Favorite films

  • Nobody's Daughter Haewon
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  • Inland Empire
  • Three Times

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  • Stavisky...

    ★★★

  • Deception

    ★★★

  • Chronic

    ★★

  • Wrath of Man

    ★★★½

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  • Muriel, or the Time of Return

    Muriel, or the Time of Return

    ★★★½

    Muriel plays like Luis Buñuel's version of Last Year at Marienbad, by which I mean that delirium (rather than visually surreal evocations of a memory space) drives the film's confusion amid an otherwise realistic appearing film about the upper-ish class working through their pasts and their relationships with one another. Everyone in the film is moving on his or her own track, and while these often run parallel to each other, there is the sense that no one can truly…

  • In the City of Sylvia

    In the City of Sylvia

    ★★★★½

    In the City of Sylvia is a triptych. In the film's first third, we watch a man at a café patio as he stares at the women around him, occasionally sketching them, otherwise simply admiring their beauty from a distance. The camera flits around the patio, wondering what these brief glimpses might reveal, if anything, about the lives of these people, and cutting on occasion to reverse shots of the man as he asks himself the same thing. These shots…

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  • Stavisky...

    Stavisky...

    ★★★

    A relatively by-the-numbers film by Alain Resnais, Stavisky... is most unique when it comes to its staging. The film positions characters in the frame in a way that often develops intrigue and establishes power dynamics; a memorable conversation comes mid-film, when Stavisky bares himself by lying down on a tomb in a graveyard to speak to one of the many high-class men in the film. The narrative and screenplay were rather uninteresting, in my eyes.

  • Deception

    Deception

    ★★★

    For much of its runtime, Deception is quite the claustrophobic film, taking place in many very small rooms (so much so that I assumed for quite a while that the protagonist was a therapist, rather than friend or lover, to everyone else in the film) in a way that suggests the psychological confines of the mind and that makes even the most high-minded conversations feel intimate. I'm not sure that the film's fragmented narratives and in-depth conversations have much depth…

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  • Licorice Pizza

    Licorice Pizza

    ★★

    A series of cathartic moments taken from other, more introspective movies without any of the underlying groundwork that would give those moments any heft, Licorice Pizza is the first time that Paul Thomas Anderson's cinema has seemed overtly crowd-pleasing. Take its opening scene as Exhibit A: a forced meet-cute with no chemistry and little more than knowledge of teen movies to guide the drama forward, the two protagonists' first encounter seems solely interested in getting its narrative on the road…

  • The Shape of Water

    The Shape of Water

    After having seen only three of his films, I'm starting to think that Guillermo del Toro chooses to work in a "fairy tale" register because it means that he gets to be lazy with characterization and thematic development, chalking it up to the simplicity of the form. There is little other excuse that I can think of for why the villains in his films, perhaps true for The Shape of Water even more than for Pan's Labyrinth, seem to be…