Favorite films

  • Mulholland Drive
  • Bottle Rocket
  • Sweet Smell of Success
  • Wise Blood

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  • The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin

    ★★★

  • Q: Into the Storm

    ★★★½

  • Zola

  • Spirited Away

    ★★★★★

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  • Columbus

    Columbus

    ★★★★★

    COLUMBUS is a quiet, beautifully observed film without a false moment. Emotionally, it positions its audience in a cinematically familiar place, but a place that has been exploited with far less honesty: the precarious transitional moment between precocious adolescence and adulthood. Despite their age difference, this transition is true for both of its leads: Casey, played by an extraordinary Haley Lu Richardson, and Jin, played by John Cho.

    The title refers to the film’s setting in Columbus, Indiana, a sleepy…

  • Call Me by Your Name

    Call Me by Your Name

    ★★★★½

    CALL ME BY YOUR NAME is a lot of things you might not expect from a late year “prestige” film. It’s an experiential intimate drama centered on a small story where sensory details matter as much as plot. It’s a catapult for young star Timothée Chalamet (who also shines in this year’s LADY BIRD) and a reinvigoration for Armie Hammer (who feels more at home here than he does in most of his recent attempts at mainstream leading man flicks).…

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  • War for the Planet of the Apes

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    ★★★★★

    The American blockbuster encourages prolonged adolescence in a way that's become tiresome. Maybe it's because the target demographic for blockbusters is supposedly adolescent males; maybe it's because the PG-13 rating mandated by most blockbusters requires filmmakers and studios to enter an adolescent state of mind to make something appealing to families; or maybe it's because culturally, we have entered a state of mind akin to collective arrested development. Whatever the reason, the American blockbuster is now comprised almost entirely of…

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming

    Spider-Man: Homecoming

    ★★

    In some ways, it's hard to watch any current Marvel Studios film and not have it be a referendum on the so-called Marvel Cinematic Universe. Each entry is (by design) thoroughly couched in events that happened in previous films, and teases drama yet to unfold in future movies. Even if you like the meat of this superhero sandwich, you have to at least take into account the bread in making an assessment of your experience. Unfortunately, I don't like the…