Alex has written 11 reviews for films rated ★★★★ .

  • Southern Comfort

    Southern Comfort

    ★★★★

    The antebellum Aguirre the Wrath of God.

  • The Lighthouse

    The Lighthouse

    ★★★★

    Compelling as a vision of hell, with hell depicted as being trapped in a 19th century New England lighthouse and being gaslit by Wilhelm Defoe’s sea shanty pretensions and farts, but I don’t know if it has a lot to say beyond that. Still, what a vision! Visually arresting and impeccably acted, the film takes particular glee in repeatedly reminding us just how much more literary prior generations were to our own.

  • Under the Silver Lake

    Under the Silver Lake

    ★★★★

    It was with some mild trepidation that I finally got to watch David Robert Mitchell's follow-up to 'It Follows', the wickedly bent Los Angeles mystery, 'Under the Silver Lake'. As a fan of 'It Follows' I was excited to see what Mitchell would do next, but given that the film was originally supposed to be released theatrically in the US last year, but was quietly pulled following some so-so early reviews only to re-emerge this year (but is not showing…

  • High Life

    High Life

    ★★★★

    'High Life' was an interesting approach to sci-fi from Claire Denis. It played almost as a hybrid of 'Silent Running' and Denis' own 2013 ultra-nihilist thriller, 'Bastards'. While the film is very slow, it packs a terrible indictment of humanity while simultaneously winking at the insignificance of the whole human project to begin with in the face of the vastness of the cosmos. A lot of it rings painfully true and no one quite does the whole eros and thanatos…

  • Return of the Jedi

    Return of the Jedi

    ★★★★

    Jabba's palace is maybe a glass + chrome coffee table and a Nagle print away from being the ultimate '80s cocaine den. Dig those blinds!

    I feel like had David Lynch directed, as George Lucas originally wanted, Boba Fett would have been replaced by Frank Booth and Luke + Leia would have been recast with Kyle McLaughlin and Laura Dern, respectively.

    Hey Disney, when are we going to get that standalone Salacious Crumb movie/ Carlito's Way remake?!

  • Night Moves

    Night Moves

    ★★★★

    I finally caught up with the 2013 Kelly Reichardt film "Night Moves". I love Reichardt as a filmmaker, and the Oregon/ Pacific Northwest surroundings (where I grew up) and gorgeous tracking shots thereof were always going to be an easy sell for me.

    While this movie got mixed reviews upon its release, I think it is a solid eco-terrorist caper film that deals more with the psychological impacts of doing a bad thing and how the combination of paranoia, guilt…

  • Batman Returns

    Batman Returns

    ★★★★

    A festive rewatch!

    The Burton Batmen do a good job of exploring different psycho pathologies. The first one was obsessed with Thanatos, Batman Returns, by contrast, is hung up on Eros.

    What I like best about ‘Batman Returns’ is that Batman isn't in it all that much for a Batman movie. The villains are the real stars of the show, and because there are 3 of them, screen time ends up having to be used for maximum efficiency.

    Danny DeVito's…

  • The Other Side of Hope

    The Other Side of Hope

    ★★★★

    While not my favorite Aki Kaurismäki, or even my favorite Kaurismäki film dealing with the plight of refugees (2011's "Le Havre" felt like it had a greater sense of stakes), even Kaurismäki on semi auto-pilot is better than no Kaurismäki.

    That said, the cast remain wonderfully realized and their interactions are delightfully deadpan as only Kaurismäki and perhaps Jim Jarmusch can manage.

    Even without terribly high stakes, the film ends up being fairly moving in demonstrating the (darkly humorous) cruelty…

  • The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

    The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

    ★★★★

    An intimate portrait into a family's dysfunction, this worked on a number of levels. Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Eliza Marvel are excellent as the aggrieved siblings, while Dustin Hoffman brings the thunder as the overbearing and narcissistic patriarch.

    Interesting subtext abounds on the nature and innate value of art vs its commercial appeal without being central. While trauma inflicted by Meyerowitz senior certainly leaves its marks on his children, it is nice to see Sandler's character bucking the trend…

  • David Lynch: The Art Life

    David Lynch: The Art Life

    ★★★★

    Great documentary. Lynch talks about what it means to live the art life and about his early life, culminating with his making Eraserhead. Excellent use of footage of Lynch at work painting and of some of his finished products, along with some revealing stories from Lynch himself.

  • Dunkirk

    Dunkirk

    ★★★★

    Probably the strongest Nolan film since Memento. While it is not a perfect film, Nolan demonstrates his gift for crafting memorable images. The film managed to convey the sense of terror and claustrophobia associated with the escape from Dunkirk - and the horrors of being trapped in the hull of a ship being bombed or on the beach while being strafed by aircraft - without resorting to being a spectacle of gore. For being an epic, this felt distinctly minor…