Favorite films

  • 3 Women
  • The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
  • I Walk Alone
  • Beauty #2

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  • The United States of America

    ★★★★★

  • The Northman

    ★★★★

  • Cow

    ★★½

  • The Batman

    ½

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  • The United States of America

    The United States of America

    It's true more in the realm of tentpole movies than that of academic art-objects, but sometimes having an EXACTLY right idea is all you need.

    Not to say that James Benning's usual felicities of framing and, er, pacing are not fully in evidence here. But his conceit is perfection--and the shocker delivered in the final credits, re: where this "fifty states and D.C. and Puerto Rico" movie really was shot, provides the perfect conceptual kicker.

    Exactly what the doctor ordered for this moment in American political and cultural history; and dizzyingly beautiful and vivid besides. The apotheosis of James Benning.

  • The Northman

    The Northman

    ★★★★

    It might be the most impressive right-wing American movie since DIRTY HARRY or the heyday of John Milius. If nothing else, THE NORTHMAN is a rebuke of the universes of Marvel and Star Wars: in lieu of diversity, equity and inclusion, it posits a uniform, bleak, blood-spattered whiteness, and in lieu of superheroism lightly dotted with flecks of relatable neurosis, it offers all-too-humanism with no room for worry and weakness, a one-way ticket to feral revenge. If the MCU seems…

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  • Irma la Douce

    Irma la Douce

    ★★★★★

    I doubt you can find a good review for Billy Wilder's hit follow-up to his Best Picture-winning THE APARTMENT, but IRMA is proof that--in the sixties anyway--Billy's comedies were more haunting than other people's dramas. Jack Lemmon's honest cop, courting Shirley MacLaine's honest whore, discovers that an honest man must play a whoremaster, a gentleman must play a murderer, and many other ruses by which true love is permitted to exist in Wilder's truly unlovely world. Long damned by auteur…

  • West Side Story

    West Side Story

    Remember the iconic opening shot of Robert Wise's 1961 WEST SIDE STORY? Or rather shots: we go from helicopter shots of Manhattan to a dizzying overhead view of the Jets finger-snapping and dancing on a basketball court. Well, in the New York past according to a very 2021 Tony Kushner, we begin in a landscaping of terrifying bulldozed rubble--a ghetto New York that looks more like the Gaza Strip. Above this rubblescape sits a sign that reads "Slum Clearing--Soon to…