Favorite films

  • Honeyland
  • Prodigal Sons
  • Frontrunners
  • For the Bible Tells Me So

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  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

    ★★★

  • The Hills Have Eyes

    ★★★½

  • Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire

    ★½

  • Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel

    ★★½

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  • Call Me by Your Name

    Call Me by Your Name

    ★★★★★

    To tell a love story without the expected words, phrases, and gestures meant to communicate specific thoughts, feelings, and private longings is particularly challenging to pull off, awkward and off-putting when executed even with the slightest hint of self-consciousness, but Luca Guadagnino’s surprisingly disarming “Call Me by Your Name,” based on the novel by André Aciman, makes it look like most graceful dance, so natural, delicate, and free of chains that prevent so many coming-of-age pictures from reaching their maximum…

  • Zodiac

    Zodiac

    ★★★★½

    A deliberate sidestepping of overt action is the strategy director David Fincher employs in “Zodiac,” a true crime thriller surrounding the hunt for the Zodiac killer who terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area from 1969 to 1971. Highly intelligent, meticulous, and efficient, at times the picture embodies the texture of a documentary in the way it dares to break away from the expected plot and dramatic parabola. What matters is information, how it is presented, and what conclusions, if any,…

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  • Scream

    Scream

    ★★★

    Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s “Scream” is hoarse. Sitting in the middle is a relationship between two estranged sisters (Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega) who reconnect when one is attacked by the Ghostface killer and miraculously survived, but this would-be human element is handled so much like a terribly written soap opera that nearly every time they talk about their painful pasts or how much they care for one another despite having not spoken for five years, the pacing of this…

  • Zone 414

    Zone 414

    ★★½

    Fingerprints of Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” are all over Andrew Baird’s “Zone 414,” a sci-fi dystopian thriller involving a private investigator hired to locate a missing girl within the titular location, a city of robots supposedly free of crime since its inception. Despite its humble visual effects and occasional questionable dialogue, for a while the mystery lingers like a thick fog and peering through it offers just enough surprises, however slight, to inspire viewers to keep watching, questioning, wondering. But…

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  • Lucky

    Lucky

    ★★

    Natasha Kermani’s “Lucky” is more interested in delivering a message than it is about creating a movie that just so happens to have a message. Specifically, its goal is to make a statement about the every day violence—overt and subtle—that women experience, whether it be at home, at work, or out in public: that the female gender, in general, tend to compartmentalize and go at it alone even when it is apparent that they are in need of help or…

  • Violation

    Violation

    ★★★★½

    Once a friend (with benefits) suggested that I spend the night. And when one of us fell asleep, the other should… go inside, if you know what I mean. “That’s rape,” I said, almost as an involuntary reaction, while attempting to detect a hint of whether the proposal was a joke. Suddenly there was uncomfortable confusion in the air. “It would be sexy,” retorted the voice right next to my ear but it felt like the words were coming from…