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  • The Empty Man

    The Empty Man

    I think there's two different movies in here, and the final 30 minutes latches on to the less interesting one and tries to do too much. Some of the cult ideas around cathexis, repetition, and meaninglessness were quite provocative and I wish the finale could have involved our protagonist confronting them, instantiated as monster. But the good parts were really good. Unsettling camera work, like slow wheeling arcs around the spot where a character started, except he's not there anymore…

  • The Conformist

    The Conformist

    The rare film that deserves four stars solely on the basis of being sumptuously gorgeous. I would spend a lifetime wandering Europe's capitals in search of a bureaucratic reception hall so unwelcoming, a tweed suit so overcast, a sleeper car filled with such ennui. The scene in the snowy woods stands out as a masterpiece of cinematography; I wonder if it inspired bits of MILLER'S CROSSING?

    As a study in political psychology, THE CONFORMIST has plenty to recommend, though conveyed…

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  • City Lights

    City Lights

    Treats the heaviest subjects with the lightest touch...I guess in the 1930s, there wasn't much of an option but to laugh.

    No more boxing scenes unless they're this funny.

  • Mikey and Nicky

    Mikey and Nicky

    ★★★★★

    We all have that friend you can't bring anywhere. They cause a scene, take everything as a slight, insult your other friends. It's an old friend, by definition, otherwise you would have long since given up. You barely like this person anymore. But at a certain point, "like" doesn't have much to do with it. The friendship is running on a more primitive, noxious fuel. The fossilized remains of your history together, burnt like diesel and choking the air until…