Favorite films

  • Chinatown
  • Dune
  • Aguirre, the Wrath of God
  • Sideways

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  • Cha Cha Real Smooth

    ★★★

  • The Beach

    ★★★

  • Trainspotting

    ★★★★

  • Round Midnight

    ★★★★

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  • Passion Fish

    Passion Fish

    ★★★½

    I forgot that this was a big awards hit in 1992, with Sayles, Alfre Woodard, and Mary McDonnell all nominated for an array of Oscars and Globes. McDonnell is a newly-paraplegic soap actor who retreats to her bayou home to lick her wounds, and Woodard is the nurse who endures the obstinance to forge a friendship. This literally passes every test there is -- Bechdel, Black-del -- and the performances are stellar, but it's a mild mix of ingredients. I suppose that works in its favor, but there's a lot of minutes in the two-plus hours of runtime.

  • New York, New York

    New York, New York

    ★★½

    Not a feature so much as a loosely-edited series of improvised segments, maybe Marty bit off more than he could chew by not providing Bobby with the rigorous and canny direction he was known for. This extended cuts sprawls over three hours on account of the added musical sequences which accurately reproduce the Golden Age film mood on which Marty grew up, yet the slavish dedication to craft was both unwieldily expensive as well as tedious. As it is, the…

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  • Uncut Gems

    Uncut Gems

    ★★★★★

    We're gonna be talking about this movie for years to come: Benny and Josh Safdie have outdone their previous effort, "Good Time," with this amped-up take on Jimmy Toback's "The Gambler." Sandler is a total degenerate, wagering anything he can get his hands on laying the seeds for his downfall with each risky parlay bet made on the flimsiest of hunches. The Safdies get tremendous supporting turns from Kevin Garnett, Lakeith Stanfield, Eric Bogosian, and Julia Fox among others, mixing…

  • Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

    Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

    ★★★½

    The Golden Age of Hollywood was lined with shame and secrets, and people have been spilling the tea continually since then. (Kenneth Anger's seminal "Hollywood Babylon" is nearing its sixtieth anniversary, in fact.) It's common knowledge that many directors and actors lived double lived in the spotlight, to better adhere to post-Hays Code morality clauses laid down by the studio mandarins. But for as many Rock Hudsons as we knew about, there are still more people who went to their…