Favorite films

  • Casablanca
  • Commando
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Big Trouble in Little China

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  • Spider-Man: No Way Home

    ★★★½

  • Tokyo Story

    ★★★★

  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

    ★★★★

  • Song of the Thin Man

    ★★★

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  • Spider-Man: No Way Home

    Spider-Man: No Way Home

    ★★★½

    So, here's my unpopular hot-take on the Spider-Man films. The first good one was "Homecoming." There. I said it. The first two Maguire films were OK. OK at best. Tom Holland is the first actor to capture Peter Parker and his alter-ego well and "Homecoming" was just a solid film through & through.
    One of the many things I didn't care for in the earlier films was the treatment of the villains. Almost certainly it was done for financial reasons. You…

  • Tokyo Story

    Tokyo Story

    ★★★★

    Yasujirô Ozu's films, especially his later films, are interesting, subtle examinations of everyday life of average people. It's interesting to see a highly 'artistic' take on such mundane things. But that's what we have here. Very particular and specific filming and crafting to show the lives of people going about their days. Generational stress, the uncertainty of the post-War years, petty problems, simple emotions, and more.
    There's a time capsule element to this. It's a snapshot of an era. In spite of its almost Wes Anderson level of artificiality, it somehow manages to feel almost naturalistic. It heightens the ordinary into the extraordinary.

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  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★½

    (First Viewing) I'm torn. On the one hand, I'm a HUGE Science Fiction nerd. And I've loved Star Wars (among other universes) since I can remember. On the other hand, Star Wars leans much more into the realms of Fantasy than I tend to enjoy, nostalgic trips have become largely empty and dissatisfying for me lately, and there hasn't been a really good Star Wars movie since 1980. I didn't feel as burned by "The Phantom Menace" as many, but…

  • Mulan: Rise of a Warrior

    Mulan: Rise of a Warrior

    From the generic score, to the dull battles, to the woefully misused Zhao Wei, "Mulan: Rise of a Warrior" is a master-class in how not to make an epic. The plodding pace and lack of interesting characters makes the whole thing kind of excruciating to sit through. There's been a wave of these lifeless historic action films coming out of China in the last decade or so. For every House of Flying Daggers, there seems to be a dozen or more of these. It's too bad, because the story is interesting (not as presented here...) and Zhao Wei is typically pretty good.