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  • A Serious Man 2009

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 17 Apr, 2014 1

    A Serious Man was released shortly after I separated from my ex-wife. She sent me an e-mail with a link to the trailer that said "Have you seen this? Looks great!" Years later, I'm still not sure if it was an act of psychological aggression worthy of Hannibal Lector or if it honestly didn't occur to her. Either way, I hope she's doing well.

  • Them! 1954

    ★★★★ Watched 17 Apr, 2014 1

    The scariest moment in Them! happens early on, with none of the movie's giant ants onscreen. A little girl (Sandy Descher) is found wandering in the desert in a state of shock; when a doctor gives her smelling salts, she suddenly starts screaming "THEM! THEM!" as the camera pushes in on her terrified face. Them! holds up well partly because it takes its time building tension before showing us the (still pretty great-looking) ants; as with a lot of '50s…

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  • Eyes Wide Shut 1999

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 14 Nov, 2012 7

    One of my fondest moviegoing memories is the collective groan a frustrated opening weekend audience let out as Stanley Kubrick's elusive final film cut to black. It's a fair response, as Eyes Wide Shut deliberately upends our expectations; it's a movie that was sold on the promise of raunchy sex scenes featuring its then-married leads, but while there's plenty of skin throughout the film, the sex is as cold and alien as Crash (the Ballard book/Cronenberg film). I've heard a…

  • The Jerk 1979

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 16 Apr, 2014

    It's funny to go back and read the angry reviews that The Jerk inspired when it was released. Roger Ebert spent most of his two-star review elaborating on an entire theory to explain why The Jerk isn't funny; he mentions that the audience he saw it with laughed the whole time, and the movie was a huge hit, making this the rare time when the popular audiences beat the critics in getting it. The Jerk is filled with dopey humor,…