CERTIFIED WEIRD: Steve Buscemi at his best In The Soup (1992)

In The Soup is the epitome of independent filmmaking. It’s the most Jim Jarmusch film ever made while not being made by Jim Jarmusch (although he does play a small part in the film). It’s a film that’s brainstorming in the text of the script and gives way to its creative impulses by the tragic finale. It’s Steve Buscemi’s (Adolpho) greatest performance ever, as he gets a leading role in an off-beat character-focused hangout film. … More CERTIFIED WEIRD: Steve Buscemi at his best In The Soup (1992)

CERTIFIED WEIRD: The Cremator (1965) a viscous and bitterly funny romp of the Czech New Wave

The Cremator is a pure gem of the Czechoslovakian New Wave film movement. It’s a bizarrely twisted look at a cremator, who has a deep fascination with reincarnation, Tibetan monks and aryanization, that finds himself at odds with his family due to his wife and children being Jewish. … More CERTIFIED WEIRD: The Cremator (1965) a viscous and bitterly funny romp of the Czech New Wave

CERTIFIED WEIRD: Sean Baker’s Red Rocket a triumph of backwater Texas sleaziness

Sean Baker’s dedication to the lower socio-economic people of the South is what makes his films so unique. Red Rocket is the best of backwater Texas towns. The sleaziness is embedded on every line Simon Rex speaks and every action he takes. His magnetic performance as the suitcase pimp, still gleaming off his glory days in the adult film industry, is a real piece of work. Yet, he’s extraordinarily likeable for how much of a narcissistic piece of shit he really is. … More CERTIFIED WEIRD: Sean Baker’s Red Rocket a triumph of backwater Texas sleaziness

The Lost Daughter a staggering performance piece that gets lost in plot

The Lost Daughter is a nonconforming film with a structure that’s generally been reserved from male leads. Olivia Colman, one of the true great thespians of our time, tackles this role that paints her as an entirely unsympathetic figure, grappling with choosing freedom over responsibility. It’s the renegade father archetype depicted by a regretful yet honest woman that makes The Lost Daughter interesting. However, in attempting to unearth her character’s wounds, the script globs onto other characters’ lives and tells a less interesting plot, as opposed to the real story of Colman’s character.
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Licorice Pizza is the California hangout film Paul Thomas Anderson was destined to make

Paul Thomas Anderson making the film he was always destined to make in Licorice Pizza. A breezy, rambling teenage romance, exploring the eccentricities of being a California kid in the 1970s. The film succeeds by the PTA screenplay and the two leading performances. Cooper Hoffman, son of PTA’s former collaborator Philip Seymour Hoffman, is marvelous and the dynamic with Alana Haim is so alluring. Yet, the plot is nonexistent, making the character work crucial to falling in rhythm with the storytelling. 
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CERTIFIED WEIRD: The Tragedy of Macbeth a towering avant-garde performance piece

he awe striking visual element from Bruno Delbonnel leans into the surrealism of Joel’s vision for this adaption of Macbeth. There’s an encroaching darkness in the atmosphere, spurred on by the incredible performances and harrowing sense of dread in the black. The entire cast delivers the source material to unbelievable, discerning highs.  … More CERTIFIED WEIRD: The Tragedy of Macbeth a towering avant-garde performance piece

CERIFIED WIERD: Peter Strickland’s “The Duke of Burgundy” a subservient mess

The Duke of Burgundy is Peter Strickland playing around with the form and narrative. It’s a sensual, vitriol battle of subservience and visually disturbed with harsh darkness. However, the film is entirely unengaging on a narrative level. After the dynamic between the two women is established, the mystery is lost and the film relies on the dark avant-garde visual element to carry the story. Strickland has moments of unsettling atmosphere, but it mostly felt underwhelming and lacking substance. … More CERIFIED WIERD: Peter Strickland’s “The Duke of Burgundy” a subservient mess

CERTIFIED WEIRD: Hiroshi Teshigahara’s “Pitfall” a surreal fight for workers rights

Pitfall remains in between life and death, not fully existing in reality but not fading away into the tether. It’s a film with grand themes of abused labor in a villainous, soulless industry, while playing in the avant-garde of the afterlife. Director Hiroshi Teshigahara shows his personality in the surrealism and tells the majority of this story within this mood but keeping the narrative grounded in real world struggle. In his first collaboration with legendary novelist Kobo Abe, Pitfall is a film that toils with utter existentialism, and unfair and unjust treatment of human beings but then goes even further. It explores a culture of overworking, lack of freedom if one chooses to go against their company, and the complete alienation of the human condition. … More CERTIFIED WEIRD: Hiroshi Teshigahara’s “Pitfall” a surreal fight for workers rights

CERTIFIED WEIRD: Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta a triumph of provocation

Paul Verhoeven always creates lived-in worlds and his retelling of Saint Benedetta’s life in the Catholic church is PURE Verhoeven. Impending darkness presiding over a sexual awakeneing, provoking the audience with every subsequent scene. It’s a beautiful rendering of sexual freedom through the guise of religious restriction. It’s violent and bloody. Apocryphal and full of juicy drama. Plus, filled with damning religious imagery and powerful metaphors. What we’re left with is one of Verhoeven’s best films.
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Marnie (1964) serves as an off-balance miss from Alfred Hitchock

Marnie, an off-balanced Hitchock thriller all reliant on the twist, is one of the few films he ever made that I didn’t find palatable. It’s a combination of the Jay Presson Allen screenplay forcing weird character traits and phobias that move the plot along and furthermore, Tippi Hedren’s (Marnie) exploding neuroticism actively took me out of the story. Thankfully, Marnie has some charm, as Sean Connery (Mark) adds bravado, but Marnie’s past dominates the narrative in a way that felt cheap. 
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