Favorite films

  • Angel
  • French Cancan
  • How Green Was My Valley
  • In This Life's Body

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  • Cluny Brown

    ★★★★★

  • Ruggles of Red Gap

    ★★★★★

  • The Grapes of Wrath

    ★★★½

  • Local Hero

    ★★★★★

Recent reviews

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  • Cluny Brown

    Cluny Brown

    ★★★★★

    A perfect pairing with Ruggles of Red Gap, almost its opposite in a sense. Somebody with no inhibitions being thrown into a world that demands them. Thankfully our Cluny could never succumb.

    Might be the best of the films about servitude because it treats that world with all the sense of an alien landscape that it deserves. Initially Cluny is the odd one out, but particularly after we meet the nauseating chemist and his delightfully grotesque mother, Cluny becomes the…

  • Ruggles of Red Gap

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    ★★★★★

    Just absolute magic. I maintain that the central five or six performances of this film are among the finest in all the movies.

    Charles Laughton gives maybe the great film performance in the title role, not only conveying the overall transformation from dutiful, inhibited servant to paragon of American values, but also moving through so many modes of performance on the way. 

    There are times where he’s basically full on mugging for the camera, directly clocking the barrel; other times…

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  • Little Women

    Little Women

    ★★

    It feels so harsh to speak ill of something that is so well intentioned and which will no doubt bring so much joy to people, but I found this thing to be totally mediocre.

    I still haven’t read the novel, and my only prior experience of this story comes from Gillian Armstrong’s film version, which I know a lot of fans of the book (my mother included) have issues with. 

    I find Armstrong’s film on its own terms to be magnificent,…

  • Zeros and Ones

    Zeros and Ones

    ★★★★

    A distillation of everything that makes up paranoia. This is what people have long said about somebody like Rivette, but formally Ferrara and Sean Price Williams have made something here which is the formal antithesis of Rivette’s world of paranoia.

    Disease, terrorism, torture, pursuit by military forces, betrayal and suicide bombing are all viscerally presented, and often without any need for motivation, just the concepts themselves carry the dread.

    But, as with a lot of Ferrara, the most paranoiac force…