What If We Remade “I Confess”… But Sleazy?: And more movie notes

Wow, guys, this is a lot. Strap in.A Cottage on Dartmoor: British silent revenge flick; very grabby with the intercutting and the emotional intensity; ends with quite poignant scene of forgiveness. Forgiveness, rather than reunion, as the climax of a love story.Laura: Noir (although the noir style mostly doesn't kick in until late) and mostly standard, although I liked how pleasant and undefensive the career-woman scenes were. There's a specific kind of relationship here, the man who … [Read more...]

“The Long Years After Failure”: I review “After the Storm”

at AmCon: After the Storm, the latest film from writer-director Hirokazu Koreeda (Maborosi, Nobody Knows), opens with a discussion of the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, where U.S. figure skater Janet Lynn fell during her free skate, came up smiling, and won the hearts of the Japanese audience.Forty-five years later the reaction of elderly Yoshiko (Kirin Kiki), the mother of Storm’s central character, is very different. “She fell on her butt and got a perfect score,” Kiki grouses. “It doesn … [Read more...]

Moving Pictures from an Institution: Movie notes

Four films linked by a really depressing theme!Scum: Our institution: a 1970s Borstal (juvenile prison). Does exactly what it says on the tin, not quite two hours of violence and contempt. The use of rules as abuse, creating impossible demands (guard throws a prisoner back into his cell, spilling the guy's mug of soup, then snaps: "Dirty cell, you're on report"); use of prisoners' self-created hierarchies to divide and conquer. The scenes where suicidal prisoners are mocked and beaten are... … [Read more...]

Thirty-Eight Films (Favorite Movies from Each Year of My Life)

I've found these exercises so fascinating. Other people's lists have made me reconsider movies I'd decided not to investigate (should I watch Motel Hell???) and notice my own tastes: When you force me to choose, I often pick horror, comedy-horror, and children's movies, and I very frequently rank stories about girls and women higher than my guy film fan friends. Neither of which are claims of aesthetic superiority. But hey, if I throw my list out there, maybe those patterns will lead you guys to … [Read more...]

From Girlhood to Sublimity: Watching “The Fits” Again

It is the last dream of children: to be forever untouched.--Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name The AFI Silver theater in Silver Spring is doing this terrific series where they feature movies from the past year that you might have missed. I believe The Witch is later this week and yes, go see The Vvitch, it's vvonderful. (It's vvreally sad!) But what I saw in this series was The Fits, Anna Rose Holmer's extraordinary feature debut. It was the best movie I saw last year and now that … [Read more...]

Work Is a Four-Letter Word: Short movie notes

Let's do this one from worst to best, yes? Or no, "best" isn't what I want, let's do "worst to the one I moat want to talk about."Evil Laugh: '80s slasher, aka the one '80s horror subgenre I can almost never stand. This was an unusually stupid entry. There are organ meat gags (why did this random posh med student do-gooder have a thing for cooking organ meats?) and the music is indeed pleasantly neon-flavored, but that is about all the good I can say for this. I think I dug this thing up on … [Read more...]

Hey New York! Come See Me Yap About Catholicism & Art & the Body, This Thursday!

It'll be a neat little "interview" on the topic, "Christianity Is the Most Materialistic of All Religions." Hosted by the Crossroads Cultural Center, from 7 - 8 pm. Bring friends! For more info, and also the best photo of me taken since high school, click here. … [Read more...]