general reviews

sometimes write other reviews on my letterboxd [click bear]. will try to update this more often now that it's actually scrollable. click dividers to go back to top :-)

pvt chat
2020, dir. ben hozie

like many others, i became ephemerally captivated with julia fox after viewing ‘uncut gems’. as a result of her online presence and brief tryst with kanye west, this captivation has since changed shapes considerably [not necessarily solely for the worse], but her role in ‘pvt chat’ transports me back to that faraway time. fox plays a digital dominatrix by the name of scarlet, who inadvertently becomes the romantic fixation of peter vack’s jack, an internet gambler who seems to have given up on life and everything else. the majority of the film plays out in jack’s apartment, which is almost immediately covered with a nauseating, claustrophobic blue paint. camera angles help convey the vast void that jack keeps trying to fill with pixels painting smoking, scowling women in wigs and latex. when he does enter the outside world, it’s portrayed in a similarly simultaneously vast and suffocating manner; it is then that he sees scarlet in walking around in chinatown, and the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blend and blur.
something about me is that i really, really dislike perverts. this may be hard to believe considering my media consumption, but for me there is a fine line between erotic and explicit, and between explicit and exploitative. [though i can sometimes forgive the latter anyway.] intention is obviously an important factor. with this film, it’s easy to predict from the first fifteen minutes that this is a thriller of sorts, your run of the mill creepy-guy-stalks-sex-worker story-line, but its realistic, relatively light-hearted and unfortunately i must say ‘mumblecore’ tendencies tell me it’ll be more than that. overall, it’s a romantic comedy in a similar vein to ‘buffalo 66’ [insofar as the relationship should certainly not work] but obviously with added social commentary on the prevalence of perversion and the elusive internet. despite a significant number of the letterboxd reviews of this film being about jacking off to julia fox, i don’t know if it was the director’s intention for this to be softcore porn, though i only say that because of the abundance of male masturbation. [just trying to find a way to warn one that ‘peter vack jacks off a lot in this movie’ without being too crass]
this is ben hozie’s third feature, following two experimental festival failures, which is inspiring i guess. i am excited to look back and see if i remember this film at all fondly, and/or if i’ve finally sought out this guy’s previous films. i would recommend this film to mumblecore fans, perverts, and people who think buffalo 66 is cute. for only 86 minutes it kind of drags, and i’ve seen these topics addressed more succinctly decades before, which, considering the technological advancements in interpersonal digital communication, shouldn’t really be possible. anyway i smiled. but no more peter vack films please

actual people
2021, dir. kit zauhar

actual people is a 2021 film directed by kit zauhar, of unfortunately unknown astrological placement. from the first scene, we are a fly on the wall in the life of riley, and friends, trying to decide what party to go to, halfheartedly harassing her roommate. the dialogue is palpable in the way that i would normally nod my head, react in real time, but in this film i feel disconnected, invisible. riley is in her last semester of college, though struggling due to a breakup that she explains in excruciatingly vivid detail to a hookup from her hometown. again, the awkward energy is tangible, which i must commend, but we’re only ten to fifteen minutes in, and the scene lingers on for so long: a polarizing decision. riley’s core crisis seems to revolve around the romantic, amidst the actual existential turmoils en route to torment; where she’ll go when her lease is up, if she’ll graduate at all, if she’ll have to beg her parents to pay for summer school.
as a woman raised on fairy tales i can somewhat sympathize with this, but the way she goes about it only made me want to look away, or mute my television, when they were reading texts aloud: another polarizing decision. retrospectively, i have to admit seeing my own romantic delusions portrayed on-screen would likely be just as bad. before and after watching this film, i had been binge-watching girls for hours, to which many reviews have drawn comparisons [shoshanna even loaned her the equipment] — from the first scene featuring a friend i’m not sure we ever see again, i did hope there would be any poignancy at all regarding young women’s interpersonal relationships, even if messy, but riley’s friendships seem disappointingly disposable. by the film’s final scene, the primary feeling i was left with was an immense bitterness towards academia.
the director, allegedly averse to the ‘mumblecore’ label [it does sound lame i don’t blame her], cites hong sang-soo as one [of many] inspiration[s] for the ‘deeply unlikable’ genre of main character. i’ve certainly had similar reactions to some hong sang-soo films/characters, especially the earlier iterations; i think the difference between those films and his later films, and/or films like this one, is the depth of conversation, feeling, and interpersonal relationships, even if seemingly irreparable; not to mention the consistently calming cinematography. i don’t think riley is significantly worse than most college students on the brink of ‘adulthood’, it is just an experience i do not sympathize with, and i guess i prefer to see unlikable people when they have fake jobs like writing, and just walk around and get drunk all day. all this being said, i look forward to following zauhar’s career and evolution, at least until i figure out her zodiac sign !

2004, dir. takashi shimizu

one of many movies i watched as a teenager due to a screenshot on tumblr, i have not retained much memory of ‘marebito’, save for bucket-loads of blood, a sense of unease, and vague confusion. i was very excited to find it on dvd, and even more motivated to rewatch it following the cashier’s praise. little did i know, this film’s credits are more impressive than i’d imagined, starring shinya tsukamoto [coincidentally once found tetsuo the iron man for free at that same store], and written by chiaki j. konaka, head writer of serial experiments lain [of which i was not aware until around 25 mins. ago]. instantly, my sense of confusion resonated; this is not a very normal movie. this film is almost unreasonably insane. starts off sato-esque: a strange man constantly viewing the world – and especially its horrifying sides – through the lens of a camera. obviously i love this element, the emphasis on digital cameras’ effectiveness particularly in the horror genre. the film’s low budget makes its innovations especially impressive. said strange man, masuoka, much like bradley cooper in the far worse film midnight meat train, seems not to fear danger when he has a camera in his hand – holding it almost as a weapon – seeking it rather than running away, just like a good dumb horror protagonist. following the sounds of a cryptic creature, masuoka ends up underground, in some mysterious and mythical nether realm, casually strolling next to a man he’d filmed dying days before. from here, the lore becomes fascinatingly complex and odd, and before i can come to question it all, masuoka has ended up in another strange layer of the earth. here he finds an inexplicably still and pale girl chained inside a rock. as any sane person would, he rescues this girl from the underworld and takes her in. understandably, this decision sets off a disturbing chain reaction. despite sometimes coming off campy, this movie definitely manages to manufacture a feeling of unease. the editing can be experimental, which i think mostly works in its favor; unreality and delusion are implemented this way, like reality breaking apart. but i may be a sucker for that kind of stuff. speaking of things i’m a sucker for, paranoiac horror films really work for me: someone watching through the window, always watching, everywhere. it helps that masuoka is watching too, cameras all over his house, with him anywhere he goes. the shot at the end like the scream in blow out, i think a bleakly bittersweet ending is all you can ask for in this genre. i now want to rewatch both thirst and thesis. I kind of like horror movies

2022, dir. ti west

mia goth’s face has captivated me since the first time i saw it; i love a lack of eyebrows. consequently, i was obviously obligated to view ‘X’. to my dismay, the film gave far more screen time to… other things. i concluded that this was all simply a set-up to get me to view the prequel, but this was apparently not the case, as pearl was [seemingly] a spontaneous invention. with this in mind, i did not want to enter with exorbitantly high hopes, even remaining skeptical for the first hour or so, as the previous film went downhill about halfway through. i was immediately impressed by mia goth’s range – though the two characters she played have a lot of core traits in common, their mannerisms and energy are completely antithetical. the situation we find her in brings sympathy for everyone involved, being set in 1918 [notoriously good times]. her descent into madness is believable, agonizing, and for crazy country girls: relatable in a terrifying way. the ending was insane and i am not ashamed to say that i shed a few tears and am also shedding some now. my high hopes were not for naught; i got out of this film exactly what the first thirty minutes of X made me desire. pearl’s claustrophobia within her life is painfully palpable through her home’s darkness and isolation. at the beginning of the film, seeing her full of hope, my heart hurt because, from the first film, you know exactly how it’ll end up. as awful as she can get, you never stop wanting a world where it wouldn’t be this way. Life sure is hard for brunettes!

the roman spring of mrs. stone
1961, dir. josé quintero

i really have no idea who is choosing the films they show at the 'cinemateca'. after seeing a [more than] mildly disappointing film the day before, i had pretty low expectations for this one, the only shred of hope being linked to my very secondhand knowledge of tennessee williams' body of work. secondhand being, solely through references in 'her lesser work' by elizabeth ellen, a book i will never ever cease conversation about. i was immediately captivated, a stark difference to the day before, by the scenery of italy, technicolor goodness, and the imminent mental deteroriation of a glamorously styled vivien leigh. the film, of which the summary i failed to read prior, follows an aging theater star going on vacation with her older husband after a shakespearean failure, only for her husband to die on the plane over. she decides to stay in rome in a lavishly decorated apartment rather than head home -- and who can blame her! she is then introduced to a suspicious young italian man by a suspicious redheaded woman [there were so many more redheads in technicolor times -- bring them back]. long story short, this woman is a pimp luring luxurious, lonely women in to being, well, sugar mommies. note: almost all of the reviews remark on the ridiculousness of warren beatty's italian accent, but i must admit, i thought he was a real italian up until i looked at the credits later. i have no idea who tf warren beatty is, and i guess i know far less about italians than i thought as well... i didn't even question it!!! i wish everyone else in the film did shitty little accents too; i would have bought into it with utmost joy! i'm very bad at reviews because i don't know where to draw the line between trying to encourage others to watch it and spoiling the whole thing. the gist of it is, lonely woman, evil little man, the plight of limerence, loneliness, longing [all of my favorite topics]. the ending is wonderful. i don't see why this movie is so underappreciated, half of the reviews calling it vapid trash and other things. i do love trash, but i thought this was alright! the score, the fassbinderian relationships [really the ending adds to this a lot], vivien leigh's performance... i love older-woman-age-gap movies as well. i want to watch some more douglas sirk films now. i also want to read the novel it's based on. i like the book i'm reading now but this simply captivates me more... womanhood, am i right!!!!

love & loathing & lulu & ayano
2010, dir. hisayasu satô

i apologize for this page becoming a satô only review page but i cannot stop getting blown away by his filmography! this movie's description intrigued me as i looked through it; a troubled girl with mommy issues and a desire to 'become someone else' -- my kind of movie. i was hesitant to watch it because i'm not often in the mood to sit through five minute penetration scenes but this film is a lot more of a film than his other films, if that makes sense. as in, a sex scene every ten minutes is not a requirement. the film starts with the main character, now dubbed 'lulu sakurazawa', [this seems a spoiler but i don't think she says her name until the very end, one of the most provoking scenes, which really emphasizes this loss of identity, or lack of ever having a grasp at one at all] getting sucked into the world of porn. she is painfully shy but soon becomes haphazardly intertwined with her new persona. she works at the same agency as ayano, real name yoko, who has a shameful, violent past and a somewhat similar desire to escape. it almost goes without saying that the connection these two form is my favorite aspect of the film, and seems to be to be the entire point. satô is no stranger to the subjects of alienation and technology, and does so here with many characters from different backgrounds all ending up in the same kind of place. i'm glad other reviews drew comparisons to sion sono so i don't feel totally crazy... this feels very, very reminiscent of noriko's dinner table; loneliness in many forms, internet forums, tenuous connections, the desire to escape. there's also connections to love exposure insofar as showcasing the porn industry and the crazy people addicted to it, as well as, obviously, a violent but earnest and utterly sympathetic character by the name of yoko, who beats up men with a baseball bat. i surely wouldn't mind if it was as long as either of those movies. there's elements of surrealism, a strange soundtrack, satô's seemingly signature neon lights and city streets, blood spray like ketchup and nail polish, and most notably, a sequence of the main character pretending to orgasm in several cute costumes. also, whoever decided on this english title is wonderful and a genius. maybe this isn't the best movie ever, it's not noriko's dinner table, but these themes are endlessly fascinating to me, and as always, i love innately knowing when a certain film is going to ~touch me so deeply.

molester's train: dirty behavior/birthday
1993, dir. hisayasu satô

selected this solely because it was already past my bedtime, and this was one of the shortest films on my hard drive. i fully expected a mess of depravity, based on my previous experience with satô; gruesome sex scenes, murder, unsympathetic characters. being a pinku film, of course there was your fair share of the former (actually not excruciatingly gruesome kind of hot), but surprisingly the characters felt human, likable, almost relatable. the film follows a boy suffering from abandonment and consequentially depersonalization, who only finds reality somewhat tangible through the lens of his camcorder. he rides the train a lot with seemingly no destination, where he meets kei, a nineteen year old who also feels empty, lost, and most of all abandoned; so much so that she plans to blow herself up with dynamite on her 20th birthday -- hence the [proper] title. it's only fifty-five minutes so not that much occurs, but i found myself happily surprised by how much of a romantic and heartfelt film this was. yes there were molesters on the train, but they were merely a backdrop (literally) for the main character's journey of self discovery and acceptance with the little horrors of life. just depraved enough. everything about this made me want to crawl inside of hisayasu satô's brain, it seems like a fascinating place. i want to sample some of the dialogue from this in a song. i want to know everything about the making of this movie, like the camera he used, how they managed the sex scenes on a train, whether the song sung at the end is one that exists in reality... i love trains and cameras, i loved the ending, and despite being shot on a camera equivalent to my webcam, this movie looked quite beautiful; five stars, no complaints.

four rooms
1995, dir. anders, rockwell, rodriguez, tarantino

downloaded this on a whim whilst looking for new year's eve themed films, intrigued by the sight of madonna and thereafter [almost certainly not a real word] quentin tarantino. i anticipated a silly, forgettable, and pointless film that would simply play as background noise to my existential anxieties. instead, i got the greatest and most chaotic anthology film that i have seen to date. this follows a fruity bellhop named ted on an eventful new year's eve, a normal night gone awry, my favorite genre. madonna and her coven instantly drew me in; the interior design of their room, the honeymoon suite, was exquisite and though the segment was ultimately pointless, it was aesthetically and spiritually quite pleasing. goes without saying i would die for madonna. alicia witt made me not want but need to get into the art of bedazzling. i also thought the part where ted was looking at a picture that started moving was interesting. next, after regretfully leaving this room, the bellhop inadvertently enters a couple's hostage situation which turns out to be fetishistic roleplay. i thought this segment was fun because jennifer beals was so hot, and ted trying to escape through the tiny window was vaguely polanski-esque. don't ask me to explain. anyway, it was fun, i laughed. next thing i know, antonio banderas is on the screen [and thereafter! haunting my dreams] leaving his children with a bottle of champagne while he takes his wife out to have fun for the holiday. ted is paid $500 after some negotiation to look after them. as a bellhop rather than a babysitter, he does a terrible job, even bringing them a second bottle of champagne?! this segment was the best in every technical matter but was all over the place thematically, it was so dark i wasn't sure i should be laughing??? but the last shot along with the song playing was cinematic gold. lastly, we're brought to tarantino's segment, everyone's favorite [making a grossed out face as i type this]. i loved marisa tomei playing a gamer smoking weed, i forgot to mention i was on edibles while watching this so her character really resonated with me. anyway, this part had its ups and downs. the ups: cinematography and jennifer beals. the downs: quentin tarantino's wretched little face talking at me for ten minutes. this section follows an annoying director [guess who] drunkenly making a bet with his friend [based on some hitchcokc shit] that involves cars or mutilation. he pays ted $1100 to be the mutilator, and with some hesitation he accepts. bruce willis is repulsive here. but it was a wonderful ending to a wonderful film that i wonder why no one has ever told me about. i can't wait to watch it again next year. still pondering if this is something i'd be comfortable watching w/ oterhers...

killer sofa
2019, dir. bernando rao

once again a thoughtless pick based on first impressions has led to a surprisingly fruitful outcome. i didn't pick this movie, i probably wouldn't have, as i usually assume most schlocky lower budget horror-comedy films like this are not that funny or scary, which leads to an ultimately boring experience. so let it be known that went into this completely blind, i hadn't seen the title or poster or description, no idea what was coming my way. the film opens with some shocking shit that does not yet make sense and then transitions to some musical sequence [that i had actually blocked out until this moment due to the actual cringe of it] showing our protagonist, francesca, dancing. inspectors grape and gravy [coincidentally two of my nicknames] are in the crowd waiting to contextualize the aforementioned shocking scene; francesca's ex-boyfriend and stalker, frederico, had been chopped into little pieces. francesca, and her best friend, maxi, begin to explain her ~intoxicating effect on men, her seemingly perpetual habit of attracting overly obsessed stalkers. the two are a little concerned about the possible killer in their midst, but they suddenly have to leave to pick up a recliner [not a sofa, yeah]. the sofa is a bit anthropomorphic, not as the poster suggests, but in a much more innocuous way [which some described as 'cute'] with glossy button eyes and a deep crease in the perfect place to appear as a mouth. femme fatale francesca has a red-tinted sexual dream about the chair likely due to her frustation from dating(?) a gay guy for some reason. at this point, i did start to greatly question what i was watching. i then fell asleep a little because i thought it might be a porny movie but that had been the extent of it. anyway, i was intrigued so i continued it the next day. the recliner appears to be possessed, so it's good that best friend maxi's granddad is a rabbi and knows all about dybbuks, or at least about a youtuber who does. more stalkers keep showing up, and the recliner is also, of course, under francesca's spell. the movie teeters a fine line between taking it seriously and inviting laughter, which i enjoy. it feels much more like classic horror movies than modern ones, like it's made by people who like movies rather than just want to make money off of jump-scare trailers [if that makes sense]. evokes the feeling of giallo and thus made me think about scary of sixty-first, too. both have great shots, lovely actresses, and an unfair number of haters. for this one, i start to think some people just hate watching movies. i actually kinda loved this movie, though i'd have appreciated a little more gore, an ending that made more sense, and a more noticeable score. oh and shout-out to the super inspiring occult web design, underrated truly but guess this is how cult films are made

the scary of sixty-first
2021, dir. dasha nekrasova

they are treating dasha nekrasova as they did jesus right now... but one day they will see. considering dasha's past filmography, i had pretty low expectations for this film, especially after seeing screenshots of them talking about reddit [which i still think was maybe not necessary, but i guess it's realistic]. i've only seen a couple of giallo movies, but i truly think the atmosphere here lived up to them. i guess i really love apartment buildings and their stairwells, and girls going crazy in city streets at night. it's funny seeing some 1/2 star reviews ragging on her [for being pretentious] for using 16mm film but as usual i argue that it's okay, or maybe even better to be pretentious, but also that it is not necessarily pretentious to make an aesthetic decision that will lend more authenticity to the vibe that you are emulating!! as you may know, this film follows two toxic roommates who moved into an apartment that, unbeknownst to them, was previously owned by jeffrey epstein. one of the roommates [co-writer madeline quinn] is quickly made aware of this when some crazy girl [dasha] runs into her apartment throwing up about it. this film is campy for sure, as it should be, but also genuinely unnerving at parts. the other roommate [betsey brown] is immediately plagued by nightmares and soon plunged into full terror, which was quite uncomfortable to watch! to quote some review, "if a young cronenberg tried to remake the tenant but was completely incompetent and a vysanse addled waif"... which sounds perfect to me. audiovisually, this film is a treat. the production design, the soundtrack, the cinematography... i really don't understand how people are being so dismissive of this movie! if you hate dasha nekrasova so much that you can't view this objectively, why are you even watching it? to paraphrase [or directly quote] a review i liked, "giallo is supposed to be bad"!!! if it made you uncomfortable, was that not the intention? doesn't the prevalence of pedophilia in the rich disturb you? also have come to realize i love uncanny, out of place dialogue in films; for one, i talk like that sometimes, and more importantly, it makes everything more surreal. for that reason i think the acting was good actually.. and i am really mean to american actors!! i'm sorry that i love this! [i am not sorry at all] my only qualm is that i wish the film were longer, really. i just wanted to see more of everything; there's a lot of unanswered questions, much like in thesis (1996), but i suppose i forgive them both because they're my two favorite sexy mystery movies of all time, now. to me, the ending was a little cheap, but i don't know what else could have happened, and it feels like it did not end because we're still living in this sick world. speaking of, roku won't stop showing me ads for a ghislaine maxwell show. don't know how well the khachiyan cameo will age to people who don't listen to red scare podcast, but it was the best moment of my life. this really just makes me want to pop some vyvanse and write another shitty short film, and to me that is powerful! overall, i think this film is a beautiful cult classic in the making, i love dasha nekrasova she was born to be covered in blood [not in a weird way?], and look out for me maybe uploading 1000 screenshots. the visuals left a palpable impression on my brain, just like that bird scene in 'deep red'. oh, and i need to know what anime-prostitute game greg was playing as his girlfriend stares off into the distance -- what a scene. directors should be conceited!!! i love seeing pure passion, i don't care... anyway to paraphrase [or directly quote] another review i liked, "me if i lived in new york".

donkey punch
2008, dir. olly blackburn

i did not know what a donkey punch was before watching this, we decided on it solely because amazon prime wouldn't let us read the full description. unfortunately, it soon became apparent that this movie was... british... but we kept going anyway. very quickly, the three main characters meet and group up with some boys from a bar. they go on a boat ride despite some reluctance from the obviously inevitable final girl. they play a bunch of songs i like and do MDMA, i realize i'm horrible at reviews, am i supposed to sum up the movie? NO. so all u get to know is young adults doing drugs on a boat and it goes wrong... the film was predictable in a lot of ways but still managed to keep me captivated. yes, this is an idiot plot, none of this would happen to people who were not stupid [knocking on wood hehe]. however, i can generally say that idiot plots are realistic, people are lacking sense in a lot of areas, are we not?? the characters were annoying or cliche, sure, but to me, and my 'knowledge' of british 'people', they didn't seem too far-fetched. the characters do a lot of stupid shit but what would you do if you were involved in a 'freak accident' on a boat in international waters? quintessential toxic friend, kim, was the most realistic character to me, in the depths of her stupidity. there's a point in which she makes an absolutely fatal mistake, and i'm shaking my head like, 'yeah i've known people who would do exactly that'. this film explores friendship and fear in an honestly believable way and i can't believe all the reviews are simply 'wow this is vile', WHAT'D YU EXPECT??? yeah there were gratuitous sex scenes, [and actually not really gratuitous at all in the context of the film] but that goes for most things i've watched in my entire life. during the orgy montage i said aloud 'so this is what they meant by arthouse'. i hate to become a feminist again, but i agree wholeheartedly with this essay. as a Woman, this movie was terrifying to me! this was some lord of the flies ass shit and i can't believe i am passionately defending a british sex film right now.

2016, dir. ron clements, john musker

much like the previous entry, i've never felt any inclination to watch this film. this time, my boyfriend suggested this or avatar. i didn't, and still do not, want to watch avatar. i must be an absolute sucker for water animation because i was drawn in within minutes. don't feel like i need to describe the plot because everyone's probably seen it. while watching it, i came to a revelation; there is no need for me to feel averse to childrens' films, and there was no reason i shouldn't have seen this dumb little cute movie in theaters! upon reading reviews, i am shocked by the vitriol some people espose towards films like this. it exists for the simple-minded [kids], so why subject it to such scrutiny? that being said,,,, despite the plot revolving around something quite interesting to me -- demigods and islands and boats -- by the end i felt empty; it's just one of those films, where you can have a nice time watching it, but you're probably never going to think about it much again, at least past the surface level. just because it's a children's film doesn't mean we shouldn't have hard-hitting life lessons that stick with you forever. maybe there is more than meets the eye, but after spending my childhood watching ghibli films and having watched 'soul' a couple of weeks ago, i feel confident in stating that this film isn't particularly thought-provoking. i also did not like the songs, i never do. speaking of 'soul', i should have written a review on it. for a pixar movie that i wouldn't necessarily be interested in at first glance, i've thought about it a lot, as the theme/moral of the film hit really close to home. it was like the emoji movie but existential and excellent. i can't stop thinking about te fiti though, she is beautiful!!!!

what to expect when you're expecting
2012, dir. kirk jones

there is no discernible reason why i would watch this film, yet i did. i have never felt a smidgen of desire to know what happens in this film; but now i know. it wasn't that terrible, i saw some letterboxd reviews that insinuated that they couldn't even stomach the first twelve minutes, where i at least never felt an urge to turn the film off... but i've sat through a lot of terrible movies so it's not that great of a measurement. you might already know this, but the film follows five [i think] moms-to-be, from a famous fitness instructor to infertile jennifer lopez to trophy wife to children's book writer to anna kendrick who works at a food truck. as expected from a 2012 film the soundtrack was generally atrocious, especially the emotional-heartfelt-miscarriage-scene. there is also a scene where the aforementioned children's book writer gives a hormone-derangement-induced speech that gets turned into a viral little song, truly a window into the times -- the year everything went downhill, to be sure. the film was enjoyable enough due to all the actresses being charming -- note i said actresses, as none of the men were charming. the 'dads club' where they talk about feeding mcnuggets to newborns did not make dads look good in my opinion. i do not want my baby to be a fat little murderer from such a young age! politically, in this film abortion seemingly doesn't exist and circumcision is discussed, but i would like to know if cameron diaez took mr. schuester's opinion in mind with the son.... oh wait they have a girl lol :-). i still want a child [maybe] after seeing this film so yeah it wasn't that bad and i'm surprised people have such a visceral reaction towards it. also the director of this also directed nanny mcphee, idk if i ever liked that movie or not. oh dennis quaid was charming

la vie sexuelle des belges 4: la jouissance des hystériques
2000, dir. jan bucquoy

i downloaded this initially because it had a cool poster and is belgian. i assumed it to be a softcore porn movie, which made me put it off for months despite being only 80 minutes long. after watching 'eat the schoolgirl' a couple days prior, i felt belgians couldn't shock me much, so i went for it. i spent all eighty minutes being confused; was this reality? what am i watching? the last in a series, for one -- the first of which is conveniently streaming on prime -- and the makings of a madman. contrary to my first impressions, this is a blatantly godard-inspired pseudo-documentary [or not? still not sure where the line is drawn!] exploring themes of situationism, nihilism, revolution, love, sex, the usual. i couldn't find very much english-language information on this film in particular, unlike the first two in the series. it instantly transported me to 2000 due to the camera used and outfits worn (s/o gail of the poster) and knowing me, it wasn't hard to intrigue me through a montage of belgian women reading lacan [among others]. after a sequence of 'auditions' for a 'film', bucquoy tags along on a vacation to bali with one of the actresses who auditioned -- annoying her more each day. i thought this sequence was particularly captivating -- candids of a twenty-three year old who's probably more wise than the director. i just liked her a lot. a large portion of the movie follows the shooting of a film with hardly any plot, much to the cast's dismay, intercut with bucquoy lecturing on work and pleasure, and overthrowing the government in trade for putting all houses on lottery. i am down for that, he is a scorpio, this man is insane, i truly didn't know what i was getting myself into -- loved when a woman called bardot in godard's contempt [hate it more than any other godard film btw] a slut and a right-wing extremist in response to bucquoy's admiration. it's short, has hot ladies and stimulates the mind, couldn't have asked for more from the movie i thought would be primarily sex scenes - though go look at the poster and then come back and blame me for that !!

beasts clawing at straws
2020, dir. kim yong-hoon

initially downloaded this film simply because it looked mainstream enough to watch with my boyfriend without him instantly falling asleep, but as time passed, it quickly faded from the forefront of my brain -- it seemed 'fun', but mostly 'bad'. recently, i decided to watch it just so i could get it off my computer, and was pleased to find that it was the other way around. i couldn't remember or restate the plot of this movie because the description [see letterboxd above] is so convoluted, but that's how the movie turns out as well. it wasn't so bad, because when there got to be too many characters to keep track of, they just started killin' em off! a lot of reviews describe this as pulp-fiction-esque, and while i don't remember a second of that film, i did think the way the characters' plots intertwined [and the non-chronological storytelling] was similar, but still interesting. i came in with low expectations and this movie threw itself right at me; it was fast-paced to the point where when it was over i was shocked. i see why normies watch movies like this! it's not high art per se but there was some notable cinematography and the soundtrack wasn't grating to my ears, as one might expect in an action movie from the current year. the plot was relatively generic, just made me hate money more like all films of this nature, but is plot really that important? really . it was a sexy fun stylish movie, an experience that could be likened to taking a kl*nopin ; you don't really know what you're doing, but you feel happy and then it's a couple hours later and that's it and wasn't really a good metaphor now that i typed it out but anyway this film will go on list of 'movies i will recommend to my dad if it is one day on a streaming service'

the house that jack built
2018, dir. lars von trier

not that i looked into it much, but i felt a bit of hype for this movie; my cousin telling me it was gruesome, my not having a necessarily bad opinion on lars von trier, the fact that i love art, murder, and architecture, the trailer, even. i wanted to like it -- with its description, i thought there was no way i wouldn't, and at first i did! it starts out strong -- a bright red van against a snowy, slick forest road, uma thurman standing pretty outside her mint-green broken-jacked car, then quickly negging a strange man to murder her. it was fun, it was interesting. the next incident's more nonsensical elements amused me, as well as the bit where he kept going back to the crime scene to clean and check for blood stains. i laughed a lot, i related to the OCD elements, i thought it was cool he was building a house, i want to do that too. however, it is not a film about architecture and OCD!!! his OCD was cured by the next murder LOL! as with most movies that start out fast-paced, the pacing took a dive when matt dillon's character went on little monologues above images of him holding signs with snippets of some of the themes of whatever the fuck he's talking was so tacky, i can't believe no one is saying how tacky it was. maybe the whole movie was a joke, every second of it, is that what i'm not getting? most of the people who liked this movie seem to just tolerate von trier's bullshit to an extent that i may never, granted i've only seen nymphomaniac, i liked it but i was maybe fourteen. i understand tolerating a director's pretention, i mean look at the sagittarius filmmakers that i love... but they simply seem to care about cinema more. this film was ugly [save for perhaps five screencaps] and didn't say anything that sion sono hasn't already said like ten times. the excessive violence against women in this film is excused by it being a 'self aware' reflection of von trier's own urges or something, but it doesn't seem particularly self aware. i'm just saying if i was given the budget i could remake this movie to be way sexier and cooler. we get it the world is evil, at least make it sexy. i liked when jack built the house though, i really did. overall too long and i am truly the last girl to call about anything pretentious, but, this...c'mon.... and a duck died for it : -(

the moving-picture man/el cine soy yo
1977, dir. luis armando roche

this is one of a handful of films scoured for and downloaded solely due to juliet berto's participation in them, no matter how miniscule. in this instance, it has led me to a bittersweet hidden gem from venezuela. the film follows a man, essentially a drifter, making a decision to become a travelling projectionist -- today you have to take movies to people, not vice versa. after picking up a ten-year-old boy who had been banging on his rental van, calling it a whale, 'something only a child could imagine', he paints it red and they begin a journey across the country. among the way, amidst scams and soda, they pick up a french woman, my beloved juliet, who brings an unbelievable energy that brings the best out of the man and the boy, the former having been temperamental. they go swimming and sing and talk and love until they can't anymore, until the man decides to take control, and bring the happiness to an end. it was short and way more memorable and engaging than i'd expected it to be, and juliet's charm and collapse in the cockfighting pit will not be forgotten anytime soon!!

2019, dir. lorcan finnegan

i don't remember where but at some point i saw someone say something about this film, something that intrigued me enough to point it out to my boyfriend while looking for something to watch, despite the generic poster and low rating. i didn't even realize it was imogen poots in the leading role, perhaps her face should have been the forefront of that poster, considering she carried the whole movie. on amazon prime, trailers seem to either be a random two-minute clip from anywhere in the film, or an action-packed trailer which shows the entire film. this was the latter - more intriguing than a clip that's usually just men chatting in an office, but i mean, you know exactly what is going to happen. for me, the trailer ended up being more scary/exciting than the film, which was a slog mostly due to close-ups of jesse eisenberg being sappy [i hate to say it, i usually don't mind him as much as everyone else does...]. i didn't agree with a lot of joke letterboxd reviews asking what the point was; for me it was pretty easy to interpret it as some kind of allegory on the ideal suburban family life or real-estate vultures/capitalism, so much so that if i weren't already disillusioned against modern films, i.e. 14 again, i'd have posted a lot of screenshots of it on tumblr. it's just that this falls pretty flat; it's too obvious, it's too long, it's empty, despite the concept providing plenty of further brainstorming material. i liked the part where the ground opened up, i liked the elements of the slightly surreal, but it just didn't pan out. apparently the director has a short film with about the same concept, i assume the pacing was better there though perhaps the acting and [definitely the] production value were amplified here. i just hope that this film inspires a wave of films like it that execute it in an intensified way!~

red post on escher street
2020, dir. sion sono, 13/10/20

i came into this year fearing sion sono's output, as nicolas-cage-fronted 'prisoners of the ghostland' was scheduled to come out this year. i don't know when it's going to actually come out, but finding out about this was a breath of fresh air. i don't doubt that an english language sion sono film will be some kind of wacky fun, but i'm just hesitant to english-language films in general, maybe not especially but certainly consistently when they feature nic cage. i was saddened to look into red post's appearances at festivals and find that many of them had left the online festivals behind, fuck u guys for being better than us! however, there was one, and that is all it takes! this film's description is pretty vague, but it is exactly what happens: a bunch of people audition for a film. it's a cynical love letter to cinema as it simultaneously acknowledges the corrupt, greedy nature of the industry and celebrates the small actions the crew, the people who actually care about art, take to serve justice to cinema. we're introduced to a myriad of characters, a lot of them played by actors in their first feature films, all starting from different places in life, but ending up at the same red post, the same central 'd-day'. among these are a 'kobayashi true love club' who are endlessly dedicated to the director [the same way i am to sono] who sing in harmony, walk in harmony, and dress all in white -- clearly i would love to join -- and the somewhat central extras, [as chosen by the director's oracular girlfriend, katako] kiriko, a widow with overbearing parents who ran into the director in a gas station, and yasuko, who doesn't seem to care about the audition, or anything, whose hands are consistently covered in her dad's blood, who, together, decide to take the film's trajectory into their own hands, no matter what. the first minute i got alone after watching this i cried for at least fifteen minutes. it is cruel of sono to use the music from noriko's dinner table, it stabs me in the heart. the ending was one of my favorites in sono film history, and he's pretty fucking good at endings. i'd like to thank my sagittarius king for giving me a reason to live every year, i'm not kidding, the search for antiporno sustained me for a couple years, and it was worth it, of course. it's hard for me to articulate anything regarding his films because i'm just inclined to believe we have some kind of soul connection, i can't love practically the entirety of a filmmaker's work this much. pretty sure i dreamt about this one too, really thought that was real. papier-mache guns are sick. maybe i can start running if i pretend sion sono's filming it

flowers of evil/惡の華
2019, dir. noboru iguchi, 13/9/20

if you were to bring me the notion of a film adaptation of one of my favorite manga, noboru iguchi would not be my first choice of director -- clearly, it would be sion sono, after all, its main features are panties, perversion, paint, young love, books, and chaos, elements that he excels in. iguchi's track record, on the other hand, has mostly excelled in elements of, i suppose, panties, perversion, and chaos, but in a comedic, over-the-top kind of way, things like machine guns coming out of butts and shrimp stabbing. i cried reading aku no hana, so i worried that iguchi would somehow bastardize the emotional elements. for the most part, he didn't. the casting helped, particularly for sawa nakamura [played by tina tamashiro], arguably the most complex character, and notably the most sono-esque; throwing a foolish boy on the ground, lots of yelling, 'where is the exit'. the worst was kasuga, kentaro ito's crying was so bad that it was probably what stopped me from shedding a single tear. i guess that element disappointed me, i might have been more disappointed if i had watched the anime beforehand, but i haven't gotten around to it yet; i certainly will now. though nakamura's character is made more empathetic in the manga through more digging into her home life, which was touched on for maybe two minutes in the film, tamashiro's acting was truly good compensation for that. i liked nanako saeki almost as much as i did in the manga, and though aya tokiwa's character was not explored as much as in the manga [for example, her boyfriend is mentioned once and then forgotten about], it feels purposeful, as to not detract from nakamura's specific effect on kasuga's life. sometimes the soundtrack seemed slightly out of place, but it was good overall. i liked the use of obvious cgi for the first time in my life, the after-credits scene may have given me chills. seeing iguchi portray a solely human story was a good shock, and i wonder if he will go in this direction more in the future. either way, i respect him more now, the ending was very satisfying. i didn't mind the weird non-chronological storytelling either. i didn't know there would be a day when i'd seriously be comparing an iguchi film to something like love exposure! i love tina tamashiro now, i have diner on my computer, i might watch it...i gotta watch it

1967, dir. konstantin ershov & georgiy kropachyov, 10/9/20

viy is a very interesting soviet fantastika comedy-horror [apparently the first soviet horror film] following a young priest's descent into terror after an encounter with a strange babushka. based on a folk story from ukraine, khoma, the virginal priest, witnesses the old woman transform into a beautiful young woman, following a surreal flight on her back and then, violent protest. he runs away, but after the young woman falls ill and dies, he is ordered to read her prayers for three nights, upon her request. he spends a lot of time worrying, drinking, refusing, and then spends each night in a chalk circle fighting for his life. for the short running time, the pacing in this was interesting; a lot of time was spent on bergman-esque sequences wherein khoma would drink, joke, and sing with wonderfully mustached men -- so much so, that the whole film had a light tone, thus the 'horror' parts weren't scary. that being said, during the film's culmination on the final night, my jaw dropped seconds after giggling. the soundtrack worked well, compared this movie in my mind to runescape, minecraft, and death grips. should have watched it closer to halloween, so great, another film i can't delete from my hard drive! cool/fun monsters, liked when village women were weeping but clearly laughing, it just seems like this would've been a blast to be an extra in. can't remember the main actress's name but i'm going to watch kidnapping caucasian style for her, even though it sounds a bit questionable..

the day a pig fell into the well
1996, dir. hong sang-soo, 07/9/20

i watched 5.5 sang-soo films and the first fifteen minutes of his newest film before deciding that i wanted to watch his filmography from the start -- here. the film follows some sort of love pentagon, mainly revolving around some drunk asshole/struggling author. after fifteen minutes, i started pondering whether all sang-soo's films were about drunk assholes, but i don't really care. i usually like movies about drunk assholes. i just hated this guy though, and hoped and prayed he'd die in the end, at the very least. though he has little success in his career, he has some success in his relationships with two women; one married to a workaholic husband who has turned to prostitutes after her refusal to have sex with anyone but the author, the other a ticket seller and voice actress reaching levels of discomfort, an object of someone's infatuation, someone who is jealous of her hopeless devotion to this horrible man. the characters were really mostly charmless, it was like a soap opera in that manner, and the myriad of affairs. even the more charming characters, such as the one who sacrifices everything for a drunk asshole simply hurt to watch. i loved the fashion and a lot of the compositions, as you can see linked above, but the plot didn't grab me, i didn't particularly care what happened to these people in the end. the ideas in this have been executed far more smoothly many times, by sang-soo himself none the less, as seen in his later films. i'm excited to continue watching his evolution with kangwon provice next!

fried dragon fish
1993, dir. shunji iwai, 03/9/20

this is a TV movie of shunji iwai's [director of all about lily chou chou] that i've been searching for for a while; it's on youtube, sans subtitles. it stars tadanobu asano, who would appear in both picnic and swallowtail butterfly in 1996, and miyoko yoshimoto, who seems to have primarily been a popstar. the plot is really just television variety; seems so simple, yet so muddled. due to its plot points of tropical fish and serial killing, it inspired me to rewatch sono's cold fish directly after. yoshimoto plays a detective investigating a 'marine paradise', and befriends asano, who owns a few fish. it's only an hour long, so there's only so much plot explanation i can offer. the soundtrack fared well in terms of iwai TV films -- fireworks' sounds were atrocious. however, overall his other 1993 tv film achieved more in terms of plot, atmosphere/comfiness, and general immersion. i obviously didn't find this to be a waste of time; it was nice to see a scrawny possibly teenage tadanobu asano, and it seemed that the scenes of the two main characters sitting in the glow of fish tanks was a prototype for some of the most beautiful scenes in 'a bride for rip van winkle'. how interesting that this aquarius loves to utilize water so often, and so wonderfully. also, just found out he's a capricorn moon, so am i, it all makes sense now....

an evening with beverly luff linn
2018, dir. jim hosking, 30/6/2020

it took me a few of days to finish this movie, as i fell asleep 2/3 of the way into it, and forgot about it for the next 48 hours. it's an interesting movie, at least. i haven't seen the director's other film, the greasy strangler, but i think i saw a trailer for it once and it repulsed me. this film's saving grace from repulsion is the hot actors. but don't be fooled, it seems this director is deliberate in this; he wants you to be confused, and uncomfortable. there are lynchian and john-waters-esque snippets here, but mostly nods to lynch; it made me want to watch his entire filmography at once. lulu and lula, acting that is somehow simultaneously overdramatic and uninflected, certain compositions [particularly one of the initial setting shots of the diner], the general aura. i love aubrey plaza [the rest of the cast is good too], and the soundtrack is great. i can't say i understood it, entirely, but it delights me to live in a world where i can view a nonsensical, willfully off-putting film made by what seems to be a lynch fanboy.

escape from new york
1981, dir. john carpenter, 28/6/2020

somehow this film just has a consuming aura that made me fight off sleep long enough to finish it. i never knew kurt russell was so attractive. neon lights and empty, chaotic streets just feel good. read a review that described its world basically as something that you'd dream up as a child; an imaginative world where all sorts of things are just happening and it makes sense despite not making that much sense. i feel the same as when i watched 'they live' but better, because kurt russell is better. i feel a regenerated appreciated for american 80s cinema, which is something good to fall back into during these braindead-quarantine [yes everything opened up again it's just my job doesn't want me back and no one's hiring me!] times which make it hard for me to commit to paying attention to blatantly thought-provoking films. this film, while political at its core, doesn't feel heavy at all and i'm sorry but the ending can only be described as epic...thanks john

oshi ga budoukan ittekuretara shinu
2020, if my favorite pop star made it to the budokan, i would die

i've become even more of a cheap bitch, and as such, no longer pay for anime. using funimation's free version, i scrolled through more recent anime to find some that actually had episodes that i could watch. that's how i stumbled upon this. it seemed innocuous enough to fall asleep to, and it was. it's not groundbreaking, in fact i'd almost forgotten about it completely until i began writing on this page. i digress that it was very nice to fall asleep to, comfy, and not exciting enough that i want to binge it all in one night, but not boring enough that i can't make it through an entire episode. there's some suspension of disbelief on the pathology in idol culture; it touches on how idols constantly have to project a certain image, and fans' obsessive tendencies, but the comedic tone throughout implores you not to think about it. i didn't know what was going to happen in this anime, but somehow all of the characters were likeable. character art is very pretty, and the opening theme is nice. i never watch idol anime, with the exception of zombieland saga, and this one differs from others due to focus on the perspective of the most devoted fans. for the sake of lesbians, i support it

1993, yasutaka tsutsui, adapted to film by satoshi kon

to be completely fair, if i were reviewing paprika as a stand-alone novel, and not comparing it to its film successor, it would probably appear more positive. however, satoshi kon almost seemed to have a clearer vision of the story than the original author did. i don't want to bully tsutsui too much, but from what i've witnessed and heard, his novels typically translate better to screen. perhaps some of its charm was lost in translation, as the language used was never particularly gripping -- i only really felt intrigued during dream sequences due to their surreal nature. it was hard for me to get into this book, not only for aforementioned quarantine-braindeadness, but because the style of writing and the descriptions and sometimes actions of characters presented a standoffish aura. this is personal and embarrassing, but a few years ago, i tried to read paprika in the midst of a period of disordered eating; the first page, describing paprika's thinness and infrequent eating, immediately turned me away. i'm less neurotic about that kind of stuff now, but anyone who reads this will pick up on the unreality of paprika's perceived perfection. everyone she meets falls in love with her, everyone is jealous of her, everyone is looking to destroy or violate her. it doesn't seem fun for paprika and it's not fun for the reader, encountering gratuitous rape scenes, half of them riddled with homophobic undertones. it honestly wasn't all that distracting but it's pretty lame to see a sci-fi novel with such a psychologically exhaustive premise that could be explored in a myriad of interesting ways seemingly used as the author's way of venting against homosexual ~perversions. the film, on the other hand, makes paprika/atsuko chiba seem more human. it's not like satoshi kon shies away from sexual violence, as anyone who's seen perfect blue would know. but in this adaptation, the horrific men aren't so jarring and don't take away from the fast-paced, relatively light-hearted psychological dream war going on. in short, yasutaka tsutsui makes it more serious than it needs to be, in a way less interesting way than it could be.