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 :-)

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.