Cinema poses lots of different mysteries to be encapsulated within any amount of running time, Eraserhead is arguably one of the grandest of such enigmas. I first saw Eraserhead at a rather young age and what I remember rather fondly of it was that it left a specific taste in my mouth that couldn’t be described properly, and the next day I watched it once more. The idea became more clear to one like myself, yet it still fascinates me for there’s always more to pick out on every watch. When I watched Eraserhead for my first time, I was always thinking to myself about how to piece together what it was that I just watched. Parts of it all managed to make more sense when I got around to watching David Lynch’s own Mulholland Drive (which is my favourite from his body of work this far) and as Eraserhead remained in my head, I grew much more fondly of it – something that still runs within my own head today.
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Something snapped inside of me after having revisited Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats the Soul in so many years: it was the urge to let out a storm. I wasn’t exactly sure at first, but I still recall my first experience with Fassbinder’s Douglas Sirk-inspired melodrama and I found it to be a stunning, if difficult experience at that. It was difficult because what I saw from Ali: Fear Eats the Soul wasn’t only a film that tells of a romance that was made impossible at the hands of societal norms. It was a frightening experience that brought back my own fears – and I froze on the spot like I always do at the hands of my own paranoia. I froze because I was reminded of everything in my life that I’m most afraid of and think about on a regular basis. I just sense fear eating me away at every minute, my soul is slowly leaving day by day – and I can never escape.
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Perhaps it’s a tad snooty on my end to say, but I’m amazed that few people seem to really “get” Starship Troopers in this day and age. Although it’s a wonderful sight to see that it has acquired a cult following in more recent years, I would only have imagined that Paul Verhoeven’s name being attached to adapt a novel written by Robert Heinlein – an author I’ve disliked for the authoritarian and borderline fascistic readings into his own text was already in for yet another bite. And knowing where the satire present in RoboCop and Total Recall had leaned, the idea had only hit me as cheeky – and admittedly it was something that even went over my head the first time I saw Starship Troopers. Over repeated viewings, however, the cleverness of Starship Troopers became even clearer – working within the same in-your-face charm that made RoboCop so brilliant.
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What exactly is it like to enter the mind of a serial killer? Perhaps morbid curiosity can drive the soul somewhere, but the sort of experience that Gerald Kargl has provided in Angst is a most unforgettable one. But to think about how Gerald Kargl had never directed another film afterwards, I was only left to think about how Charles Laughton would eventually go on never to direct again after The Night of the Hunter because like Laughton, I would only have imagined that Kargl could have directed many more classics had the initial box office reception been much more welcoming. As a matter of fact, just thinking about how much had Gerald Kargl formed in here makes it all the more impressive of a feat as a debut feature because the sort of grit present in an experiment like this seems near impossible to repeat.
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I remember the first viewing of Frances Ha well enough and how it treated me then. At the time, I was unfamiliar with Greta Gerwig and my first impression only had me thinking that what I was watching was cute and funny. The more I watch Greta Gerwig, I slowly realize what it is about the way she writes her characters that keeps me watching them as their stories are being told for us on the screen, and what I think about from then onward is the state of her own life in which she is living in. Frances Halladay is old enough to own an apartment, find a job for herself, but she spends her days living in Brooklyn as if she were younger. But it isn’t her own fault either, rather instead she lives the way that she does because it’s the result of her own environment as Gerwig and Baumbach write her to be. It is the very feeling that you know the circumstances of such a lifestyle so well enough that pulls yourself closer to Frances Ha.
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NOTE: This is a revised opinion that represents my current thoughts as opposed to my previous review. You can find the original review right here.
When I first saw Get Out in the theater, I came out thinking that it was merely good; yet it managed to stick inside of my head far more in the days that came afterward. Not merely because of the fact that I was stunned Jordan Peele of all people was the director, but the scathing social commentary of this work is one among many things that makes Get Out among the most effective films of our own time. Effective in a sense that it plays as a reminder that we must change for the better and not just wear it on our sleeves that we are going to “accept” a change in pace. But because Jordan Peele chooses to tell us this story as a horror film, it gives us a grasp on a greater truth. It may not strike on the first watch, but knowing more about the world it presents and how it reflects our own is the most terrifying thing that Get Out opens us to.
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A prime example of everything that a war film should be all in a little less than three hours. Something that, ironically, feels hard enough for Hollywood to capture so it was up to directing pair Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger of Britain to make The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp amidst the Second World War. Many of their typical trademarks are present in here as always but their names as always are synonymous with quality. But something like The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp shows a different spin on the war film, for it also blends elements of romance and comedy. This sort of humanistic angle on a war film is one thing that makes such films as powerful as they are and even if it weren’t Powell and Pressburger’s best film, it surely will go down as one of them for nevertheless it still stands as one of their most beautiful works to date.
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How do you describe that feeling of being in love for the first time? When we’re young, we discover that emotion rushes through us and it’s something that roots itself inside of our head for as long as we keep it there. And in the film’s closing lines, Call Me by Your Name sums up how we like to keep that experience in our hearts, “I remember everything.” But i also think it’s worth noting that Call Me by Your Name isn’t exactly a love story in the traditional sense – it’s about what happens as that feeling of experiencing love strikes you for the first time. So how exactly does Luca Guadagnino manage to make a film that resonates with the experience? The best thing to feel as you watch Call Me by Your Name comes forth when you recognize it coming back to you like a memory.
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“You can sew almost anything into the canvas of a coat,” is what Reynolds Woodcock says – hiding secrets within the garments that he makes for others to be worn. I like to think that Paul Thomas Anderson himself took those words into heart, and Phantom Thread is a canvas for himself. It’s a canvas for himself in the sense that we already have an idea of where our expectations are placed based alone on the setting of Phantom Thread and the cast members involved. But how exactly can we point out what is Paul Thomas Anderson’s own secret? All I know is that Phantom Thread is a film that is every bit as exquisite as the clothing as part of the story it is telling, not a tiny bit less beautiful.
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Steven Spielberg’s ode to his friend Stanley Kubrick not only is one of his most underappreciated films, but one of his finest achievements as a filmmaker thus far. It took me a long while to come to this conclusion after having a somewhat indifferent reaction to A.I. Artificial Intelligence upon my first viewing but a subsequent rewatch only left more inside my head, because aspects of its own concept quickly had found themselves sticking with me – together with its stylistic approach of two directors trying to reach at one another. The final result almost plays like a modern fairy tale in some sense, yet one that ultimately asks its viewers about humanity within a perspective that only calls oneself closer.
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