Alex has written 7 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ .

  • Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper

    ★★★★½

    'Light Sleeper' is one of my very favorite films. I think this movie is absolutely incredible in its scope: all that is at stake is the very notion of whether transcendence is possible or if we will be eternally doomed by the sins and mistakes of our pasts.

    I think Willem Dafoe's John LeTour is an incredible character as a man divided against himself. He has overcome his demons but must continue to struggle for the the deeper meaning that…

  • The Other Side of the Wind

    The Other Side of the Wind

    ★★★★½

    I was able to watch the one-two punch of 'The Other Side of the Wind' (a movie that I've been desperate to see and even donated to the kickstarter to finish it a few years ago that proved to the be impetus for Netflix finally acquiring it) and the accompanying documentary on Wells and the film, 'They'll Love Me When I'm Dead'. I absolutely loved both.

    'The Other Side of the Wind' is so Orson Welles! It dovetails beautifully with…

  • First Reformed

    First Reformed

    ★★★★½

    First Reformed is a tremendous film from Paul Schrader. The film was something of a surprise to many after the last few Schrader projects haven't quite hit the transcendental high water marks of some of his very best work. This film deals with some of the weightiest political and spiritual considerations of our time with a depth and intelligence that even this atheist could understand and appreciate.

    Ethan Hawke turns in an at first subtle and increasingly bold performance in…

  • The Death of Stalin

    The Death of Stalin

    ★★★★½

    While 'The Death of Stalin' is less funny and tonally darker than some of Iannuci's other work, the film is no less enjoyable. Brilliantly constructed and well acted, this ended up being a lot of fun. The dialogue isn't as sharp as in say, 'In the Loop', but the film makes up for this by allowing some of the more slapstick and brilliantly executed sight gags to do more of the comic heavy lifting. Michael Palin as Molotov and especially Simon Russel Beale as Beria really steal the show. I also dug Jason Isaacs macho-ing it up as Zhukov.

  • Inside Llewyn Davis

    Inside Llewyn Davis

    ★★★★½

    Quite possibly my favorite Coen Brothers film. It has an almost Italian neo-realist perspective in its portrayal of the bleakness that an artistic life can sometimes engender but is then punctuated by sublime moments of the surreal. Some critics and viewers wince at this movie because of the inherent unloveliness of the titular character. I think this is wrong. He's not a bad person per se (though he does do some bad things), or a good person, he's just a person, driven by desperation, trying to make it. I think this movie probably rings very true for many working musicians.

  • The Duellists

    The Duellists

    ★★★★½

    I love this movie, particularly the central conflict between the two leads which seems to represent the innate tension within the key factions behind Bonapartism. I feel like a lot of the modern world is still wresting with the contradictions that the period unleashed.

    That scene in Russia in 1812 in particular is incredible filmmaking. You can almost feel the cold and desolation. The ending is also absolutely perfect.

    It only improves with each watching and really underlines the brilliance of Ridley Scott's early career purple patch.

  • Inherent Vice

    Inherent Vice

    ★★★★½

    I think that this film functions almost flawlessly for what it is: a meta-narrative about the idea of detective work told by and for stoners. Despite all the noir trappings that are employed, in the end, the film manages to tie everything up with a quasi happy/ quasi listless bow without the agency of any of the participants, and most notably its lead, mattering all that much. Like in a noir, the characters are all doomed from the outset, but…