Favorite films

  • Pyaasa
  • In the Mood for Love
  • Suzaki Paradise: Red Light District
  • Bastards

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  • Criss Cross

    ★★★½

  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

    ★★★★

  • True Grit

    ★★★★

  • Call Jane

    ★★★½

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  • Criss Cross

    Criss Cross

    ★★★½

    This moody noir is perhaps a lesser work than the same director and star's earlier The Killers but it still packs a lot in -- perhaps a little too much, though its plot is, after all, about double-crosses. So we get a slightly tricksy structure and a lot of different motivations to keep straight, but at the heart it's simple: Lancaster's Steve still loves his ex-wife Anna (Yvonne De Carlo), but she impulsively marries her new flame, the crook Slim…

  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

    Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

    ★★★★

    I fully appreciate that this could be considered a soufflé of a film, but I see that as its primary purpose. Certainly there's no shortage of those on Netflix, but what distinguishes Glass Onion is the filmmaking craft of Rian Johnson (and also the big star turns). Like the original Knives Out, at the heart of it there's a (fairly broad) critique of American capitalism and society. In this case, it's that titular metaphor: as our detective indeed points out…

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  • Urban Rashomon

    Urban Rashomon

    ★★★½

    It seems to me that a lot of photographer/director Khalik Allah's work is about the ethics of documenting poverty. In this short piece we see him capturing images of a street person called Frenchie, while the director reflects in voiceover about his borderline exploitative relationship with his subject. It's a film of beautiful images but also is very upfront about the ways in which representation is manipulation and exploitation, which is refreshing.

  • Vice

    Vice

    ★½

    In some ways, when I watch something like Vice (or indeed, writer/director Adam McKay's last film The Big Short), I think of David O. Russell's American Hustle or even the flashier Martin Scorsese of, say, Wolf of Wall Street, both of which films I broadly liked (although I'm cooling on the Russell over time). I think there's a lot of common ground, as comedic renderings of modern society in all its gaudiness and compromised politics, and perhaps there's a fine…