Favorite films

  • Boogie Nights
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Bicycle Thieves
  • Star Wars

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  • Ghostbusters: Afterlife

    ★★½

  • 8-Bit Christmas

    ★★★

  • A Christmas Story

    ★★★★

  • C'mon C'mon

    ★★½

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  • Dave Chappelle: The Closer

    Dave Chappelle: The Closer

    ★★★★

    Per Rotten Tomatoes, this comedy special boasts a 38% rating among the “professional” elites and a 95% rating among audiences.  That David Chapelle’s content here draws such a degree of self-righteous ire—comparable to Lenny Bruce six decades ago—should be truly disturbing to any member of a healthy, functioning democracy no matter what your political leanings.

    'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible,…

  • Black Swan

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  • Ghostbusters: Afterlife

    Ghostbusters: Afterlife

    ★★½

    Even as little more than a mildly entertaining exercise in mindless nostalgia, this is certainly superior to the unfunny exercise in post-Bechdel virtue signaling that was Ghostbusters (2016).  Still, I’d much rather see a movie focusing entirely on Paul Rudd as the summer school teacher and McKenna Grace as his favorite student.

  • 8-Bit Christmas

    8-Bit Christmas

    ★★★

    There are too many common beats, big and small, not to appreciate this, first and foremost, as a loving homage/update to A Christmas Story (1983).  What this particular riff has going for it vis-a-vis that classic (e.g., teasingly substituting the Reagan-era thematic denouement with one more fitting for the spirit of the holiday), however, is ultimately undermined by the overall choice not to be as episodic (as childhood memories innately are) and some moments of lazy storytelling.

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  • Dear Basketball

    Dear Basketball

    ½

    The narration has all of the nuance and poetry that you’d expect from a recently retired pro basketball player whose ego just can’t be stopped and who desperately wants the post-#metoo world to forget all the rape-y stuff.  The animation by Glen Keane (Tangled (2010)) was positively groundbreaking when it appeared in an A-ha video over three decades ago.  And so this six-minute commercial for the post-NBA Kobe Bryant brand is nothing less (or more) than a triumph for his publicity team and a perfect reminder of what the Oscars (and Hollywood) are really all about.

    Hoop Dreams, anyone?

  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ★★★★½

    It's 2016. Among our prime A-listers, we don't have a Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers; hell, we don't even have an Olivia Newton-John or John Travolta. What we do have is Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling (Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), Gangster Squad (2013)) and a talented director (Damien Chazelle) who has the audacity to create an original musical in 2016 (as opposed to adapting/stewarding a Broadway franchise). With Chazelle's invocation of nostalgia for a once dominant cinematic form and generous…