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  • Of Time and the City 2008

    ★★★★ Watched 21 Sep, 2014

    A gorgeous essay film that manages to inflect archival footage with Davies' usual sense of nostalgic critique and its borne aloft by the musicality of the director's voice, as well as its frequent detours into embittered bitchiness, as amusing as it is often frightening in its verve.

  • My Name Is Julia Ross 1945

    ★★★★½ Watched 20 Sep, 2014

    Hi, my name's Jake. Um, a little bit about myself: I fucking LOVE 1940s movies that narrativize society's casual oppression of women by foregrounding how easily their very identities can be overridden.

  • Eraserhead 1977

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 20 Sep, 2014

    A perfectly calibrated film. The length of time it took to assemble the full thing can be felt only in how carefully ordered everything is, how exacting the sound design. It may have had lasting cult popularity because it's "weird," but I think it held on for how evocative it is, how well it nails that sense of being trapped by automation and shrieking metal and the feeling that a city is really an alien planet capable of corrupting our very DNA. Lynch wouldn't make a better movie until FWWM.

  • Sonatine 1993

    ★★★★ Watched 21 Sep, 2014

    What if the Yakuza had their own Frosh Week

  • Macbeth 1971

    ★★★★ Rewatched 19 Sep, 2014

    The nastiest adaptation of the nastiest Shakespeare play. Macbeth looks crazy not for wanted to be a king above all else, but for wanting to be king of this fetid shit pit.

  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 1974

    ★★★★★ Watched 19 Sep, 2014

    One of the few canonical classics of New Hollywood I think still deserves its full rep. Such a multivalent film, and also one of the few horror movies to keep me in total terror the whole time without resorting to cheap tricks.

  • Manhunter 1986

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 18 Sep, 2014

    MANHUNTER is not Michael Mann's best film, but that does not preclude it from being one of the best American genre films of all time. Its mixture of exacting, over-researched realism and pure, unabashed style may have nominally inspired an entire generation of TV shows that have made bank for CBS, but nothing in CSI's invasive forensic illustrations (copped from THREE KINGS more than this) produces the same effect of total identification with its ostensibly chilly, distant characters.

    Mann explores…

  • Last Action Hero 1993

    ★★★½ Rewatched 18 Sep, 2014

    It's a shame the script leans so heavily on explaining itself, especially by putting its smarmy self-awareness into Danny's mouth. The vocal acknowledgment of jokes that are made just fine with the camera detracts from the humor. Nonetheless, Schwarzenegger is so game at poking holes in his own image that the film is an effective meta-commentary on basically the whole of '80s action flicks, and McTiernan gets to subtly contrast his own, skillful, coherent direction with the post-music-video nonsense coming into vogue at the hands of hacks. Also, that Hamlet scene.

  • The Innocents 1961

    ★★★★★ Watched 17 Sep, 2014 1

    One of the best horror movies ever made. Profoundly unsettling, and so distinctive from the usual, expressionist b&w horror in its minimal use of crazed lighting, its idyllic setting, and its focus on Kerr displaying her character's interiority rather than displacing it through the production design. Really great stuff, I wasn't expecting to be this taken with it.

  • The Five Obstructions 2003

    ★★★★½ Watched 17 Sep, 2014

    Lars Von Trier tortures his personal hero, because of course he does. My patience for LVT's brand of self-righteous bullshit is always thin, but there's something compellingly upfront about his impishness here. When he challenges Leth to remake his movie with no shot lasting longer than 12 frames, the other director's resultant movie, at once avant-garde and thoroughly coherent, is so exciting and watchable than Von Trier visibly looks upset to have actually inspired Leth. It's also a wry touch…

  • Southland Tales 2006

    Rewatched 17 Sep, 2014

    I was really hoping to have a change of heart on this film, being far more favorably disposed to big, messy epics now than I was at the time. But I still find the ideas to be hopelessly jumbled, a collection of juvenile jokes so asinine that it would be generous to call them satire, voicing outrage against the Bush era with petulance and oversimplicity. This film has the clumsy articulation of an undergraduate who's just a bit too smart…

  • The Maze Runner 2014

    ½ Watched 16 Sep, 2014 2

    THE MAZE RUNNER is such a sad, cynical, pointless collection of YA tropes in search of a unifying narrative that it might as well be a Seltzer-Friedberg joint named "Young Adult Movie." Every single character exists as a blatant echo of some other YA character: Thomas is Generic YA hero, down to having no idea what's happening yet being preternaturally gifted even above those who've trained to survive for years; Will Poulter's character (do not recall his name or care)…