Going to start a thread here about my doomed, Quixotic mission to finish the @criterionchannl in quarantine as I slowly descend into madness.
In The Cut dir. Jane Campion (2003): A psycho sexual thriller about Meg Ryan's strange erotic journey from Milan to Minsk.
A Colt Is My Passport dir. Takashi Nomura (1967)- The coolest film ever made. Part Jean Pierre Melville, part Sergio Leone, all badass.
Bande a part dir. Jean-Luc Godard (1964)- What starts as a totally chill normal friendship between a young woman and two bros shooting their shot at the same time shockingly goes awry when they kill her landlady and make her rob her gangster neighbor
Paris Blues dir. Martin Ritt (1961)- If a buddy comedy with peak Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier as two ex-pat musicians in 1960's France isn't enough to get you in the door, Louis Armstrong plays a character named Wild Man Moore and is amazing. Great excuse to #listentomorejazz
Local Hero dir. Bill Forsyth (1983)- In honor of a fallen comrade: A man takes a break from American Capitalism and discovers he neither needs nor wants it.
The Swimmer dir. Frank Perry (1966)- From a moment in the late 60s when directors were adapting New Yorker short stories like comic books and every movie was weird and horny af.
Adam Resurrected dir. Paul Schrader (2008)- Jeff Goldblum is in a mental institution with a sporadic German accent in Israel after the Holocaust. Willem Dafoe is his Nazi tormentor who makes him act like a dog. There's a wolf boy, Goldblum has ESP. All of this actually happened.
Klute dir. Alan J. Pakula (1971)- The least realistic component of this classic Nixon era paranoid sex thriller is peak Jane Fonda showing even remote interest in creepy ass Donald Sutherland.
The Man Who Fell to Earth dir. Nicolas Roeg (1976)- *Rod Serling voice* What if I told you WE are the aliens? Tim and Eric owe Roeg a great deal.
Water Lilies dir. Céline Sciamma (2007)- There were not many people who saw Adèle Haenel in this synchronized swimming coming of age film but everyone who did started a band.
Playtime dir. Jaques Tati (1967)- A comedy commenting on the alienation and absurdity of urban modernity by a master Chaplin worshipper staged entirely in Drake's penthouse.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night dir. Ana Lily Amirpour (2014)- Fake black and white Iran is populated by predators and parasites. Everyone is a vampire and everything is blood.
The Bakery Girl of Monceau dir. Eric Rohmer (1963)- I was surprised to learn this film's original working title was, "The cute cashier at the Key Food on Flatbush I occasionally had harmless flirty interactions with circa 2010".
Several years ago in late March I started this viewing diary in slightly longer form for @Passionweiss. It also serves as a borderline insulting tribute to my favorite film critic @hamrahrama https://www.passionweiss.com/2020/04/14/the-earth-dies-in-quarantine-living-through-covid-19-with-film-3-10-3-25/
Pixote dir. Hector Babenco (1981)- Dickensian, depraved non-actor indie about a lost generation of kids in Brazil better than most of the films you've seen over the past 40 years it will remind you of. Helps explain why anyone would ever be desperate enough to vote for Bolsonaro.
The Draughtsman's Contract dir. Peter Greenaway (1982)- There's a maxim concerning Tokyo I'll paraphrase as, "The more you get to know the city the less you understand it." This puzzle box has the same quality. You can see it once and get it, but by the 3rd viewing you'll be lost
I Don't Want to Sleep Alone dir. Tsai Ming-Liang (2006)- Apt timing to watch this near silent humanist manifesto. Even when we have nothing, we have each other.
Un Flic dir. Jean Pierre Melville (1972)- One last job from the French God of gangster cool. The film deglamorizes the Sisyphean ritual of crime and the dogma of those that fight it. Its only real sin is casting Alain Delon as a flic, or cop, which will never be ok.
A Place in the Sun dir. George Stevens (1951)- Poverty is the slow moving unkillable monster in this horror film. It's a melodramatic tragedy but seems to misunderstand what the actual tragedy is.
The Harder They Fall dir. Mark Robson (1959)- Stop me if you've heard this one before: A sportswriter finds himself out of work and has to compromise his morals to survive.
The French Lieutenant's Woman dir. Karel Reisz (1981)- Parody account of a Victorian narrative we've seen many times before. Nobly strains to make an unfilmable book filmmable. Whenever you're struggling with your writing remember even Harold Pinter took Ls
The Hunger dir. Tony Scott (1983)- You guys will never guess where Blade got its entire aesthetic from. Also notable for a HOF sex scene between Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon.
28 year old Hepburn with 56 year old Cooper is cringe, but I'm still waiting for comedy to catch up with mid century Wilder. Also, with my discovery of Maurice Chevalier I can now confidently say after 20 years I get every reference in Annie Hall.
Losing Ground dir. Kathleen Collins (1982)- A drama that unfortunately never realizes it's a comedy. The first sentence of its obituary concerns its revolutionary representation, which is a shame because it's more interesting than that.
Kinetta dir. Yorgos Lanthimos (2005)- I watch certain movies and think to myself it might be cool to hang out and get a drink with the director. I never think that when I'm watching Lanthimos.
The Lady from Shanghai dir. Orson Welles (1947)- Rita Hayworth is surrounded by sweaty sex starved drunks. She plots to kill them all and gaslights them into thinking they're plotting against each other. Satisfyingly pulpy trash.
Urban Rashomon dir. Khalik Allah (2013)- What begins as a slightly more exploitive and way more pretentious World Star clip turns into a thoughtful consideration of the relationship between the artist, the camera and the subject.
Vagabond dir. Agnes Varda (1985)- Appropriately this film about a philosopher drifter is commanded by a horror score Jonny Greenwood probably fucks with. It's a drama that communicates the sheer terror of being a lone vulnerable woman in a world overflowing with menace.
The Pride of the Yankees dir. Sam Wood (1942)- I'm not crying- wait actually I'm crying. I write these blurbs in a pithy voice but today I'm going to take a break to say sometimes it's a pleasure to escape into a beautiful, hero worshipping fairytale narrative. Also, Babe Ruth.
House dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi (1977)- I watched this 90 minute Adult Swim freakout with my three year old daughter who can't read subtitles or follow narrative and she understood everything.
High and Low dir. Akira Kurosawa (1963)- Tony Scott's favorite Kurosawa. A potboiler procedural that is also a morality play. The story interrogates economic disparity and the psychosis of poverty. A masterpiece.
The Cranes are Flying dir. Mikhail Kalatozov (1957)- We spent much of the 50s obsessed with beating Russia to the moon. In a country with sensible priorities, we would've been focused on working a handheld camera half as well as revolutionary cinematographer Sergey Urusevsky.
The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1972)- A surprisingly beautifully shot stage play/bottle episode about two roommates getting on each other's nerves.
Long Day's Journey Into Night dir. Bi Gan (2018)- The prettiest version of one those late 90s Sundance Channel indies. The editing has that same poetic, dreamy quality in its exploration of memory and loss.
Lured dir. Douglas Sirk (1947)- This is exemplary pulp, an absurd serial killer noir set in London. The stroke of genius was casting Lucille Ball, who is electric.
Two Weeks in Another Town dir. Vincente Minelli (1962)- I have to believe Quentin Tarantino never saw this indictment of the old Hollywood studio system in hospice. If he had, he might've never made his deeply nostalgic OUATIH. Also, Michael Douglas is Diet Kirk Douglas
Repulsion dir. Roman Polanski (1965)- I would never inject bleach but now I can imagine what that might feel like.
Gas Food Lodging dir. Allison Anders (1992)- This coming of age film was fun but I'm disappointed I didn't see it in what I would assume was its natural habitat on a constant loop on HBO during a summer in the mid 90s.
The Crimson Kimono dir. Samuel Fuller (1959)- A truly great LA noir tackling race by not really addressing it when a burlesque dancer is killed in Little Tokyo. Economically paced but played with detached cool by its great buddy cop leads. Sam Fuller>
Europa Europa dir. Agnieszka Holland (1990)- Sort of like "This is Us" because it's about two very different people who share a birthday. If you think male circumcision is mutilation this is the film for you.
Foxy Brown dir. Jack Hill (1974)- I did not fully appreciate the near psychotropic beauty of Pam Grier till I actually sat down and watched this. Also, this movie is so much more insane and dark than you'd expect but it's very necessary context.
La Jetée dir Chris Marker (1963)- A visionary sci-fi radio play set to striking still images. A story that proves the forever dystopia, that we are always looking back and it's always too late and we're always doomed.
Cactus Flower dir. Gene Saks (1969)- Drain 70% of the wit and imagination from "The Apartment" and you get a meh late 60s studio lot NYC sex comedy. Though with a stacked cast it's fun, albeit with terrible sex politics. Notable because somehow, Hawn won an Oscar for being cute.
Day for Night dir. François Truffaut (1973)- A documentary style filmmaking procedural with the legend playing himself. The montage when everything begins to click is an all-timer.
The Out of Towners dir. Arthur Hiller (1970)- Representation for the community of shitty Elite Yelpers who come into the City on vacation to complain about it. Also pretty sure this film is the inspiration for The Simpsons classic "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson".
Meek's Cutoff dir. Kelly Reichardt (2010)- Pre-internet, on familty road trips, my Dad hates traffic so we'd take "detours" to avoid jams, but he was just guessing and we'd get lost and my Mom would get justifiably pissed. That's what this movie is about. Happy Mother's Day.
Rififi dir. Jules Dassin (1955)- I recently went on a Melville run and it’s impossible to watch this procedural w/o thinking of him. They invented the genre this year w his Bob The Gambler, and this is the better film. A kick ass heist movie. Incredible it was one of the first.
Wadjda dir. Haifaa al-Mansour (2012)- Becoming a young woman is impossible. This incredible film multiplies that by a patriarchal theocracy. Gorgeous and devastating. Please watch.
The Deadly Affair dir. Sidney Lumet (1967)- I don't have a weighted electric blanket but I do have great le Carré adaptations to watch.
Mauvais Sang dir. Leos Carax (1986)- Hallucinatory, dream logic "Breathless written by an AI meme generator, photographed by Terrence Malick and edited by David Lynch.
The Forest for the Trees dir. Maren Ade (2003)- From the days of rough early aughts digital. A Mumblecore Mike Leighish character sketch about a badly overwhelmed, socially awkward young teacher in a new city and school.
Daughters of the Dust dir. Julie Dash (1991)- Equal parts Twain and Morrison, it's beautiful tone poetry. A historical exploration of the promise of assimilation in America.
Mississippi Mermaid dir. François Truffaut (1969)- You can read Truffaut interview Hitchcock or you can watch Truffaut make his fucked up version of a Hitchcock flick. Only one affords you the opportunity to hang out with vintage femme fatale Catherine Deneuve for two hours.
Joe Versus the Volcano dir. John Patrick Shanley (1990)- A cartoon fairytale with a caramel core. Quirky for sure, but at times effective in its lyricism and infectious love for life. The darkhorse for best Hanks/Ryan rom-com.
Paper Moon dir. Peter Bogdanovich (1973)- a Venn diagram overlap of the Coen Brothers and Alexander Payne in a screwball film nerd tribute. This one a road movie featuring a depression era huckster bible salesman driving a spunky resourceful orphan to her family in Missouri.
Police Story dir. Jackie Chan (1985)- FUCK YES. The idea that this genius would spend a period of his career directed by Brett fucking Ratner is bone chilling and heart breaking.
The Decameron dir. pier paolo Pasolini (1971)- A Whitmanesque excavation of the dark ages. It’s a tactile and funky series of humorous, uninhibited 14th century vignettes celebrating ancient and eternal physicality.
Waiting for Guffman dir. Christopher Guest (1997)- I wish Guest spent the last 3 decades finding fresh, so-normal-it's-psychotic Americana subcultures to skewer, cranking out one classic mockumentary a year with the exact same crew. There could never be too much of this. R.I.P.
The American Friend dir. Wim Wenders (1977)- Some days I really think Dennis Hopper had the most compelling, unique screen presence I’ve ever seen in my life. When he’s at his unhinged, menacing, explosive best (that is to say, always) you can’t take your eyes off him.
Taste of Cherry dir. Abbas Kiarostami (1997)- If you find yourself hitchhiking around Tehran in the late 90s, I can't recommend taking a ride with the soulful, occasionally dickish gentlemen with sad eyes in the dusty white Range Rover (even though his movie is great).
3 Faces dir. Jafar Panahi (2018)- Intentionally paired with Taste of Cherry, his former assistant takes the master's meta textual discussions of spirituality, freedom and equality and grounds it in narrative. A dread inducing, riveting tone poem.
Death Race 2000 dir. Paul Bartel (1975)- A midnight Mario Kart rally that (may have?) invented the dumb-allegorical-dystopian-gladiator-sport-sold-by-the-state-run-media-industrial-complex-to-appease-lobotomized-materialist-masses-under-fascism Genre.
Law of the border dir. Lutfi O. Akad (1966)- A dark western set in a village on the border of Turkey and Syria focused on a struggle between livestock farmers, smugglers and the army. Desperately need mid 90s Rza to flip this score.
Antonio Gaudi dir. Hiroshi Teshigahara (1984)- Many believe the Louvre is the largest museum on Earth but it’s actually the entire city of Barcelona. Gaudi is its premier artist in residence.
Orlando dir. Sally Potter (1992)- a magically real and sumptuous gender fluid, queer, mystical period piece crying freedom.
Murder by Contract dir. Irving Lerner (1958)- An equal parts cool and coiled, highly disciplined hitman/philosopher is undone by his own rigid code.
The Pawnbroker dir. Sidney Lumet (1964)- a man survives the holocaust, but never really gets away from it. Relentlessly bleak.
His girl Friday dir. Howard Hawks (1940)- Old Testament Sorkinism. If you're into that kind of thing.
The Age of Innocence dir. Martin Scorsese (1993)- I knew Scorsese was the goat when he adapted a Wharton melodrama three years after "Goodfellas", and it was faithful but simultaneously, unmistakably his.
Dheepan dir. Jacques Audiard (2015)- An immigrant story that updates and complicates the story you expect it to tell. The horrors and perhaps even comforts of war? Toggles between genres before settling on Gran Torino.
Metropolis dir. Fritz Lang (1927)- At this point, the only sane assumption is we're all actually inside Moloch.
Bless Their Little Hearts dir. Billy Woodbury (1983)- A Neo realist examination of the deleterious effect of poverty on the lives and souls of a middle aged couple struggling in Reagan’s Los Angeles. Some days, I think Charles Burnett was the goat.
Harlan County, U.S.A. dir. Barbara Kopple (1974)- It's absolutely fascinating to watch the dignity, courage and heroism of these Kentucky miners taking on the tyranny of the American labor apparatus, whose children will all grow up to vote for Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell.
Black Panthers dir. Agnes Varda (1968)- A miracle of timing. It catches the Panthers in their “Free Huey” moment. They're at the peak of their moral high ground as American icons. Varda's best decision is to let her fascinating subjects represent themselves in long clips.
Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion dir. Elio Petri (1970)- If he had it to do over again, I think Bret Easton Ellis would’ve made Patrick Bateman a cop. Disarm and defund the police.
Z dir. Costa-Gavras (1969)- I thoroughly enjoyed this documentary about America filmed yesterday. Probably the best film posted on this thread thus far.
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie dir. Luis Buñuel (1972)- Between this and The Exterminating Angel, I'd pass on Buñuel's dinner party invites.
Raging Bull dir. Martin Scorsese (1980) (Director's commentary)- We’ve been looking in the wrong place all along. The next ten hour documentary we need is Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker watching their movies on an iPad and reacting.
Songs my Brother Taught Me dir. Chloe Zhao (2015)- The Eternals is either going to be the best or worst comic book movie ever made, but it will definitely be the strangest.
Friends with money dir. Nicole holofcener (2006)- This is going to sound like a Borowitz headline but I absolutely mean this: It’s insane that at this point, Mad Max Fury Road is closer to our reality than mid aughts, urbane class dramedies of manners.
The Straight Story dir. David Lynch (1999)- Lynchified Disney or Disneyfied Lynch and who can even tell the difference?
Lenny Cooke dir. The Safdie Brothers (2013)- Mike Fratello's Glengarry Glen Ross moment, the showdown with baby Lebron, the heartbreaking closing speech, Lenny's entire, fucked up, Shakespearean arc. The Safdies really don't miss.
Celine and Julie Go Boating dir. Jacques Rivette (1974)- Casually consuming 22 oysters with a single lemon and an entire bottle of fino sherry over the course of three hours is the perfect way to take in this weird, delightful, indulgent hang out movie.
Grave of the fireflies dir. Isao Takahata (1988)- What the actual fuck. Why did they make this fucking movie? I want to set my eyes on fire. They need to take every physical and digital copy of this, pack it all into a rocket, and shoot that shit into the fucking sun.
A Dandy in Aspic dir. Anthony Mann (1968)- and the 1968 Oscar for Best Double-Cross, Intrigue-Packed Cold War Thriller With a Weird and Shitty Name goes to…...
In the Mood For Love dir. Wong Kar Wai (2000)-
Tired: Don’t shit where you eat!
Wired: Shit where you eat!
Tired: Don’t shit where you eat!
Wired: Shit where you eat!
Joyce at 34 dir. Joyce Chopra & Claudia Weill (1972)- You remember how people were worried about seeing Marriage Story with their partners?
Between the Lines dir. Joan Micklin Silver (1977)- There is an incredible scene early in this film. A member of the editorial staff of this alt-weekly assaults the sales guy because he’s sold so many ads it limits the word count the writers can cram into the latest edition.
La Chinoise dir. Jean-Luc Godard (1967)- This satirical essay is evidence that the conflicted desire to worship/roast tiktokers and their admirable/insufferable passions is ancient and eternal.
History Is Made at Night dir. Frank Borzage (1937)- Enough plot for 3 movies. It’s a divorce story, a crime story, a star crossed love story, a workplace comedy, a melodrama, and finally, a disaster film ending in a moving near tragedy.
Blue dir. Krzysztof Kieślowski (1993)- A woman has to decide whether or not to return to life after unspeakable tragedy. Still not entirely sure how it ends on a powerful, hopeful note, but it does. Juliette Binoche burns this film to the ground.
White dir. Krzysztof Kieślowski (1994)- Or, Polexit. An impotent Pollack embarks on a Dumasian quest for vengeance against his French wife after he’s robbed of everything by the state.
Elles dir. Małgorzata Szumowska (2011)- I had to check my tab at one point to make sure I wasn’t watching Pornhub. But this movie earns it. It’s a sharp and explosive exploration of power dynamics, agency and desire. An interesting double feature with Verhoeven's 2016 Elle.
Conversations with Intellectuals About Selena dir. Lourdes Portillo (1999)- A pre-poptimist discussion about Selena and what she represented as a cultural touchstone. Will remind you how annoying all the posthumous Pop Smoke think pieces are.
Paris, Texas dir. Wim Wenders (1984)- A man is gutted and destroyed by grief over his own mistakes and the life he lost, which would be maudlin and self pitying and uninteresting if the film wasn’t brilliantly shot, and the man wasn’t Harry Dean Stanton.
The Bowery dir. Sarah Driver (1994)- Within a few weeks of landing on the island of Manhattan in the 17th century, Dutch settlers were overheard complaining that the city has changed for the worse and will never be the same.
Hail Caesar! dir. the Coen Brothers (2016)- I’m generally not an embrace the mystery type, but if you’re as smart or less smart than I am, I’ve come to the conclusion your best bet is to embrace the mystery of this film and take delight in its wonderful pieces.
Carnival of Souls dir. Herk Harvey (1962)- Guessing this shapeless, organ scored, nightmare logic freak out was David Lynch’s favorite movie as a kid.
Mysterious Skin dir. Gregg Araki (2004)- Brutal coming of age story about the inescapable legacy of trauma. Remember when Joseph Gordon Levitt was the most interesting young American actor?
The Secret of the Grain dir. Abdellatif Kechiche (2008)- A film about the unifying powers and universal language of the table, and a Tunisian immigrant's fight for family and culture in French society. Hafsia Herzi is a star.
Pierrot Le Fou dir. Jean-Luc Godard (1965) & Made in the U.S.A. dir. Jean-Luc Godard (1966)- Starting to feel like much of Godard may not be for me.
Infinite Football dir. Corneliu Porumboiu (2018)- Sometimes, when people face limitations in their lives, it causes them to put their energy into other things. Slowly, we discover this dreamer's effort is nothing short of wistful, utopian freedom from disappointment and pain.
Seconds dir. John Frankenheimer (1966)- A Twilight Zone episode of meta textual queer cinema. A man in suburban purgatory, constricted by the limitations offered by society and his conventional decision making, agrees to a Face/Off procedure and comes back as……. Rock Hudson.
Histoires d'Amérique: Food, Family and Philosophy dir. Chantal Akerman (1989)- Me and my family moved in our apartment complex, a gate with a serial code was put up next
The Naked Kiss dir. Samuel Fuller (1964)- A complete subversion of the femme fatale. Fuller is incapable of making bad decisions.
Blood On the Moon dir. Robert Wise (1948)- A literal drifter who says, “I’m gonna drift” multiple times, gets caught up in a turf war on an Indian Reservation where property is still very much an abstract concept. Mitchum deserves to have Brando/Dean level respect on his name.
Come and See dir. Elem Klimov (1985)- A tactile Russian punk rock Apocalypse Now by Ben Wheatley. The chaotic noise of war. The smoke and soot and mud of war. The animal wanton idiocy, the bloodthirsty madness, the piss and shit, the rape and pillage of war.
Tchoupitoulas dir. The Ross Brothers (2012)- A kaleidoscopic all nighter with three young brothers serving as tour guides in one of the world's greatest cities. The Ross brothers shoot the doc like a hallucinatory impressionist painting. Gorgeous, stirring
The Pornographers dir. Shôhei Imamura (1966)- A Surreal, heavily stylized, haunted, horny, bizarre, brilliant story about schmucks wrestling with human frailty in a port city. Todd Solondz’s favorite Imamura.
I shot Jesse James dir. Samuel Fuller (1949)- This iteration of Bob Ford has major Bishop in Juice energy. If you enjoyed the incredible 07 Brad Pitt vehicle, this is the essential, equally incredible source material you didn’t realize it was riffing on.
Contempt dir. Jean Luc Godard (1963)- The first act of this film is probably the best movie about movies ever. Godard ends up in his comfort zone, wedged up his own ass, but the themes and performances (Particularly Palance, on meth, beamed in from a weirder film) redeem it.
The Human Factor dir. Otto Preminger (1979)- Iman shows up in Preminger’s final film, a Graham Greene adaptation with fascinating racial politics.
Grand Prix dir. John Frankenheimer (1966)- If I could have any historical director helm any installment of a great action franchise, I would enlist Frankenheimer to direct a Fast & the Furious film. This seriously fucking owns.
Mafioso dir. Alberto Lattuada (1962)- A country mouse/city mouse satire about the joys and burdens of family and home. You can’t go home again, but can you ever really leave?
Arrival dir. Denis Villeneuve- So these posts are generally for Criterion movies I’ve never seen. I needed to rewatch this after finishing Exhalation. I remembered this film as good, but oops, a fucking masterpiece.
The Naked Spur dir. Anthony Mann (1953)- True grit in nearly neon technicolor, a desperate pressure cooker as a cobbled together crew of post civil war misfits scheme with and against each other to bring a bounty in for justice. Worthy of its academy award nom for screenplay.
Alphaville dir. Jean Luc Godard (1965)- Lets do Godard’s career over, but this time he’s only allowed to make atmosphere rich, sci-fi neo-noirs.
Women Without Men dir. Shirin Neshat & Shoja Azari (2009)- In this gorgeously photographed period piece art installation, as Iran fights for its autonomy as a nation, its women struggle for their own as individuals.
12 O’Clock Boys dir. Lofty Nathan (2013)- Shout to Baltimore. A documentary about a kid named Pug that is also about police brutality, cycles of systemic racism, poverty, and a brotherhood of freedom, protest, and mentorship learned through dirt bikes.
The Comfort of Strangers dir. Paul Schrader (1990)- My actual favorite film genre is the atmospheric, psychosexual thriller, European vacation/affluence porn. Even more so when it involves psychotic Christopher Walken doing a wacky, sporadic accent
Shock Corridor dir. Samuel Fuller (1963)- America is and always has been a corrupt and deadly asylum that makes us all crazy.
Exotica dir. Atom Egoyan (1994)- I found a type of guy. This jigsaw puzzle is Equal parts the whitest and most 90s movie ever made.
Born In Flames dir. Lizzie Borden (1983)- A Punk Zine pomo fem dystopian student film, if you’re into that kind of thing.
The Little Prince dir. Stanley Donen (1974)- Watched this with my kids. Huge H.R. Pufnstuf energy. Wild that literally every piece of children’s entertainment from the 70s was the direct product of a cocaine and acid cocktail.
Alps dir. Yorgos Lanthimos (2011)- Lanthimos already has two legit masterpieces under his belt (Dogtooth, The Favourite), but too often, he equates “weird” with “good”.
Jayhawkers dir. Kevin Willmott (2015)- The largely untold story of Wilt Chamberlain at Kansas. A weirdly stilted, black and white after school special examining how a game, and a country, evolves.
Station West dir. Sidney Lanfield (1948)- A pretty shockingly great, sophisticated western mystery. An undercover army agent has to get to the heart of corruption in a gold mining outpost.
A Dry White Season dir. Euzhan Palcy (1989)- A somewhat clunky, shocking depiction of state terror including graphic torture and unarmed children being murdered. Fat Old Brando is pulling up from the logo the minute he appears as the perfectly droll, hammy, cynical lawyer.
Pigs and Battleships dir. Shohei Imamura (1961)- In occupied postwar Japan, a gang of desperate yakuza have to rely on grotesque pigs to survive. They also hustle livestock.
Kill List dir. Ben Wheatley (2011)- Wheatley’s most grotesque, disturbing, abrasive film by a wide margin, which is really saying something.
Hopscotch dir. Ronald Neame (1980)- Pretty sure Walter Matthieu crawled out of the womb as a wry, bemused 60 year old.
Until The End Of The World dir. Wim Wenders (1991)- This movie is five whole hours (i bailed after 2). If they condensed the story to 30 minutes my review would be: bloated, but nice to look at.
The Stranger dir. Orson Welles (1946)- Thinking about how the Nazis among us used to have the decency to hide in plain sight.
Day of the Outlaw dir. Andre DeToth (1959)- The score for this absurd, tense Western melodrama was done by Alexander Courage, a composer who is famous for the Star Trek theme, but should be famous for this.
Cure dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa (1997)- When you type the word “Detective” into the @criterionchannl search engine, absolute magic happens.
Cruel Story of Youth dir. Nagisa Oshima (1960)- Oshima has a writing credit on that Dead Prez song about credit card scams and robbing pizza delivery drivers.
Mona Lisa dir. Neil Jordan (1986)- If I could go on a bender with any actor, I think it would’ve been Bob Hoskins.
Vera Drake dir. Mike Leigh (2004)- We once did not treat the brave women’s reproductive health service workers with the respect they richly deserved. But now we
The Last House on the Left dir. Wes Craven (1972)- A campy, horny, stoned, goofy, sadistic, nihilistic, ketchup soaked home video that kind of turns into Home Alone.
21 Bridges dir. Brian Kirk (2019) A Lumety potboiler is held together by its young star. Boseman turns in a Liam Neeson performance, selling the action with magnetic, hard bitten gravitas. What took Liam 30 years, Chadwick earned with us in under a decade. That’s special. R.I.P.
The Elephant God dir. Satyajit Ray (1979)- This print is washed but “The Elephant God” is admittedly a way cooler macguffin for a twisty detective film built around a mythical statuette than “The Maltese Falcon”.
Money Movers dir. Bruce Bereford (1978)- For me, the action is the Jeweeeerrrrrsh (This is a phonetic spelling of how I imagine Australians pronounce juice).
Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers dir. Les Blank (1980)- Obsessive garlic subculture is a Christopher Guest mockumentary waiting to happen. Desperately wish I could’ve been at Chez Panisse eating garlic with Alice Waters and Werner Herzog in the late 70s.
All or Nothing dir. Mike Leigh (2002)- Timothy Spall is always great, but he’s done his best work with Leigh, and maybe his best of all in this bleak, working class drama as a joyless cab driver with a bad die job. Fat, pimpled, hormonal James Corden is a great time capsule.
Andrei Rublev dir. Andrei Tarkovsky (1966)- Making art under the yolk of fascism in 15th century medieval Russia. Dreamy, deliberately paced and ruminative, obviously.
The Walking Hills dir. John Sturges (1949)- On the Calexico/Mexicali border, a kind of Sierra Madre riff.
Rancho Notorious dir. Fritz Lang (1952)- An incredible combo of a great, gritty noir with the dumbest theme song I’ve ever heard in my entire life.
River of Grass dir. Kelly Reichardt (1994)- This very Sundancey, sweaty, farcical Floridian caper is surprising if you’re familiar with the aesthetic Reichardt will eventually refine.
Sullivan’s Travels dir. Preston Sturges (1941)- This comedy is not at all what I thought it was. It comes right out of the gate throwing fucking gas and never really lets up.
Top 5 Directors I’ve either discovered or come to better appreciate during this absurd pursuit:
5. Rainer Werner Fasbender
4. Wim Wenders
3. Nagisa Oshima
2. Sam Fuller
1. Shohei Imamura
5. Rainer Werner Fasbender
4. Wim Wenders
3. Nagisa Oshima
2. Sam Fuller
1. Shohei Imamura
Van Gogh dir. Maurice Pialat (1991)- Some people think movies about artists are boring but I’m not one of them. Pialat’s Van Gogh in his last days is grumpy and insufferable, but the film does a great job capturing his gaze. Jacques Dutronc>>>>>>
Memories of Underdevelopment dir. Tomas Gutierrez Alea (1968)- In Havana, in 1961, a member of the bourgeoisie grapples poetically with the life and the city he’s lost as his country changes. Things that aged the worst: the final third of this movie.
Tenet dir. Christopher Nolan (2020)-The true story of two obsessive, enigmatic men who embark on a suicide mission to Greenwich to have 2.5 hours of legit fun in an actual theater. Nolan’s third best ever give or take an Inception.
The Devil's Doorway dir. Anthony Mann (1950)- The worst offender you’ll ever see of racial recasting and brown face. Ironically, a rare western that strives to paint an empathetic, nuanced portrayal of native Americans dealing with racism.
It Felt Like Love dir. Eliza Hittman (2013)- Over the course of one Brooklyn summer of lost innocence, a young woman-
John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection dir. Julien Faraut (2018)- A fascinating interrogation of form and function. A training video is repurposed as modern dance that achieves beauty, and perhaps grace in the form of the tragic perfectionist Johnny Mac at Roland Garros
Endless Desire dir. Shohei Imamura (1958)- Imamura goes genre. A Sgt. Fury and his howling commandos riff that preceded the actual comic with a dark sense of humor.
To Be Or Not To Be dir. Ernst Lubitsch (1942)- I watched this and thought, “This must be Mel Brooks’ favorite movie”, then subsequently found out he produced and starred in a remake of this with Gene Wilder and Anne Bancroft in 1983.
Wings of Desire dir. Wim Wenders (1987)- Accomplishes what cloying pieces of shit like American Beauty aspire to. You will wiggle your toes, people watch on the subway, savor your next meal, and be awed as you are reminded of the incredible variety of the human experience
A Brighter Summer Day dir. Edward Yang (1991)- A sprawling, compelling, not coming of age epic about an immigrant Chinese family and middle school/high school aged street gangs in Taipei in 1960.
The Killers dir. Robert Siodmak (1946)- A sophisticated pitch black noir/procedural that plays with disrupted narrative. Burt Lancaster a thot.
The Killers dir. Don Siegel (1964)- Welp. @steadybloggin called it. This adaptation of the same Hemingway story is better, because to no one’s surprise, it’s a lot of fun rooting against Reagan “playing” a bastard. Lee Marvin a silver thot.
Primary dir. Robert Drew (1960)- Once upon a time, the Democratic Party chose a safe, moderate, promise making lib over an economic progressive. They used to make ridiculous jingles for presidential campaigns and I want to live in a world where @SkubaBaby makes one for Biden.
Incident by a Bank dir. Ruben Ostland (2009)- Some days Ostland is my favorite visual director. He has no peer when it comes to controlled chaos in the frame.
The Year Of Living Dangerously dir. Peter Weir (1982)- This movie deadass cast a white woman named Linda Hunt to play an Asian male named Billy Kwan and she won a whole Oscar for it. 80s were different.
The Castle dir. Michae Haneke (1997)- I have dreams sometimes that consist of spending what feels like hours trying unsuccessfully to get into a safe or behind a door I can’t seem to open. This movie, based on Kafka’s unfinished novel, captures those dreams perfectly.
Real Life dir. Albert Brooks (1979)- Some artists pretend to love themselves, but Albert Brooks is Jewish, so he doesn’t.
Imagine the Sound dir. Ron Mann (1981)- I think I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I can concede while I like it in theory, Free Jazz is just never going to happen for me.
Arizona Dream dir. Emir Kusturica (1993)- They don’t make them like this anymore. Probably for the best.
Once a Thief dir. Ralph Nelson (1965)- If I could make up a perfect movie from anytime in history, it would probably be a gritty, kinetic “One Last Heist” caper starring peak Alain Delon and break bad Jack Palance with music by Lalo Schifrin. And yet, just kinda mid.
Exporting Raymond dir. Phil Rosenthal (2010)- A fish leaves water to embark on a deranged, globe spanning mission to make the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond funny.
Graduate First dir. Maurice Pialat (1978)- If you believe an artist is their art, I’m deeply certain Pialat is a scumbag. I also feel uncomfortably seen by him.
Soleil O dir. Med Hondo (1970)- They will be making movies about immigrants facing xenophobia, racism and economic hardship in Paris till the end of time. This one, about Mauritanians, is smart, experimental, heavily stylized, and feels like it was made by Ralph Ellison fans.
A Fistful of Dollars dir. Sergio Leone (1964)- This space is supposed to be for movies I’ve never seen before, but every once in a while, I can’t resist.
The Two of Us dir. Claude Berri (1967)- In occupied France, an 8 year old Jewish boy has to go into hiding with a Catholic family where he bonds with their eccentric, anti Semitic patriarch. Charming, hilarious, and at times, moving.
Gregory Go Boom dir. Janicza Bravo (2013) & Woman in Deep dir. Janicza Bravo (2016)- No relationship makes sense to me except Janicza Bravo and Brett Gelman.