• First Reformed

    First Reformed

    ★★★★★

    Summer is here, my long and stressful school year is over, and I am finally watching movies again…

    and First Reformed is a simply immaculate work of filmmaking. Paul Schrader is truly one of a kind and Ethan Hawke delivers the performance of a life. Every frame is perfect. Brilliance.

  • Trainspotting

    Trainspotting

    ★★★★★

    Trainspotting is a hell of a film and one of the best cinematic depictions of addiction I have seen. It immerses you in the Edinburgh drug scene and the roller coaster lives of the addicts caught up in it, but it does not moralize as films like Traffic do. It tells a story and it tells it well. It brings you in, it takes you through the highs and lows, and it leaves you captivated, disgusted, laughing, crying, and a million other things. Also, perhaps it’s a bit off-topic, but I’d kill to have a Scottish accent.

  • Sansho the Bailiff

    Sansho the Bailiff

    ★★★★★

    A hauntingly beautiful portrayal of human cruelty, Sansho the Bailiff tells the story of a family that maintain their humanity in an inhuman world. Mizoguchi’s adaptation of the classic Japanese folktale penetrates the souls of its viewers. A wrenching experience, this film is timeless.

  • If Beale Street Could Talk

    If Beale Street Could Talk

    ★★★★★

    James Baldwin is a legend. Barry Jenkins is a legend. Five stars.

  • The Virgin Spring

    The Virgin Spring

    ★★★★★

    It’s not easy for me to review Bergman’s films — or the films of any master filmmaker — because it’s hard to express just how good they are. The Virgin Spring is really, unbelievably good. Bergman’s depiction of a civilization grappling with its own spiritual identity is beautiful, haunting, and astounding. A must-see that I think should get as much attention as his later films.

  • Lost in Translation

    Lost in Translation

    ★★★½

    There’s so much I really love about Lost in Translation, such as its brilliant camerawork, lovely performances by Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, and its tenderness and intimacy, but all of that is detracted from by its tactless and demeaning portrayal of Japanese culture. Unfortunately, much of the film’s comedic elements play on offensive tropes that stereotype Japan’s language, culture, and people. I don’t think this was director Sofia Coppola’s intention and perhaps with the benefit of somewhat (but not enough!)…

  • Palm Springs

    Palm Springs

    ★★★½

    Everybody’s been watching Palm Springs, so I did too and I enjoyed it. It’s a good movie and a fun way to spend an hour and a half (especially if, like me, you’re accustomed to much bleaker films), but it doesn’t bring all that much new to the tables in terms of its characters, plot, or philosophy. That’s not really a criticism — I don’t expect every film to redefine cinema or provide me with hours of thoughts to contemplate. Palm Springs is an affectionate and playful addition to its genre, that’s well worth a watch, especially if you’re a fan of Groundhog Day.

  • Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

    Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

    ★★★★★

    I can’t breath. I can’t write. I’m spellbound.

  • 25th Hour

    25th Hour

    ★★★★★

    Spike Lee’s 25th Hour is one of his best films. The film takes us through New York City soon after the September 11th terrorist attacks as we follow Monty (Edward Norton) a convicted drug dealer about to begin his seven-year sentence. During Monty’s last day as a free man he spends time with the people who matter to him most — his girlfriend, longtime friends, and his dad — as he and those around him try to come to terms…

  • Dazed and Confused

    Dazed and Confused

    ★★★★½

    Linklater and McConaughey are both national treasures and Dazed and Confused might be the ultimate high school movie.

  • Masculin Féminin

    Masculin Féminin

    ★★★★★

    “Can it, Trostskyite!”

    This might be my favorite Godard film yet. I love how Godard plunges us into the lives of Paris’s twenty-somethings when the city was at a boiling point. Great stuff.

  • Tampopo

    Tampopo

    ★★★★★

    A brilliant stylistic mashup that immerses the viewer in Japanese culture. One of the weirdest and funniest movies I’ve ever seen, Tampopo is a joy to watch. Itami knocked this one out of the park.