Will

Tend to watch a lot of film noir these days...

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  • Phantom Thread

    Phantom Thread

    ★★★★★

    Broadly speaking, a very “beautiful” movie – but beautiful in quite a specific way, not just in the generic realms of simply looking nice; instead the beauty is holistic, as reflection of a regal sublimity immanent in the couture fabrics of the story and all its world – for once, beauty is not only skin-deep! I like that the film doesn’t concede to clichés: that Reynolds doesn’t have to let go of his craft or his obsessive capacity for creating…

  • Sunset Boulevard

    Sunset Boulevard

    ★★★★★

    Norma Desmond’s final scene, where she recedes back into the unreal reality of “acting” along the winding staircase of her tragically haunted mansion, is a moment of profound self-reflexivity—where the film’s acknowledgement of its own mirror reflection to the real world of Hollywood at once converges and diverges with the unreality of the medium’s artifice—of “Sunset Boulevard”, the containing vessel. The demise of Norma, a spectral avatar of Swanson’s own self, is congruently brought to life as phantasm with the…

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  • Midnight Mary

    Midnight Mary

    ★★★★½

    Under a deluge of rain, Loretta Young despondently gazes at a glitzy neon streetsign flickering between JOAN CRAWFORD and NO JOBS TODAY. She’s amazing. The way her character learns to act by turning on that smile (in all those great close ups! - did they just cease existing when the 30s ended?), at first to further her own interests but then to protect another's. The formula is quite similar to The Public Enemy’s (especially with the childhood scenes) but replaced with a sympathetic, unfairly maligned female lead, a woman who’s basically the opposite of immoral even at her worst. Pre code Wellman, man. Nothing beats it.

  • Tobacco Road

    Tobacco Road

    ★★★★

    I've read this criticised for being kinda meanspirited which I can certainly understand on some level. But the broad, almost burlesque quality of its black comedy seems to do more to ridicule the concepts & distinctions of sin and sinner that define it - it's also genuinely funny! But admittedly YMMV with this kind of caricatured excess Americana. Quite predictably the film is at its best when Ford turns towards his most elemental painterly instincts in all those great, near silent…

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  • Paris, Texas

    Paris, Texas

    ★★★★★

    Oh wow, just finished rewatching Paris Texas and the first thing I read about afterwards is the passing of Harry Dean Stanton. :( How strange and sad. But he lived a great life! We were lucky to have him. I love Travis Henderson so, so much. I found such affinity and affection in every part he played, but never more than here in what he helped make one of the all time great American movies. The tenderness and fragility and pathos just oozed out of Harry Dean. He was a one in a million. A special actor, a special movie. Unrepeatable.

  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

    ★★★★★

    Aka the greatest horror film ever made

    It's beyond heartbreaking how this was treated on release. I think primarily this just an example of Lynch being way ahead of the curve: this is a new kind of film—a synthesis of Blue Velvet's behind-closed-doors-suburbia dream story with a totally uninhibited subjective crux: the life and death of Laura Palmer, a girl whose suffering would be told and relived just the way it happened. For all Lynch's reverential abiding with the 50s'…