Favorite films

  • The Night of the Hunter
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Pee-wee's Big Adventure

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  • Requiem for a Dream

    ★★★

  • Dog Star Man

    ★★½

  • Miami Blues

    ★★★★½

  • The Celebration

    ★★★★½

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  • The Birth of a Nation

    The Birth of a Nation

    Put a lot of research into our 10th episode of Unwatchables, where we tackle the most vilely racist “great film” ever to reinvent the medium. We dive deep into the historical context, including the film’s hideous ideology, its unprecedented success and technical innovations, and how figures like D.W. Griffith and Woodrow Wilson grappled with the controversy they didn’t see coming. In the end we try to figure out what The Birth of a Nation means in 2022, and more fundamentally:…

  • Funny Games

    Funny Games

    ★★★★½

    It’s Michael Haneke week on Unwatchables, featuring two films as artful as they are harrowing: 1997’s meta thriller Funny Games and the devastating 2012 Palme d’Or winner Amour. We grapple with the director’s penchant for truly unwatchable ordeals, his formidable filmmaking prowess, and exactly where he gets off scolding us for watching his own riveting horror film. Listen on Spotify, Anchor, or any podcast platform. (Or as always, opt for the extended video edition on YouTube!)

    (BEWARE SPOILERS IN VERY…

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  • Requiem for a Dream

    Requiem for a Dream

    ★★★

    It’s Darren Aronofsky week on Unwatchables, featuring two very different gauntlets of suffering from opposite ends of his career: 2000’s grueling drug cautionary tale Requiem For A Dream and 2017’s gloriously bonkers— and receiver of the coveted “F” Cinemascore— mother!. Special guest and author James Jackson takes a break from work on an actual high-profile film production to discuss his Aronofsky fandom and how the director evolved from hyper-stylized wunderkind to this generation’s Roman Polanski (in a good way!). Both…

  • Miami Blues

    Miami Blues

    ★★★★½

    My third viewing of this truly irreplicable oddity. I still can’t think of another film that quite captures Miami Blues’ singular tone of absurdist humor, cartoonish violence, and aching human longing, save maybe for another Armitage joint like Grosse Point Blank— though as much as I remember enjoying that, it’s ultimately a much more conventional star vehicle. Here any one element could throw the whole thing off, yet each time I’m only drawn further into its tragicomic madness. (Admittedly, it…

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  • Primer

    Primer

    ★★★★½

    My main memory of Primer was the absolutely head-spinning mechanics of its time travel plot, and its complete disregard for viewer hand-holding that practically counts as avant-garde. But what struck me most forcefully this time it how it looks and sounds. This may be the most elegantly shot and edited micro-budget indie I’ve ever seen (possible exception: Carruth’s own Upstream Color); the opening series of shots alone are as sharp as a diamond, every corner of the frame used for…

  • The Batman

    The Batman

    ★★★

    Never stronger than its first hour, when it’s still Batman by way of Se7en— a tired comparison by this point, but an accurate one— which if nothing else gives the film its own much-needed personality. Of course this series has always been influenced by noir, all the way back to the original comics and up through Tim Burton’s cartoon version of German Expressionism. But in addition to the nocturnal atmosphere, The Batman is the first to deploy some trademark world-weary…