Favorite films

  • Heat
  • Vertigo
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Jazz on a Summer's Day

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  • Hubie Halloween

    ★★½

  • Frankenweenie

    ★★★½

  • The Haunted Mansion

  • The Stepfather

    ★★★

Recent reviews

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  • Jaws

    Jaws

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    On the occasion of my tenth (?) viewing, and following closely on the heels of my first reading of the novel on which this quintessential summer movie is based, here are some quick, desultory observations:

    • I only now understand the screenplay’s mastery of condensation and elision. Gone are the book’s subplots establishing the mayor’s financial motives for keeping the beaches open (in debt to the mafia!) and the character-significant but superfluous affair between Mrs. Brody and Hooper. Instead, the…

  • Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

    Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    • Weird as it sounds, this is one of the few films I can think of that seriously considers the notion of space-time as a continuum. The past is never finished, is attached to an always accessible and revisable future, contrary to the division of past-present-future into three distinct nodes on a linear timeline. Note that this begins with an already achieved future society whose foundation depends on the boys making good as musicians. But, in this reality, exactly 700…

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  • The Thing

    The Thing

    ★★★★½

    Review from 2004:

    In a word: austere. U.S. government research team stationed in the desolate Antarctic tundra is visited by an indestructible shape-shifting alien. Carpenter's decidedly remade version of Howard Hawks's The Thing from Another World is an unsparing examination of the human psyche under stress, the pressure of a tactile existential crisis rendering the group’s attempts at solidarity ineffectual.

    The protean form of the eponymous 10,000-year-old extraterrestrial assimilates the bodies of the crew at random, facilitating a convincingly febrile…

  • Blackhat

    Blackhat

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    From Made by Michael Mann:

    Blackhat seems to me a case of diminishing returns in Mann's excavation of digital video (DV) immediacy. Characters bob in and out of frame, here the back of one character’s head, there his back in extreme closeup, few match cuts or establishing shots, a kaleidoscope of gritty cryptic professionalism. I miss a sense of time spent with characters in an environment composed for the eye. Less a matter of verisimilitude—chaos in the globetrotting, temporally ever-happening…