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Chris has written 38 reviews for films rated ★★★★★ .

  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    ★★★★★

    “Look at them! Right out in the open.”
    “That’s how they do it. That’s how they spread it. All those people are changed.”

    I was born the year this came out, and it may actually be the first horror film I ever saw. I remember watching it from the balcony of an old movie palace a few years after it was released. It was a second feature and I was a sleepy little kid watching something way too adult for…

  • The Fly

    The Fly

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I think it’s the best thing Cronenberg ever did, the counterpoint to Videodrome’s depiction of what it’s like to fall apart from the inside. There’s so much about Brundlefly’s plight that I can personally relate to, but the hardest part for me to watch has always been the attack on Stathis at the end. It’s so horrifyingly brutal that I’m always a little afraid to watch The Fly no matter how many times I see it.

    I do wonder what…

  • Perfect Blue

    Perfect Blue

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    So according to Wikipedia, Mima actually says "I'm real" using Rumi's voice at the end, a detail I did not catch either time I watched this. There's no way to fully piece out the plot in terms of what is happening in the "real world" of the movie. There's too many shared hallucinations going on for it to exist. Kind of like real life, isn't it?

    My viewing this time was marred both by the incompetence of Fathom Events on…

  • Won't You Be My Neighbor?

    Won't You Be My Neighbor?

    ★★★★★

    I was disappointed to find that Won't You Be My Neighbor? uses an edited-down version of Mr. Rogers's testimony to Congress instead of just playing it in its entirety. I watched the full testimony segment on YouTube a few days ago (not for the first time) and felt really moved by it, to the point where it really did feel like he was transmitting some sort of holy spirit once he got rolling. I really liked his bit about an…

  • It Felt Like Love

    It Felt Like Love

    ★★★★★

    I guess from the ratings I'm seeing on Letterboxd, people are writing this off as just another coming of age movie, but it felt crushingly authentic to me, with a strong focus on the POV of the protagonist, quietly and mostly silently indirectly broadcasting her feelings to the audience and the world around her. I spent the runtime commiserating in sympathy with Lila's teen angst when I wasn't cringing at her attempts at adolescent posturing or being fearful for her…

  • Black Girl

    Black Girl

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I knew from the first shot and the first minute that I was going to like Black Girl. First the austere opening shot of the ship coming to port, no score, just the alarm call of the ship's horn in the distance; then a little later that first stunning high contrast close-up on Mbissine Thérèse Diop's face as her character's leaving the boat.

    The ending left me bemused. Going in I expected this to be a tragedy; then in the…

  • Sex Is Comedy

    Sex Is Comedy

    ★★★★★

    "Words are lies, bodies are truth. Now I have to invent the truth."

    Sex, like filmmaking, is comedic in its fumbling attempt to make reality satisfy the expectations of desire. To illustrate this point, Catherine Breillat presents a narrative of the filming of a sex scene that itself comes to resemble a sexual pursuit.

    I loved that this is a narrative about making a film that doesn't use the corny old gag of showing the film-within-a-film, which usually drives me…

  • Sweet Movie

    Sweet Movie

    ★★★★★

    I went to the Milwaukee Public Museum last weekend and found out about a Pre-Columbian Central American culture that made effigy pots depicting couples having sex. The pots they have at the museum include a couple copulating while the female partner is breastfeeding a baby, and another where the female partner is already pregnant. Anyway, these pots were recovered from graves, because apparently a custom of this civilization was to use the pots as funerary art when they were burying…

  • Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

    Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

    ★★★★★

    Zen is very simple . . . What are you? In this whole world, everyone searches for happiness outside, but nobody understands their true self inside. Everybody says, ‘I.’ ‘I want this, I am like that . . .’ But nobody understands this ‘I.’

    Before you were born, where did your ‘I’ come from? When you die, where will your ‘I’ go? If you sincerely ask, ‘What am I?’, sooner or later you will run into a wall where all…

  • Sansho the Bailiff

    Sansho the Bailiff

    ★★★★★

    “A man is not a human being without mercy. Even if you are hard on yourself, be merciful to others. Men are created equal. Everyone is entitled to their happiness.”

    “I found that humans have little sympathy for things that don’t directly concern them. They’re ruthless. Unless those hearts can be changed, the world you dream of cannot come true.”

    A story of human brutality told with exquisite classical technique, and also ultimately a beautiful yet bleak inspirational film. That…

  • Possibly in Michigan

    Possibly in Michigan

    ★★★★★

    I reminded myself that this existed, so I watched it again. I'm glad that this was a Letterboxd fad. I'd seen Cecilia Condit's films play around town for years (because she taught at my alma mater UW-Milwaukee for a long time) without ever knowing about her fun ones! When I went to her retirement film festival at UWM last year, there was a chorus on stage before the show that performed a couple numbers, including the song in this video.…

  • Le Samouraï

    Le Samouraï

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Even if it seems certain that you will lose, retaliate. Neither wisdom nor technique has a place in this. A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.

    “I never lose. Not really.”

    It was pretty interesting to rewatch this after twenty years with a new perspective beyond being a callow film student. At first I was amused as Delon’s cops-and-robbers game with…