• Broadcast News

    Broadcast News

    ★★★★★

    Mamet dictates to the reader, in his book on directing, to resist calling a nail a house. A nail is just a nail. He repeats this over and over again: a scene isn't a movie. A shot isn't a scene. A scene is a scene. A shot is a shot. A nail is a nail. A nail isn't a house. It is only by stringing each discrete unit of decision and preparation together that a film is made. If Mamet's…

  • Manhunter

    Manhunter

    ★★★★

    gonna get one of those helvetica font shirts that says

    NOONAN&
    COX&
    LEVINE&
    HOPKINS.

    It's a dark, scaly thriller that has been completely occluded by the cultural lodestar that is Silence of the Lambs. But in my heart I have love for each and every one of my dee-sturbed fellas! Stay creepy, my friends!

  • Thief

    Thief

    ★★★★½

    likely to give 5 stars after another viewing. Oh Christ. It's new wave, it's Cassavetes, it's long long lenses, it's dialogue struck like a match along the tongues of sleepless Meisner students, a score that punishes, teals and blues and city lights that wink out into bokeh the size of tank rounds. It's Michael Mann baby! He's arriving!

  • Margin Call

    Margin Call

    ★★★

    sometimes brilliantly tense, but it fails to achieve what probably can't be done in the first place: to wed human pathos to the contradictions of a system. How do we make sense of the world under capitalism? The caprice, the avarice, the cruelty—this mundane trough of pain we're all meant to feed at. I'm not sure that we can. At best we can interpret and then dictate what it feels like to live inside it. The financial crisis of '08,…

  • Long Shot

    Long Shot

    ★½

    bad movie

  • The Land of Steady Habits

    The Land of Steady Habits

    ★★½

    Watched this a few weeks back. One of a hundred films made like this: sourced from semi-distinguished contemporary lit: under-cooked, under-adapted, under-scrutinized and, all in all, beneath the serious talents of many of the names attached—namely, Ben Mendelsohn and Edie Falco.

    Holofcener appears hamstrung on this opposite coast, and little comes naturally from the cloistered, upper-crust milieu. Often what finds its way into the frame feels arch and packaged compared to the natural blooms of cacti, stones and sunlight in…

  • I, Daniel Blake

    I, Daniel Blake

    ★★★★½

    by simply dramatizing a few, key aspects of British austerity, Loach creates a world that is completely untenable. Except that world is our reality, and there has not been relief.

  • Under the Sun of Satan

    Under the Sun of Satan

    ★★★½

    "God's work in us is seldom what we expect. He seems to get things wrong, to waste time. God wears us down."

  • Terms of Endearment

    Terms of Endearment

    ★★★★★

    the un-compassed madness and vibrancy of all that we so coolly define as "verisimilitude". One of those great films whose subject is life itself.

  • Notes on an American Film Director at Work

    Notes on an American Film Director at Work

    ★★★★

    A testament to Marty's good cheer and the unexpected warmth of miniDV.

  • A Touch of Sin

    A Touch of Sin

    ★★★★½

    jia zhangke, so far, has been the master of the cinematic flaneur, the noticers and bystanders to our modern contradictions. And here, he gives them voices. He also gives them guns and knives and violent, forthright wills. How can we wander through the city and not see it all around us? A brutal film about the rituals of exploitation and the insanity of simply noticing what evil is permitted and what evil is a sin.

  • Hail, Caesar!

    Hail, Caesar!

    ★★★★

    Josh Brolin prays over a Lockheed Corporation contract with rosary beads. My compliments to the chef!