Favorite films

  • Badlands
  • Cléo from 5 to 7
  • Sherman's March
  • Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

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  • I Was Born, But...

    ★★★★

  • Fright Night

    ★★★

  • New York Ninja

    ★★½

  • Pride & Prejudice

    ★★★★½

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  • Crime Wave

    Crime Wave

    ★★★★½

    Delightful wacky gem; pretty much invented Guy Maddin. The hell is going on in the forks of Winnipeg to repeatedly churn out talent like these two and Matthew Rankin?

    According to Paisz, it also may have influenced the Coens for Barton Fink, since his distributors sent them a copy. Same story of a frustrated writer toiling away in an invented film genre.

    The difference is that Crimewave is oddly inspiring, a tale of Hollywood iconography broken free and sprouted again…

  • Miami Vice

    Miami Vice

    ★★★★½

    This was the golden age of shaky cam and Michael Mann was getting even weirder than Greengrass, with a distinct digital video look and all kinds of jarring angles, low light, and wide lenses. This movie is long, very serious in tone, and difficult, and I remember it splitting opinions when it was released.

    Mann is funny because he came right out of the gate with polished precision with Thief, and can do smooth gravitas so well, but seems to…

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  • I Was Born, But...

    I Was Born, But...

    ★★★★

    Humanism incarnate, so sweet and gentle. Leaves space for the antics of kids being kids, but you can tell just from looking at the telephone wires crisscrossing the dirt streets that something else is afoot. The backdrop of a modernizing Japan comes to the foreground in the last act, salaryman masculinity put under the microscope, but it's handled really deftly. Amazing that Ozu was this good at doing his Ozu thing in 1932. I think I'm coming around to appreciating him in a new way.

  • Fright Night

    Fright Night

    I adored the sequel (which I watched first for some reason) so decided to show this to a friend. I could feel it wasn't capturing his attention, which sorta affected my mood as well. It all just felt a little too predictable, even though all the right parts are there—I mean how can you go wrong with a well-crafted 80s teen horror comedy? There's a fun premise, the soundtrack is tight, Chris Sarandon smolders as a sexy vampire. Decent movie, but amusing instead of ever being funny, and never truly takes off to, say, Gremlins/Reanimator heights.

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  • Chameleon Street

    Chameleon Street

    ★★★★½

    A legendary work in black indie cinema—for the few who have even heard of it. It famously failed to find distribution after winning a jury prize at Sundance, even though Warner Bros bought the remake rights for $250,000. Director Wendell Harris claims that though it was initially shown on television regularly, further broadcasts were actively suppressed after 1994. Apparently it was too confrontational for any major studio or network to touch.

    It's a major loss, because this film is awesome.…

  • Cairo Station

    Cairo Station

    ★★★★½

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

    Did not expect to get such a condensed (77 min.) and virtuosic exploration of mental illness, the workings of a Cairo train station, union politics, Marxism, feminism, sexual harassment, domestic abuse...all told with a stylistic mix of neorealism, film noir, and Hitchcockian psychodrama.

    Covers almost all of the isms, really, but never feels forced. The way the camera moves through the different characters and stories in the station is very natural. The whole thing is bustling with life.

    As to…