The Blackout (Ferrara, 1997) – a super accurate portrayal of what i believe hell to be. dark, digital landscapes and soundscapes engulf everything in their path. the conclusion of the film is almost too destructive for words.
Halloween II (Zombie, 2009) – the kills in this are so visceral and hard-hitting, and coupled with the premise being based around the “last girl” having extreme PTSD it makes for a film that is effectively one long anxiety attack after another. i cannot believe this film impacted me as hard as this.
The Glass Shield (Burnett, 1994) – surprisingly entertaining and compelling LAPD story from, of all people, the director of Killer of Sheep. notable for how little it bootlicks (if at all) and it’s got a cool structure that sort of feels like how i wanted Black Klansman to go. great stuff, makes me want to see more from the dude.
Ludwig (Visconti, 1973) – obviously this is hardly a “hidden gem” but i think it’s far underseen in favor of other viscontis when i believe it’s his best work he ever did. it’s super personal, super beautiful, and i think it has that perfect mix of decadence and pathos that visconti so many times seemed to just miss. one of the best films i’ve seen all year.
Iguana (Hellman, 1988) – for some reason i thought this would be like an exploitation film, but no this is just a straight super arthouse, arguably art-horror film done by one of cinema’s under-appreciated masters. i think this film is extremely hard to pin down ideologically which makes it difficult to write much about in that way, but it’s a supremely beautiful endeavor and maybe hellman’s 2nd best.
Green Snake (Hark, 1993) – super fun, super interesting take on wuxia which is a genre i’m not that big a fan of (though i have only seen a small handful of them). this is a clear favorite as it de-establishes its tropes in interesting ways, is super funny, bright, visually inventive, and has this energy i see from few films. hark is great, folks.
Devils on the Doorstep (Wen, 2000) – i don’t think this film is saying that much super profound stuff but what it is doing is making a competent film on all cylinders and going above and beyond on pacing, camerawork, and writing. the film feels super coherent at all times and it’s able to effortlessly go from hilarious to thrilling and ends on a surprisingly beautiful note. really some incredible moviemaking.
Phase IV (Bass, 1974) – pretty much exactly what i expected out of the reviews + trailer. great cult sci-fi, not passionate about it, but it’s great at what it does.