Favorite films

  • The Ice Storm
  • Monos
  • Forty Deuce
  • Safe in Hell

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  • Midnight Kiss

    ★★

  • Double Indemnity

    ★★★★★

  • Camila Comes Out Tonight

  • Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

    ★★★★

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  • Sorry Angel

    Sorry Angel

    ★★★★★

    Honoré captures so much life in a film set during the peak of the AIDS epidemic. There’s dying, of course, but mostly, death is a shadow behind the flirting, fucking, dancing, and talking talking talking, the latter brimming with intelligence and hunger. The dialogue breathes and feels specific to that moment. 

    There’s a long, laden conversation between two friends/exes in a bathtub, just pale blue tile and paler skin, cool tones while their chemistry radiates warmth. Years unfurl in the…

  • You Won't Be Alone

    You Won't Be Alone

    ★★★★½

    First up, this isn’t a horror film. It’s more of a meditation on existence, sex, gender, love, and the cycle of life, albeit one that happens to involve a hideous, seemingly ageless witch with black claws and a taste for blood. 

    It doesn’t have a horror film’s pacing either; it flows dreamily. When the transitions between sequences involve some bloodshed, mostly we just see the aftermath. 

    Instead, the tone is pastoral, the voiceover that of someone never taught proper language…

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  • Midnight Kiss

    Midnight Kiss

    ★★

    I’m no slasher flick aficionado, and I identified the killer in the first act.

    For all the film’s weaknesses, you can’t blame Augustus Prew. He’s easily the best of the cast, taking his character, Cameron, from repressed heartbreak to fevered “final girl” energy. At the climax, he has a moment of genuine compassion that’s all but torpedoed by the silliness around him. 

    Add a star if you’re looking for Gratuitous Ass Shot: the Movie.

  • Double Indemnity

    Double Indemnity

    ★★★★★

    Murder, self-delusion, and mad longing in Southern California. This one makes me think of Joan Didion, who documented the same milieu twenty-odd years later. She regarded it with a piercing intellect, this world her mirror, where Wilder zoomed in tight, so you can feel the heat. 

    Stanwyck is at her most sophisticated and savage: eyes of ice, lips gleaming like black lacquer, the hair a Cubist sculpture. She makes me believe an improbable character. 

    Wilder’s uncanny framing makes the supermarket look like a hyperreal art installation or a lab rat’s maze. Maybe he was onto something.

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  • Operation Hyacinth

    Operation Hyacinth

    ★★★★

    It’s Cruising with a conscience. In mid-80s Warsaw, a cop goes undercover to solve murders in the gay community and maybe discovers more about himself in the process. 

    Impressively, this policier manages to flesh out members of the queer community while staying with the cop’s perspective. In particular, the house party scene shows the vitality and joy of queer spaces under a repressive regime. 

    The balancing act continues through the end, which finds a credible note of optimism while not…

  • Neptune Frost

    Neptune Frost

    ★★★½

    Not so much a narrative as a gathering. People show up, one by one, then in groups. The film is a protest that draws on folk metaphors and technological motifs, primal emotions and modern paranoia. 

    The film’s sensory experience is a mishmash too. The ingenious production and costume design seems to have been sourced from a Silicon Valley junkyard. The music blends traditional rhythms with hip hop wordplay and punk fury. 

    The most powerful of the rebels is a trans…