Favorite films

  • The Prestige
  • Hamilton
  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence
  • Big

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  • War Horse

    ★★★★★

  • Grizzly Man

    ★★★★½

  • Unbreakable

    ★★★★

  • The Ladykillers

    ★★★★½

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  • It's a Wonderful Life

    It's a Wonderful Life

    ★★★★★

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

    Every time I rewatch It’s a Wonderful Life, the movie seems to come at me from a fresh angle. This time, it struck me as an exceptionally rich portrait of its protagonist George Bailey—and one that derives its power from James Stewart’s performance. George isn’t the only well-written character, and Stewart doesn’t give the only good performance (Lionel Barrymore and Donna Reed are often overlooked, but they’re both great). However, the film’s success depends entirely on how well George works…

  • The Prestige

    The Prestige

    ★★★★★

    The Prestige is my favorite film of all time. That’s all I have to say.

    Just kidding, I actually have a lot to say. This is going to be a long review, because I’m so grateful to all the people who made this fantastic movie—especially, perhaps, editor Lee Smith. According to conventional wisdom, we're not supposed to praise a plethora of cuts and a lack of long takes, but here the style is used masterfully, giving the film a nervous…

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  • War Horse

    War Horse

    ★★★★★

    If you look through the negative reviews of War Horse, you’ll see phrases like “shamelessly sentimental” and “astonishingly melodramatic.” And I’m not really sure if those descriptions are wrong, necessarily—movies are subjective, and I see why some people consider the story of Joey the horse cliched and manipulative.

    But the thing is, the film works—oh, how it works! I was in tears for most of the last twenty minutes, and not many movies have moved me like that. The plotting…

  • Grizzly Man

    Grizzly Man

    ★★★★½

    Grizzly Man is an incredibly complicated and thought-provoking documentary, even if it has a few elements I didn’t love.

    I really do have to say this first: I find myself fascinated by Timothy Treadwell. I mean, who was this guy? In the film, he’s sometimes joyful, reveling in nature, and sometimes arrogant, believing he can live among the bears as a “kind warrior.” His devotion to the bears and hatred of human society is pushed to such lengths, I didn’t…

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  • It's a Wonderful Life

    It's a Wonderful Life

    ★★★★★

    It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t a perfect movie, but it feels like one. There’s no denying it doesn’t quite warrant a 132-minute runtime, and it gets immeasurably better after it finishes recapping George Bailey’s life and moves on to its actual premise. But because it has the same effect as a perfect version of itself would, I’ve given it the full 10/10. Any movie that can plunge to the depths of despair and still reach the transcendent heights of pure…

  • The Cocoanuts

    The Cocoanuts

    ★★★★

    The Cocoanuts’s huge supply of laughs makes up for technical limitations and some boring sections.

    It still feels weird to me that the Marx Brothers weren’t always considered a big enough commercial draw on their own. Did audiences in the 1920s and 30s actually need dull musical numbers and mind-numblingly bland romantic subplots to get them into the theater? Whatever the reason, those scenes are interminable, and you just have to wait through them to get to the good stuff…