• It's Such a Beautiful Day

    It's Such a Beautiful Day


    Hertzfeldt has wondrous respect for his audience. The whole film strikes emotional chords with such shocking resonance, again and again, by evoking deeply felt—and, often, awakening long buried—instinctive responses to moments and experiences that we can't quite put into words. Somehow, Hertzfeldt manages to visually convey a mesmerizing stream of consciousness that, really, shouldn't be transferable to cinema. It says so, so much in so little time, and does so with a dual scope—the intimate tale of Bill and his chaotic life…

  • Out of the Past

    Out of the Past


    When the script is so damn good, it doesn't need to be overly reliant on the score. But, aside from that, this is near-perfect noir in every respect. Absolutely flawless structurally (flashbacks and the past returning to haunt you simply cannot be done, or blended, any better); endlessly crackling dialogue; a fierce femme fatale; double crosses; looming presences; a weary anti-hero; cigarettes and booze; murder; and, of course, Tourneur's unmistakable formal prowess, with constant shadowy compositions that give any other…

  • The Social Network

    The Social Network


    Fifth or sixth viewing (watched it once, prior to activity logging), no change in response. My previously lengthy and more comprehensive review here (centers considerably on the visual imagery, score, editing, performance, etc).

    Already hailed as a film that defines a generation, this is a film that justifies such a claim because it truly understands its subject matter. The jargon and tone are spot-on, perfectly capturing the online narcissism that is so prevalent today. It is all of that and more. However,…

  • Zodiac



    Third viewing, last seen 2 years ago. Zodiac earns the right to slowly boil as all avenues of the story and investigation pull the viewer in. It’s deliberately paced, yet tantalizingly immersive for every second. Kudos to director Fincher and screenwriter Vanderbilt's commitment to historical accuracy; they don't simply throw in exploitation or excess to spice things up, believing that the facts can often be more interesting than fiction. In turn, suspense arrives not from violence or cheap jump scares, but…

  • The Climb

    The Climb


    All relationships, platonic or romantic, require effort, and maintaining childhood friendships into adulthood is a significant commitment. But no relationship appears to necessitate more upkeep than Mike's and Kyle's. The pair set up for a treacherous uphill slog from the start. However, The Climb continues to incline, and the higher the gears, the more frantic — and hilarious — their struggle becomes. The film is made with such intention and style. The camera follows characters as they move through spaces,…

  • Top Gun: Maverick

    Top Gun: Maverick


    Top Gun: Maverick is a colossal achievement in cinema that feels weirdly old school not just in the way it's made but also in the way it feels; with the ideal blend of humour, heart, emotion, music, and flashbacks to its history, it's the ultimate summer blockbuster cocktail, for now, and for any year. It's a bombastic, exciting thrill experience, brought to life by Joseph Kosinski, that's honestly greater than anything a rollercoaster could throw at you. When it comes…

  • Licorice Pizza

    Licorice Pizza


    Begin with such easy confidence that you immediately feel in safe hands; a director in complete control and with a clear vision. This gradually fades as events meander and the narrative fragments into moments rather than investible arcs; Gary and Alana appear glued together by narrative insistence, and Anderson is unwilling to investigate what actually binds them together. By the end, I was exhausted rather than enchanted, intrigued, or even illuminated. You can tell that everyone involved in this is…

  • It Comes at Night

    It Comes at Night


    At the end of the day, it lacks originality, and at this point it feels like simply playing the material; the basic premise here, revolving around a virus that has never been explained, an isolated family struggling to survive by protecting each other—whatever it takes the price—philosophy, could have been straight from The Walking Dead... or various other types of entries. There are some nice mood piece moments and claustrophobic photography inside the house—especially liked the red door—but really, it's pretty…

  • Margaret



    Second viewing, no change. Margaret, the opera, is well worth the price of admission; it's a sloppy, rambling, heart-rending masterpiece that oozes ambition from every pore. It traverses the range of emotion and self-discovery, constantly pulsing with discomfort. Lisa's mental condition and grasp of the universe have evolved into a marvel to behold. It’s regarded as a moral drama about doing the right thing and an epic of human estrangement, based on the reality that language is such a terrible way…

  • Dont Look Back

    Dont Look Back


    More than anything, Pennebaker’s restless camera depicts a person whose character is continuously moving; Dylan is nearly always performing in some way, usually attempting on special guises, and turning interviews returned at the interviewers with probing, unanswerable questions of his own. When Dylan bobs and weaves, figuratively speaking, Pennebaker's hand held camerawork is ideally suited to analyzing this kind of slippery figure; the camera is with him, subtly zooming in to observe the complexity of his face, his expression, and…

  • The Last Detail

    The Last Detail


    The Last Detail straddles the border between humor and drama, frequently shifting from raunchy to melancholy and back. It's a brilliant film about injustice that's as prone to laughter as it is to soul-crushing despair. While Ashby's excellent use of tone anchors the tale, the performances elevate the film to new heights. Nicholson lives up to the hype; highly volatile and extremely complex. Otis Young is fantastic as well, and truly holds his own against Nicholson. Youthful Randy Quaid is bumbling and…

  • Stranger Than Paradise

    Stranger Than Paradise


    It’s hysterical. It’s hysterical because it was all a little too real. It’s hysterical because of the hopelessly mundane lives, the boredom, the bad luck and the conversation, or lack of. It’s hysterical because Willie’s cousin arrives in New York from Hungary for the first time, and he doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t ask her how she is, he doesn’t take her out, he doesn’t offer her food, and he doesn’t even make her bed. Her only ten days in…