Favorite films

  • The 400 Blows
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Pather Panchali
  • Ikiru

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  • The Naughty Nineties

    ★★★½

  • The Power of the Dog

    ★★★★

  • 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible

    ★★★★

  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    ★★★★

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  • Psycho

    Psycho

    ★★★★★

    I wasn't allowed to see Psycho when it first came out in 1960. My parents only allowed us to see Walt Disney and John Wayne movies automatically and only a handful of other approved films. Psycho didn't make the list. Perhaps a good thing.

    Finally seeing Psycho my freshman year of college, I was unable to take a shower in a motel room for seven years. Even now I make sure that every door is locked securely before I can…

  • Happy Together

    Happy Together

    ★★★★★

    Hong Kong's most famous art-house filmmaker, Kar-wai Wong, began gaining acclaim after his innovative Chungking Express and Fallen Angels, but he won the supreme symbol of artful recognition when he took home the Director award at the 1997 Cannes Festival for Happy Together (Cheun gwong tsa sit).

    Wong has become legendary for his dynamic cinematic style and his preference for improvisation, eschewing a written script and working only with a broad concept. Improvising creatively with the camera (and finding ways…

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  • Critical Thinking

    Critical Thinking

    ★★★★

    I enjoyed this for personals reasons since I'm a chess player who coached a high school team for 13 years. My team didn't have the same perfect Hollywood storybook ending, but I could very much relate to the premise here... and especially appreciate the fact that this Was based on a real story from the 1998 high school championship with an under-appreciated team from Miami (Latins and Blacks) winning.

    My team was from the Navajo reservation, so we gained local…

  • The Edge of Democracy

    The Edge of Democracy

    ★★★★

    Americans should take note and use Netflix to check out this outstanding documentary about recent political turmoil in Brazil. Ominous warning signs are dire for democracies throughout the world.

    Remarkably intimate, filmmaker Petra Costa is granted unprecedented access to Presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff due to her family roots in working class left wing activities. She is obviously an idealist and becomes disillusioned when seeing how her "heroes" are forced to compromise and then devastated when experiencing their…

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  • L'Avventura

    L'Avventura

    ★★★★½

    Audiences at Cannes laughed at the serious scenes in L'Avventura in 1960—so much so that lead actress Monica Vitta left the screening in tears. Fortunately, critics found it much more to their liking, awarding Michelangelo Antonioni's visually rich treatise on wealthy meaninglessness with the Jury Prize that year. A film before its time?

    Although Antonioni's film was a pioneering breakthrough, it would still only play to small arthouse audiences today, a handful of whom would appreciate its visual artistry and…

  • Pather Panchali

    Pather Panchali

    ★★★★★

    With New Year’s Day 2004 falling on Thursday, I spent an extended weekend in Los Angeles to catch as many worthy year-end film releases as possible. However, the real treat was no 2003 Oscar candidate, but came from an American Cinematheque retrospective at the historic Egyptian Theater on Satyajit Ray and his incomparable Apu Trilogy. Not living in a locale with an active cinema arthouse in the 1950’s and 1960’s, I never had a chance to experience Ray’s work when…