirteen years, Rainer Werner Fassbinder directed over forty feature films before dying of a drug overdose at the age of thirty-seven. This doesn’t include his ambitious television projects which includes that gargantuan Berlin Alexanderplatz,Read Full Review

da-5-bloods-movie

Da 5 Bloods

Watching Spike Lee’s movies, you can see that he views film history as a legitimate form of American history. Consider the way BlacKKKlansman opens with segments from Gone With The Wind, extolling the power of cinema while alsoRead Full Review

the-lovebirds-movie

The Lovebirds

A common refrain you may find yourself saying while watching The Lovebirds is “Why isn’t this funnier?”. You won’t ask this maliciously, after all, you have a lot of goodwill towards its two stars, Issa RaeRead Full Review

the-french-lieutenants-woman-movie

The French Lieutenant’s Woman

The legend of Streep having grown to such gargantuan proportions, she’s come to represent a very mainstream version of excellence. People think of her as an actress the way people think of Steven Spielberg asRead Full Review

taste-of-cherry-movie

Taste of Cherry

The words “In the name of God” open the film Taste of Cherry. It’s a modest but forceful title card that appears before we see any action. Not that there is a lot of action in theRead Full Review

meantime-movie

Meantime

The human tensions in Mike Leighs films far outweigh the political ones, though that doesn’t mean that there is one without the other. His characters are so often wrecked by implacable restlessness, worn out by theRead Full Review

only-angels-have-wings-movie

Only Angels Have Wings

Masculinity and moral codes abound in the filmography of legendary director Howard Hawks, and Only Angels Have Wings has tied both tightly within the film’s plot, influencing and often encouraging the characters. The script, by veteran JulesRead Full Review

to-be-or-not-to-be-movie

To Be or Not To Be

Considering the polarizing response to Jojo Rabbit less than a year ago, you’d probably think that To Be or Not to Be would be perhaps a bridge to far for audiences sensitive to dark comedy involving NazisRead Full Review

the-music-room-movie

The Music Room

One of the many joys to be found in the films of Satyajit Ray is his ability to delve into the humanity of his characters without judgment. His style is clear and aspires toward objectivity,Read Full Review

bad-education-movie

Bad Education

Bad Education premiered on HBO Sunday night, 4/26/20. It is now available on HBOGo and HBONow. There was controversy when HBO snatched up Bad Education in the bidding war that followed its successful premiere at lastRead Full Review

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Battleship Potemkin

Sergei Eisenstein’s association with evolution in film editing is well-chronicled. He and his Soviet peers established the foundations of “montage” as a technique to rouse emotion within the audience, and Battleship Potemkin is often sighted as Eisenstein’sRead Full Review

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Lady Macbeth

In a short amount of time, Florence Pugh has shown herself to be a multifaceted talent as an actress. In half a decade, she’s shown an incredible range from her Oscar-nominated Amy March in Little Women,Read Full Review

eyes-of-laura-mars-movie

Eyes of Laura Mars

Camp has always been difficult to tie down. Even minds as renowned as Susan Sontag have had their studious definitions called into question by those who prefer to use the eye test – “You knowRead Full Review

daughters-of-the-dust-movie

Daughters of the Dust

It may seem strange today – it certainly surprised me – to learn that Daughters of the Dust was, in 1991, the first feature film ever directed by a black woman to receive a theatrical releaseRead Full Review

shampoo-movie

Shampoo

“I’m never serious about anything.” – Warren Beatty as George Roundy in Shampoo Set on the day of the 1968 Presidential Election, Shampoo gives itself the benefit of hindsight. Released in 1975, the film’s characters traverse acrossRead Full Review

tremors-movie

Tremors

The ascension of a midnight movie comes from hitting that sweet spot between bubbling self-awareness and dismissive carelessness. People will make themselves blue arguing as to whether camp can be self-aware, or to what level it shouldRead Full Review

daisies-movie

Daisies

A trademark of European cinema from the 40’s through the 60’s is its expansion of cinematic forms, but even the word ‘expansion’ often feels limiting. Through expansion, filmmakers in countries like Italy and (most famously)Read Full Review

bacurau-movie

Bacurau

Bacurau is currently streaming on Kino Now as part of their Kino Marquee Virtual Arthouse Program, which allows you to pay a rental fee which goes toward an independent movie house of your choice. IRead Full Review

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The Draughtsman’s Contract

1982’s The Draughtsman’s Contract would kick off a fruitful decade for director Peter Greenaway. The muralist turned director, renowned for his strict formalist style and provocative themes, would be among the 80’s most celebrated and most polarizingRead Full Review

the-way-back-movie

The Way Back

I don’t necessarily believe that Ben Affleck is an underrated actor. To the degree that his judgment can be questioned when accepting roles like the ones he chose in films like Gigli or Paycheck, I’m not sureRead Full Review

emma-movie

Emma

The wits of Jane Austen have graced the movie screen so often, you’d imagine the works have perhaps gone stale. After all, her body of work is not vast as say Shakespeare or Stephen King,Read Full Review

the-traitor-movie

The Traitor

There’s a degree to which The Traitor understands how the movies have a large responsibility toward the connection people make between Italians and organized crime. In telling the true to story of Tomasso Buscetta (played wonderfullyRead Full Review

the-assistant-movie

The Assistant

Labelling Kitty Green’s The Assistant as a ‘#MeToo Movie’ suggests that her latest film is somehow attached to a trend as opposed to a glaring document of longstanding tradition. The film takes place in a ManhattanRead Full Review

once-upon-awards

Decent Maybe Awards for 2019

Best Director Gold: Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood Silver: Joanna Hogg, The Souvenir Bronze: Robert Eggers, The Lighthouse Best Actress Gold: Alfre Woodard, Clemency Silver: Elizabeth Moss, Her Smell Bronze: Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers Best Actor Gold: Antonio Banderas, PainRead Full Review

1917-movie

1917

World War I – humanity’s greatest foible, a complete failure of dignity and reason, a brutal testament to the fatal power of ego and pride – is often judged too complicated for the movies to tackle.Read Full Review

just-mercy-movie

Just Mercy

I will hear criticisms of Just Mercy. Those who will say that its adherence to a traditional story arc meant to highlight a typical hero’s journey cheapens the substance of its subject matter. That its legal proceduralRead Full Review

bombshell-movie

Bombshell

If nothing else, Bombshell is a feat of movie make-up. The amount of work in transforming this cast into a selection of contemporary media figures feels quite impressive. The film’s performances, led by Charlize Theron, areRead Full Review

frozen-2-movie

Frozen II

The fervor with which 2013’s Frozen caught fire (froze over? I’m sorry) can be attributed to its songs and proves that there is a much bigger audience for musicals than people think. I’m not sure whyRead Full Review

topmovies.2019

20 Best Films of 2019

2019 felt like a particularly good year; or at least one in which mentioning ten excellent films didn’t feel sufficient. We had stellar output from movie royalty (Agnès Varda, Martin Scorsese, Pedro Almodóvar), exciting newRead Full Review

clemency-movie

Clemency

Dramas about capital punishment should not be easy to sit through, but even in this regard, Chinonye Chukwu’s Clemency stands out. This slow burn feature focuses, with great patience and clarity, on the rippling nature andRead Full Review

little-women-movie

Little Women

There’s a reason Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel, Little Women, is so often adapted. Its portrait of an American family rings true today, even as its story takes place over a century and a half ago. GeorgeRead Full Review

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

**My wife – a noted Star Wars fan – has told me that I should include a SPOILERS warning at the beginning. So here is that. Proceed with caution.** It’s apparent that Rian Johnson wasRead Full Review

the-two-popes-movie

The Two Popes

The Two Popes finds a lot of humor within the humanity of its title characters, who despite their papal designations, are still left to deal with life’s small humiliations, such as ordering plane tickets over theRead Full Review

a-hidden-life-movie

A Hidden Life

A Hidden Life is the sixth film from rarified filmmaker Terrence Malick this decade. He had made only four total in the four previous decades. This burst of prolific activity has had its ups andRead Full Review

uncut-gems-movie

Uncut Gems

The Safdie brothers universe is somewhere in between the gritty verité of 70’s William Friedkin and the neon pastiche of 80’s Michael Mann, and yet their films always escape feeling derivative. Their singular vision isRead Full Review