Parasite

A bonkers, beautiful, radical & drop-dead intelligent dark satirical tale of social inequality, mock egalitarian weirdness of late capitalism, class arrogance vs. monetary desperation, the perversity of the state of poverty, and all that without being up its own moralistic agenda. Amazing cinema, ending as epic daydream, twisting the social-commentary knife some more, like a pro. [read more] ★★★★★

What Did Jack Do?

David Lynch, as hard-boiled noir detective, interrogates a fugitive monkey suspected of murder in a crime of passion. As if fished from a hypnotic opium dream, yet fitting the P. Marlowe canon perfectly, it takes a Lynch to restore one’s faith in film as medium, and its capabilities as an art form to once again transform into something mysterious, illuminating, and worthy of awe. [read more] ★★★★★

Golden Globes 2020: Anarchy, Pomp & Circumstance

The human need for a pedestal is to look up to something that is desired, and ultimately, to be achieved. That particular social contract breaks when the chosen begin to look down at the rabble in complete disdain. If in doubt, read up on the French Revolution. And have some cake. The tyranny of being special purely for being wonderfully presentational. Suddenly, who makes that (free) speech begins to count again. [read more]

Bombshell

It took a grassroots revolution to demand a change in an entrenched way of dealing with sexual harassment and assault, especially on women, something that would always make victims feel exposed and grasping for shelter, as it diminishes their softest, and therefore most vulnerable space. Their intimate realms. The only way forward was to rebel furiously, collectively. Thus #MeToo was born. With all its contradictions. And what a curious gestation place it had, the very epicenter of bullish conservatism – Fox News. [read more] ★★★✩✩

Marriage Story

The exposure of the personal in public, when love becomes war, always carries within it a fundamental indecency, the prosaic dissecting the poetic. And the prosaic usually wins, as nobody outside a couple can really accurately assess the intimate space between them, least of all people hired to separate them, with benefits. But Baumbach, through Johansson and Driver, achieved the almost impossible. An intimate public display of regret that actually works both ways. [read more] ★★★★✩

The Two Popes

The fundamental premise of faith as a fortress of dogma to defend vs. a vast river emerging from one source, but open to all that need its waters, has been the key demarcation line in the two millennia of Christianity. Deferential, yet honest & investigative is a tough line to keep. But this is intelligent filmmaking, with two powerhouse performances, telling a difficult, highly sensitive tale in a low-key, old-fashioned way, through the prism of two excellent minds, in opposition, yet still talking. [read more] ★★★✩✩

Knives Out

Although I mostly write spoiler analysis, due to the nature of these reviews, I won't here, for the sheer pleasure everyone should have while watching this most enjoyable of cinematic experiences. An antidote, if you will, to the nasty landscapes it depicts, with extreme wit and a big heart. Go see it. It's an all-star murder mystery about inheritance. And yes, I give it five stars, without explaining why. My blog, my rules... etc. [read more] ★★★★★

Skin

Guy Nattiv's raw, yet subdued take on one man's redemptive arc is somehow more a love story than an examination of white supremacist groups in the US. What we do get is a precise headshot of a vile but limited menace, which we know is part of a much more widespread disease, with cult-like Viking-obsessed Vinlanders in the background, spread like a particularly repulsive smorgasbord of beer, puke & gloomy sexual encounters, every frame steeped in human misery and pointless rage. [read more] ★★★✩✩

Judy

This might be a gold standard Hollywood biopic, with the melodrama sentiments & fan mail, the pale devastation of the flesh smoothed over by flashbacks re-visioning studio corruption and blanket emotional abuse as a technicolor Oz nightmare. But, at its center, is a performance so raw, tender, and gut-wrenching that all the glitz only serves as a mere proverbial curtain. [read more] ★★★★✩

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