I finally watched the movie where airport shame-sniffer Tina, who attracts lightning and can detect SD cards full of child pornography, meets Vore, a tailless sex-inverted creature like herself, and kicks out her useless boyfriend Roland to invite Vore to stay over. I cracked the film wide open, writing in my notes: “she works the border, he is her boarder.”

Massive, forty-part series reviewing many of the things that can be done in (narrative) cinema, and ways to do them, only using films directed by women.

It took us a half-year to get through this… I kept no notes or screenshots, so I’m happy to see a few letterboxd lists collecting the titles we saw clips from.

We had mixed results with the narrators and topics and examples, but it is always nice to learn about movies.

Maybe I should’ve watched Whiplash… was looking for drumming, got a hippie-ass lesson-drama about accepting yourself. It was a good call casting sensitive Riz Ahmed in a Rudimentary Peni t-shirt as the lead, though the story calls for 5% sensitivity and 95% frustration. After belligerently touring through his increasing hearing loss, drummer Riz finally goes almost completely deaf, is checked into a rural community run by Paul Raci for dealing with deafness, then kicked out at the end for selling all his music gear to pay for hearing aids, because Raci believes deafness is something to live with, not to overcome. Reuniting with his gf/singer Olivia Cooke at her dad Mathieu Amalric’s house… per AS Hamrah, “In this part of the movie we learn, inadvertently, that deafness is a class position and that class mobility is not possible.”

Another Potrykus movie where Josh Burge plays a slacker / scammer / gamer, and his life gets increasingly complicated and dire.

Two great additions here: a Freddy Krueger power glove, and the director playing Josh’s friend/rival Derek. Per Mike D’Angelo, “Obviously, Chekhov’s Gloveblades dictate a climactic moment of violence.”

I’m the oddball who watched the director’s followups The Alchemist Cookbook and Relaxer before finally getting to this, so it’s funny seeing all the contemporary reviews about the great promise Potrykus shows. Promise fulfilled, more specifically than they imagined: Josh gaming on the couch, all decade long.

The Stranger by the Lake issue of Cinema Scope makes a cameo in a convenience store magazine rack, and Potrykus got a feature story a few issues later.

Growing up, European cinema was always exotic and incredibly distant. I wasn’t prepared for the tables to turn. Suddenly I felt like we were the ambassadors of not so much American independent cinema, but of the Midwest as a landscape. Ape‘s empty city streets and mundane convenience-store bureaucracies were now the exotic.

Many Thousands Gone (2015)

Better in concept than in specifics. Juxtaposing street scenes in NYC and Brazil with emphasis on dance, silent film with improv music added after, this all sounds great. What we get: so-so photography with blowy sounds in the audio, reminiscent of that grating windbag noise on Nine Inch Nails “A Warm Place”.


Kindah (2016)

Flutey frequencies that bugged me even more than the windy blowing, but the middle half was all percussion and the photography seems to have improved even if the subject matter (group dance routines in Jamaica and New York) is less inherently interesting, so we’ll call it even.


Fluid Frontiers (2017)

Short poems and segments about slavery and blackness, read to us on camera, the book covers visible. Detroit and Southern Ontario, the split locations in these films getting closer together each time.

Sicinski in Mubi says the locations are an Underground Railroad reference and “a tribute to Detroit’s Broadside Press, a publishing house of the late 60s and 70s that specialized in radical black poetry … They are reciting works by the Broadside poets, reading them directly from the original chapbooks … Asili insists on a place-based activism, making it clear that only certain kinds of interventions could occur in certain places.” Asili’s debut feature The Inheritance looks to be worth watching.

X-Men Origins: It’s a Good Life. Some Stephen King in here, psychic powers developing with sexual awakening. And Trier, like his distant relative Lars Von, isn’t above killing a baby to give his lead characters a tragic backstory. Homeschooled Thelma doesn’t adjust well in college, having seizures and disappearing her crush into the cornfield, but finally learns to take out her rage on her repressive father and let the hot college girls live… though there’s an unsettling suggestion that the hot girl only likes Thelma because her mind is being controlled. From the poster I’d expected more birds, but it’s mostly the live bird that Thelma barfs up towards the end. Trier is a festival fave whose new film plays Cannes next month, Thelma was in Norwegian disaster flick The Wave, and her dad costars in Blind.

Tried to watch a movie at the airport soon after a major thunderstorm caused cascading delays, and I fortunately/accidentally chose one that is broken into numbered chapters, so I could watch a segment every time I found a seat after changing gates and terminals and flights. It’s either a very silly movie that takes itself quite seriously, or a major work of art that doesn’t take itself seriously at all – given my jumbled first viewing, it’s hard to tell.

0. Josh Hartnett (!) drives a long way through the desert, watches someone pour sand into an ATM, reaches his mountain destination, unloads a writing desk from his SUV and starts writing.

I: Tauros – Vagabond John Malkovich is hit by a car while fleeing, post-apple-theft, then enters a secret brick portal to ride a crystal elevator to a cloud-height mansion over the city, met by butler Keir Dullea… so Malkovich is clearly Batman, and Dullea is an aged-up 2001 astronaut.

II: Leetso – Corporate toady on TV debating a local chief who aims to protect people from land poisoning… Angry Guy (Power Ranger Steven Skyler) watching this at the bar has a public tantrum then goes home to abuse his wife, returns to briefly confront Hartnett.

III: Flight – Josh in the chase car as his wife (Katy-show regular Jaime Ray Newman) rides a glider, then domestic scene where she leaves him over his writing quirks and childlessness. They are very rich even though he’s an ad agency copywriter. The work psychiatrist says he should shake up his routine, so he tries mountain climbing with pots and pans tied to his legs, then he walks backwards through the city until tripping over Hobo Malkovich.

IV: Loverock – Angry Guy climbs a sweet mountain and makes love to it.

V: Blueblood – Josh activates the Wyze doorbell retina scanner at the cloud mansion’s golden door and it shows him a montage of his life.

VI: Stonechild – Angry Guy wants his son back from Elder Whitehair Guy (Joseph Runningfox of Ravenous), but the son now weighs a ton.

VII: Museum of Poverty – Skyfall‘s Bérénice Marlohe wants her son(?) back, was hired to pretend to be Malk’s dead wife. Back in the desert, Josh receives divorce papers on his car fax machine so sets the car on fire. Angry Guy punches him for starting fires on protected land, the most honestly grounded thing that happens in the movie.

VIII: Sand Painting – Josh meets the fake wife at the mansion party, where Malk catapults a fancy car off a cliff, and meets his own wife in the desert.

IX: Masters of Fiction – Malk speaks with Josh about his super-rich sadnesses while the Fake Wife attempts escape but gets caged in the basement with the other party guests. BTW, Josh was writing ad copy for Malk’s uranium-based power company that is exploiting Angry Guy’s Navajo lands, so all these things are somewhat related. Or maybe Josh has heatstroke and is supposed to be writing all this stuff at his desert desk.

X: When Mountains Walk – Keir’s giant 2001 space baby rampages through a major city while Malk play-acts death with an ornate mummy routine. Real good songs in this movie – a country tune at the bar, something Nick Cave-ish whenever Josh drives around. Some alarming images. Peter Sobczynski: “The film may be nuts but it certainly isn’t boring.”

Therapy and training sessions – no context, all different kinds of approaches, but consistent fixed-frame camera style and clean look to all the rooms. The people who touch sleeping pigs are a nice tie-in to Gunda.

“It is left up to the spectator to decide whether these mindfulness training programs and coaching courses symbolize something bigger.” This feels like one of those noncommercial docs that T/F found in a museum or academic project, like The Task or Segunda Vez.

In the mood for some horror, but this was barely horror, just a character piece about a religious nut set to churchy mope music. Jennifer Ehle has spinal problems, Maud is hired to take care of her. But Maud is judgy and has a dark past and probably isn’t supposed to be there, fired for attacking Ehle halfway through the movie then develops stomach pains, like a weak, voiceover-filled First Reformed. Maud is bad at socializing, has major masochistic tendencies, ends up walking on nails then returning to Ehle’s house and stabbing her with scissors before setting herself on fire. Ehle blameless as usual, Morfydd Clark (Love & Friendship) overcooked along with the rest of the thing.