• Cinephilia

    Review: Eric Rohmer’s Tales of the Four Seasons

    I regret to say I have not spent the last year getting into the best shape of my life or launching a new side-hustle or doing any other monumental work some have managed to make happen in the midst of a pandemic. That’s not to say I haven’t picked up a new hobby or two. I’ve certainly cooked at home more than ever, and I’ve upgraded many kitchen gadgets and tools to make that work both easier and more enjoyable. And I also started a program I’ve wanted to prioritize for quite some time: I’ve begun taking French lessons in earnest. Through the Chicago branch of Alliance Français, a cultural…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Some Kind of Heaven

    On a recent episode of the New York Times podcast “The Daily,” the show that focuses on one timely news story each morning, reporters descended on The Villages, the massive, pre-fab retirement community in central Florida. Boasting over 120,000 residents, the community is reliably conservative and, according to some reports, is singlehandedly responsible for keeping Florida red in recent elections. The focus of the episode, however, was the burgeoning liberal voices inside the manicured landscapes of The Villages, revealing a divergent narrative from the one so heavily managed by the community with fake town squares and more special interest clubs than the best-funded high schools. Now comes Some Kind of Heaven,…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: The Reason I Jump

    For those with a distant relationship to autism—they aren’t raising a child diagnosed with it, they don’t work in a capacity to serve someone with it—the condition can be a mysterious one. So much misinformation has swirled through media and popular culture over the years that it can be confusing to know exactly what it is, where it comes from or how it presents in an individual. The general awareness of the condition typically centralizes around its external, observable factors; we busy ourselves with how to “normalize” someone’s inability to communicate or socialize, how to integrate them into an abled society as smoothly as possible. How often, though, do we…

  • Cinephilia

    2020 [in films]

    For reasons that are probably obvious, I watched more films in 2020 than in any year since I’ve been keeping track (which is nearly a decade now!). I typically barely break 200 films in twelve months (if that), what with things like work and a social life keeping me from spending days on end with movie after movie. With no such obstacles this year, I’ve logged a whopping 267* films, and what a year it’s been. This year I was much more active on Letterboxd (follow me!), even signing up for the pro account to get some more insights into my own movie-watching data. Looking back on this very strange…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Promising Young Woman

    This time last year, I was writing about the film that ultimately landed at the top of my Best Films of 2019 list: Greta Gerwig’s Little Women. In Gerwig’s capable hands, Louisa May Alcott’s all-American story of the March sisters growing up in the shadow of the Civil War became a sort of feminist treatise on choice, agency and self-reliance, as each young woman claims her right to live her life exactly as she wishes. It’s an adaptation of the classic story that is unlikely to have emerged from a male filmmaker’s imagination, and perhaps not even from a woman’s at any other moment except for now (even Gillian Armstrong’s…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Soul

    It’s fair to say that the cinema experience is richer, more impressive, more memorable when it takes place in an actual movie theater (as opposed to from one’s couch), something I’ve missed sorely this last year. That pang of longing hit me quite sharply as the credits rolled on Soul, Pixar’s latest animated triumph about a jazz musician with big dreams whose plans are unexpectedly upended on what might’ve just been the best day of his life. Watching the credits on a film isn’t just for cinephiles; if it’s not something you do already, I recommend starting the practice (streaming service “autoplay” buttons be damned). There’s all the people involved…