• Sorry, Wrong Number

    Sorry, Wrong Number

    ★★★½

    • It feels like a 30-minute radio play padded out to 90 minutes because it is one. The brilliant central conceit - a noir plot plays out while we're stuck with a helpless individual trapped in their bedroom - is, as is typical of these cinematic "expansions", diluted via several flashbacks and detours. I can't help but think that REAR WINDOW represents a significantly more effective adaptation of this concept.

    • The radio play's OTHER conceit of "we're going to…

  • Elvis

    Elvis

    ★★★★

    • Everything that is subtext becomes text at some point. Every. Thing. A performance of "Suspicious Minds" intercut with the Colonel signing a contract that legally traps Elvis? Nah: big showy overhead crane-down on a napkin that says, in so many words, "WE ARE TRAPPING ELVIS" while ominous slow-motion background choirs sing "WE'RE CAUGHT IN A TRAP!!!" as the rest of the song's mix falls away? THAT'S MORE LIKE IT!

    • I mean: Colonel Tom Parker is the key to…

  • The Holiday

    The Holiday

    ★★★

    • Structurally, a much different film than what I expected: the rhythm of the intercutting between the two parallel storylines never really exceeds that of 5-10 minute chunks. This is, I think, pretty much a good thing: each vignette is given room to breathe, and it allows for this neat trick where we're away from each set of characters just long enough to go "hmm, where did we leave off?" which is a clever way to evoke the passage of time.

    • Eli Wallach!

    • Remember when leads in studio comedies were allowed to have minor wrinkles and blemishes? Sixteen years ago? Those were the days.

  • It's Complicated

    It's Complicated

    ★★★

    • The best thing about this is that it limits itself to exactly one (1) moment of typical romantic comedy oh-god-what-a-misunderstanding hijinks but really makes it count by being absurdly maximalist about it.

  • A Good Year

    A Good Year

    ★½

    • This is one of the most bewilderingly aggro movies I've ever seen. It's not so much "Ahh, isn't it great to sit back and enjoy Provence in the summer?" as it is "YOU WILL ENJOY THE SHIT OUT OF PROVENCE IN THE SUMMER OR I WILL FUCKING SHIV YOU, YOU PIECE OF HUMAN GARBAGE."

    • It does that very 80s/90s pop cinema thing where the camera leers and oggles at all the ladies in the movie to illustrate the…

  • More American Graffiti

    More American Graffiti

    • Oh wow. Completely fascinating. Shockingly ambitious in like eight wildly different directions, which is simultaneously the most compelling thing about it and its greatest liability. Remember how AMERICAN GRAFFITI used the greatest soundtrack conceit in history to unify the four story strands? Well, nuts to that! Each strand takes place in an entirely different time and place from one another and is realized in an entirely different style! And not surface-level "they used different film stocks" stuff: I'm talking…

  • American Graffiti

    American Graffiti

    ★★★★★

    • Each time I watch this I spend around twenty minutes thinking that maybe, just maybe, it'll fall slightly in my estimation. It's a ragged and flawed film: no two ways about that. Then Smoke Gets in Your Eyes happens and the film's main structural mechanic of allowing the diegetic soundtrack to determine the film's emotional register finally clicks. What follows is a relentless string of the most impossibly moving grace notes: Carol sulking down the street as the beats…

  • Jewel Robbery

    Jewel Robbery

    ★★★★

    • This is completely wild, even by pre-code standards of conduct. It all but advocates for a lifestyle in which one is free to carouse around robbing the rich, seducing their wives, handing out weed, and outwitting the police as they attempt to hold you to account. Complete anarchy textually and formally.

    • The only available DVD release of this has one of the more severe cases I've ever seen of digital noise reduction in the audio track. Dialogue is so warbled that it's unintelligible at times.

    • Was this undercranked the whole time, or does the DVD run fast?

  • Double Indemnity

    Double Indemnity

    ★★★★★

    • Ugh. I hate mechanical perfection. Therefore, I hate this. Can't argue with it. It's science.

    • This was the first big-c Classical Hollywood Masterpiece I saw in film school, and being the petulant young hellraiser I was at the time I viewed this squarely through a "Yeah, okay, whatever. It's kinda dated. It's no THE KILLING." lens. My only viewing since then was in 2012 when I saw it as a part of a hard-boiled focused literature class in…

  • Preface to a History

    Preface to a History

    Cineworks screening

  • Three Colors: Red

    Three Colors: Red

    ★★★★★

    • Ah yes: a trilogy that begins with two fairly down-to-earth tales of grief and revenge closes with a mystical story featuring a judge who's implied to be a divine entity* of some sort setting up his younger parallel universe doppelgänger with a fashion model. That's my Kieslowski!

    • The Fashion Show bolero is so good we played it at our wedding reception! Every variation of it! Anyways: this bit of music as used in the film evokes the inexorable…

  • Three Colors: White

    Three Colors: White

    ★★★★½

    • Yes, it's the "weakest" of the THREE COLOURS* films, but only because it's merely great-looking and not a titanic visual masterpiece of expressionism like the other two. And even that factor feels like a conscious decision: this is a typical deadpan Polish social satire of systemic annoyances in the vein of Bareja updated for the post-Iron Curtain 90s. The film's best joke** involves our hero proclaiming "Jesus - home at least!" as he gazes over a Warsaw garbage dump!…