The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension 1984

The Talented Mr. Ripley 1999

Darkroom 2023

Israelism 2023

Three to Go 1971

Inland Empire 2006

Mami Wata 2023

As an atheist, I care deeply about the depiction of faith in media. It’s a sensation I can no longer tap into; except perhaps in film. Montage and the subjectivity of the camera permit contradictory realities to coexist in a linear space, begging the audience to engage in “faith” as a verb.

Mami Wata could have done that, and for much of its runtime it did. But its final third chooses concreteness and certitude in a way that undermines any consideration of Mami Wata (the being) along the dimension of faith, perhaps in service of it’s more immediate fairytale objectives.

The Last Repair Shop 2024

The ABCs of Book Banning 2023

金門 Island in Between (2023)

The Barber of Little Rock 2023

Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó 2023

Barbie 2023

I keep returning in my mind to Gloria’s speech, lauded by many as “empowering” and “relatable”. It describes, rather than evokes, and even then its aim isn’t lofty.

I think about Never Rarely Sometimes Always, a far cry from the fun of Barbie, and how it provokes in the audience the sensation of the impossibility of being a woman (or girl) in America, and also about the ways in which that impossibility derives not just from the perceptions and pressures of others, but from the systems installed by those others to subjugate them.

Ocean's Eleven 2001

Watched on a plane from what looked like a fullscreen VHS rip, and it’s still elementally perfect. Besides Julia Roberts’ non-character.

The Wizard of Oz 1939

This version reaffirmed my grievances with the visuals of The Wiz. This one has moving cameras! And frames people effectively! It looks consistently good! (where The Wiz has high highs and low lows)

That said, this retroactively made me appreciate The Wiz more. Except for the brief poetry of “conferrin’ with the flowers, consultin’ with the rain”, the songs here aren’t very good, especially not The Wiz levels of good. And I think the narrative of having always had, inside oneself, that which they seek, so much stronger than the wizard’s weird accolades. And he gets off way too easy here.

The Wiz 1978

Watched in anticipation of the 2024 musical revival. Also complicating this viewing is that this is my first complete exposure to the Oz story, having never seen the original film nor read the book.

The music is fantastic, and MJ has incredible comedic timing, but I was frequently confused by some of the visual choices. The camera is remarkably static. We see lots of characters’ backs. And we’re often far from the action, depriving us of the details of costumes and performance.

Hãy tỉnh thức và sẵn sàng Stay Awake, Be Ready (2019)

Remarkable to watch this and see, effectively, a rough draft of the beginning of Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell.

Câm Lặng The Mute (2022)

春风沉醉的夜晚 Spring Fever (2009)

Bên trong vỏ kén vàng Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (2023)