Favorite films

  • Contempt
  • The Ghost Writer
  • Kansas City
  • eXistenZ

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  • Red Fish

    ★★

  • Baton Rouge

    ★★★½

  • The Many Saints of Newark

    ★★★★

  • The Bigamist

    ★★★

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  • Red Fish

    Red Fish

    ★★

    Police investigate a possible suicide when the son of an unsuccessful novelist goes missing during a thunderstorm. But something is fishy: there is no body, and there might have never been a son.

    Psychological 1950's noir from Spain, with a curious premise but a very thin plot. Therefore, not a real noir, just some affectations: unsolved murder, a struggling novelist, a cabaret dancer.

    An interesting take on the "struggling writer" theme: a writer who can't get any work published lives…

  • Baton Rouge

    Baton Rouge

    ★★★½

    Crime thrillers are a superior cinematic genre. They are foremost writing exercises, toying with audience expectations. If they are also erotic thrillers, they can be titillating, offering a base but vital cinematic pleasure. Ultimately they are also moral, probing the plights of fraudsters, killers, and lawmen.

    This late 80's Spanish production takes from Almodovar and Chabrol, both specialists of narrative thrills. Antonio Banderas plays a young gigolo who seduces an older rich woman, then tries to frame her in an…

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  • Roma

    Roma

    Condescending hipster cinema purports to empathize with the working class to signal neoliberalist virtue. 

    But Cuaron doesn't know his subject: The temerity of women, single mothers, in Hispanic communities. It's been depicted more authentically in other films by better (more nuanced) filmmakers.

    The tragedy of the dead son requires more sensitivity than depicted here.  

    Important plot points are delivered in staged long takes. 

    Cuaron never convincingly connects the two worlds. To praise this film for its "social context" denigrates the Dardennes Bros.

  • The Many Saints of Newark

    The Many Saints of Newark

    ★★★★

    Italian storytelling is all about characters. Ask Fellini, Coppola, Scorsese. In those stories, the plot doesn't matter, it's the people, their personalities, that create the story. The things they do and the way they are is the substance of the story.

    That's what The Sopranos were. The gimmick of Tony confessing to an analyst, reinforced that idea: character matters, self-obsession, introspection. This prequel is more of the same, but one generation removed. Who were Tony's role models? What was their…