This is a weird Valentine’s Day.

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Tommy Wiseau embodying that 11-month-deep quarantine mood in “The Room” (2003)

Usually, if I don’t have a date on Valentine’s Day (cue wink), I get margaritas with my friends. This is something I look forward to, not only because tequila is a form of therapy (JOKING) but also because Valentine’s Day is a weird holiday that more-or-less makes single people feel like they’re lacking. During cuffing season, no less.

But because, like all of you hopefully are, I’m staying home this V-Day, it’s a great year for a movie marathon. And I’m not about to spend my evening watching a sad romance (no Romeo and Juliet — not even the Baz…


And you know praise doesn’t come easy to me.

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Rachelle Vinberg in “That One Day” (Crystal Moselle, 2016)

The directors of these four films are some of the biggest names in the series: Alice Rohrwacher, Agnès Varda, Naomi Kawase, and Crystal Moselle. It’s a stacked lineup and it really shows, because I was extremely impressed with each of them.

There’s something here for everyone, whether you prefer experimental, traditional, or even documentary-like films. These are some of the most plot-driven and accessible pieces in the series.

Without further ado…

9. “De Djess” (Alice Rohrwacher, 2015)


In some cases, that’s a good thing. In others…not so much.

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Athena Hunter and Lika Bosman in “Somebody” (Miranda July, 2014)

I’m back with my review of the next four films in Miu Miu’s “Women’s Tales” series! These were, on average, longer — running between 10 and 15 minutes, and on the whole they told more coherent stories and were more plot-driven than the first few. They were also the least experimental bunch.

Other than these basic similarities, though, these films are vastly different from one another.

Let’s get into it.

5. “The Door” (Ava DuVernay, 2013)


My Reviews of the First 4 Films

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From Film #14, Celia Rowlson-Hall’s 2017 “(The (End) of History Illusion]”

Did you know that Miu Miu, the Italian high-fashion house, has been commissioning short films from female filmmakers since 2011?

Me neither! Not until Mubi put a streaming spotlight on them, that is! (I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m really trying to get my money’s worth of that Mubi subscription)

The shorts are anywhere from 3 to 25 minutes long, and they’re made by renowned directors like Agnès Varda, Ava DuVernay, and Alice Rohrwacher. …


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“Cold Meridian” (2020). Photo courtesy of Mubi

I was getting my MA in Film when I was first introduced to Peter Strickland, a British director that my Music in Film professor adored for his use of sound in films like Katalin Varga (2009) and Berberian Sound Studio (2012) — the former of which I searched for desperately until I found it online (it’s streaming on Mubi now, though! Yay!), and the latter of which we were all assigned to watch that weekend. And, interestingly enough, Strickland’s In Fabric (2018) screened at a film festival in the city in which I was studying.

So you can say I’m…


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Kuei-Mei Yang in “Vive L’Amour”

Tsai Ming-Liang’s 1994 film Vive L’Amour is an incredible film to watch if, like me, you’re an urbanite in a hyper-capitalist world (my current job is literally in sales) who is currently working from home, pining for things you used to hate (like commuting, street noise, and crowded places). Vive L’Amour uses slow cinema (think along the lines of Chantal Akerman’s 1975 Jean Dielman, though this isn’t quite that extreme) to paint a detailed landscape of Taipei in the earl/mid-nineties, and the urban unease of the young men and women who live there.

In a way, these qualities make Vive…


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Gal Gadot in “Wonder Woman 1984”

Happy New Year!

Okay, so I hate to start off 2021 by shitting on a film…but also I don’t because I love the opportunity to write a bad review. Even if that means harshly criticizing Patty Jenkins, a filmmaker whose work I loved in Monster (2003) and even in the first Wonder Woman (2017).

Wonder Woman 1984 was just a mess. The storytelling was disorienting — in a bad way, not a Memento way. I never really knew what the point was, who the real villain was, or what Wonder Woman’s (Gal Gadot) mission was. For much of the film…


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Jillian Bell and Isla Fisher in “Godmothered”

I’m still on that Disney Plus kick (more to come — trying to get my money’s worth with this subscription), so I watched Sharon Maguire’s new film, Godmothered. I was mostly attracted to this film because Isla Fisher is in it (Wedding Crashers is one of my all-time favorite comedies) and because I thought it would be similar to Enchanted (2007). The two are somewhat similar in terms of the crossover between a fairytale world and the real world, and because they star Hollywood’s two favorite, oft-confused redheads (fun fact: Isla Fisher’s husband, Sacha Baron Cohen, joked about how much…


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If you have a Disney Plus subscription, do yourself a huge favor and watch Soul. This new Pixar movie puts an original spin on Disney’s familiar follow-your-dreams theme by giving it a metaphysical twist and some real-world grounding.

In Soul, jazz musician cum middle school band teacher, Joe (Jamie Foxx), books the gig of his dreams when he suddenly dies on the walk home. He is then transported to “the great beyond” — a literal stairway to heaven (hi, Led Zeppelin fans). …


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Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview in “There Will Be Blood” (2007)

I like movies like There Will Be Blood (2007) — ones where there are no heroes. Depictions of the past that are all grit with very little romanticization. And I love just about anything made by Paul Thomas Anderson, who always makes such detailed panoramas of his characters’ worlds.

Before I started There Will Be Blood, I googled it. I also googled the name of its main character, Daniel Plainview (played by Daniel Day Lewis), and found that several of the top searches for him labelled him a sociopath.

Is Daniel Plainview a sociopath? one asked.

Daniel Plainview: The most…

Gabrielle Ulubay

Writer, filmmaker, feminist. Twitter: https://twitter.com/GabrielleUlubay

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