Favorite films

  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Moonstruck
  • Punch-Drunk Love
  • Point Break

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  • Reality Bites

    ★★★

  • Vive L'Amour

    ★★★

  • Forever Mine

    ★★

  • Bell Bottom

    ★½

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  • Knives Out

    Knives Out

    ★★★★

    Unacknowledged privilege always curdles into entitlement, no matter how good your manners might be. No one is immune. Not even the character in this film who is getting an "SJW degree" at Smith College; when it really counts, she's as bad as everybody else. When she asks Ana de Armas's character for a hug, and apologizes, after a pivotal decision, this movie is twisting the dagger about as good as any I've ever seen.

    All the plates are spinning here:…

  • Beirut

    Beirut

    ★★★

    Tony Gilroy has written, now, at least three movies that could straight up be described as "negotiation thrillers," and many of his other films could probably be described that way without breaking too much of a sweat. A sampling of just the ones whose titles are kind of negotiation tinged: "Duplicity," "State of Play," "Proof of Life," and "The Devil's Advocate." And then you have "Michael Clayton," which despite not bearing the name of some aspect of negotiation, is nothing…

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  • Reality Bites

    Reality Bites

    ★★★

    An interesting movie to watch right after Tsai Ming-Lai’s Vive L’Amour, in that it came out the same year and has similar concerns: how do young gen-x’ers find connection and meaning in the big city? Not my first choice for tonight but I wasn’t clawing my eyes out by the end.

    The dynamics here are a little dodgy, with some characters fluctuating between 2 and 3 dimensions and others not really getting past 1.5. Not everybody acts like a credible…

  • Vive L'Amour

    Vive L'Amour

    ★★★

    Austere filmmaking always feels a little imperial to me: like, who are you to be so self-possessed? And, are you wearing any clothes, or are you just going to walk around like you own the place? Slower filmmaking can give a film time to bloom, and allow ideas to prosper and take hold. But in the worst-case scenario, it can starve a movie of oxygen. Man cannot subsist on vibes alone.

    So, I do tend to resist this type of…

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  • The Cranes Are Flying

    The Cranes Are Flying

    ★★★★★

    Not an ounce of fat. Every single shot is, in fact, incredible. A staircase sequence here is so harrowing it makes the last act of Children of Men feel like a fucking happy meal. The only movie that strikes me as even comparable, visually, off the top of my head is Joe Lewis' The Big Combo, but this one is probably doing even more than that.

    When the catharses come, they hit like a ton of bricks. First rate melodrama,…

  • Pig

    Pig

    ★★★★

    Somehow this is simultaneously an incredible food movie, a powerful meditation on grief and loss, a thrillingly taut quest, and a vaguely Sliders-esque alternate-reality tale. It’s like if you took Big Night and mixed it with Ray Carver’s short fiction, Homer’s Odyssey, and the Pacific NW earthquake article from the New Yorker a few years ago. So, yeah, there might be a few parts where the film's reach exceeds its grasp and it comes off feeling a little affected. I…