• Niagara

    Niagara

    ★★★★

    Such a vicious film! Cotten relentlessly cucked by a fatally sexy Monroe, and a hapless couple caught in the middle of their psychosexual games. The Technicolor makes the noir aesthetic incredibly creepy — those moments in the dark are genuinely unsettling.

  • Separate Tables

    Separate Tables

    ★★

    This film has many great things in it: Rita Hayworth, Wendy Hiller, Rod Taylor as a young man kept away from his studies by his horny girlfriend — but like its theme song, it is extremely corny and dated. Deborah Kerr’s performance as a tragic spinster is nothing short of unforgivable, bless her.

  • The Time Machine

    The Time Machine

    ★★★★½

    I was screaming internally (in a good way) during the entirety of this film. So many striking images and ideas touching on something so elemental, it’s like watching a dream you once had. All of it bewitching, in large part thanks to Rod Taylor’s wild charisma. Though if I had a time machine I would probably go back to 1960 and tell Mr. Taylor not to turn down the role of James Bond.

  • The Apartment

    The Apartment

    ★★★★½

    So good. Boy and girl are both cogs in the machine of unfair power dynamics, with clear benefits barely concealing the dehumanising threats that come with them — in the office for him, and in her relationship with a married man for her. But what makes the film truly special and moving for me is that it knows their struggles are not the same.

    *SPOILERS* At the end, C. C. Baxter can quit his job and feel like a free…

  • Joe

    Joe

    ★★★★

    Loved this. We follow a rich fool who half-heartedly accompanies Peter Boyle’s embittered racist Joe on a journey into the counterculture, the story progressing with a certain pragmatic logic where one thing quite naturally leads to another — until we end up somewhere really mad. I feel like this kind of “and then this happens” logic is the strength (or at least a main characteristic) of many exploitation films of the era. But this one also manages to touch on so many topics in the process, so many tensions and hypocrisies... It’s genuinely masterful.

  • Machine Gun McCain

    Machine Gun McCain

    ★★★

    Much love for John Cassavetes’ unhinged performance in this otherwise middling film. Peter Falk also stars, looking painfully gorgeous, plus Britt Ekland and Gena Rowlands, who gives the whole thing a much needed boost during her few scenes.

  • Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid

    Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid

    ★★★½

    Messy for the most part, but because it’s Peckinpah the ending packs a punch, making it all worthwhile. Coburn fab as always, Kristofferson maybe less so, though that is kind of the point... Dylan’s music a strange but productive fit for Peckinpah’s style.

  • The Man Who Fell to Earth

    The Man Who Fell to Earth

    ★★★★

    It’s a book adaptation and a vehicle for a massive star, but THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH feels like Nicolas Roeg‘s cinema distilled to its purest essence. Such an incredibly immediate and overwhelming experience, gorgeous to look at but never twee or superficial. Roeg (here with DP Anthony B. Richmond) is the best at creating compositions and camera movements that are both beautiful *and* absorbing. Even as you admire the beauty of an image, you remain hooked to it, you can’t step away and contemplate. A film to be studied shot by shot.

  • Heaven Can Wait

    Heaven Can Wait

    ★★★½

    A great Sunday movie. Its mad premise barely holds together but Beatty’s charisma and the can-do attitude of his character just propulse the film forward, and we can just sit back and know that “it’s alright, there’s nothing to be afraid of.”

  • The Big Red One

    The Big Red One

    ★★★★

    The kinetic visual style perfectly fits the contradictions of war: every moment, every life appears both precious, and throwaway. Lee Marvin is our only through line, hanging on to the only thing that counts: staying alive.

  • My Brilliant Career

    My Brilliant Career

    ★★★½

    Gillian Armstrong’s adaptation of Miles Franklin’s book really does it justice, with Judy Davis‘ subtle performance keeping her complex character from ever falling into cliché. Such a clear-eyed and deeply felt look at the way divisions of class and gender intersect and impede women’s ambitions — maybe it isn’t so surprising that the novel was written by a 16 year old girl.

  • Simone Barbès or Virtue

    Simone Barbès or Virtue

    ★★★★

    My piece on the restoration for Sight & Sound.