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irajoel has written 51 reviews for films rated ★★★★★ .

  • The Manchurian Candidate

    The Manchurian Candidate


    The Manchurian Candidate 1962

    Set down among the large scale epics, the down home family movies and the silly comedies of 1962 was a small black and white extraordinary cold war paranoia noir thriller that came in on the heels of the Cuban Missile Crisis and a few months before the assassination of a young president, this was a movie that made some of us sit up and scream.
    This movie had the look of reality because of the way…

  • Call Me by Your Name

    Call Me by Your Name


    A Sun drenched voyage to a small town in northern Italy that tells the story of a 17-year-old boy coming of sexual age during a 6 week visit by a strapping handsome sexually stunning American. Played with delicacy and charm by Timothee Chalamet as the 17 year old Eilio who is experimenting with his sexuality during a warm summer of 1983. He is ripe for this experimenting and does so with a lovely young Italian girl but his longing is…

  • In the Mood for Love

    In the Mood for Love


    In the Mood For Love 2000

    In the mood for swooning. Set in a never seen Hong Kong of 1962 the film directed by Wong Kar-Wai is an unrequited love story, one told and seen many many times, but never like this. A man and a woman separately take small apartments really just a room in a crowded boarding house for them and their spouses.
    The place is run by Rebecca Pan a good natured landlady, Pan who in her…

  • Columbus



    At first I thought this little gem of a movie might be about Christopher Columbus or Columbus Ohio where I lived for 3 months in 1983 when I was a visiting artist at OSU, but it turns out to be set in Columbus Indiana and is about this place as much as it is about it’s characters. This was the birthplace of the horrible Mike Pence but we won’t dwell on that fact. It is also a hub of great…

  • Mildred Pierce

    Mildred Pierce


    Mildred Pierce 1945

    “Please don’t tell anyone what Mildred Pierce Did” This great tag line is what probably first attracted movie audiences to this femme noir soap opera. Made at Warner’s right on the cusp of war & peace, it was the comeback role and an Oscar for Joan Crawford who a few years before was ungraciously given the boot and dumped by M.G.M. where she toiled and starred for nearly 20 years. Here’s your shoulder pads and fuck me ankle…

  • The Jewel in the Crown

    The Jewel in the Crown


    A rare treat for those who love long leisurely mini series. This extraordinary 14 hour film was first shown on pbs in 1984 and has now been lovely restored and it shines and glows all over the place. It was originally filmed on 16mm with lots of grain that has now been botoxed and is lovely to look at.
    Also it is in its original ratio of 4:3 which is how all you big screen t.v. owners should watch it,…

  • Kes



    An extraordinary early film from Ken Loach that might just break your heart, it did mine. The film is placed in a poor industrial town in Great Britain and placed in the center of it all is a poor frail and fragile 15 year old who lives with his neglectful Mom and his loutish mine working brother in a hovel. The situations that Billy Casper must put up with are like something out of a Dickens novel in scale and…

  • The Misfits

    The Misfits


    The other night I watched “The Misfits”, John Huston’s great sad film with a friend who had never seen it. I’ve seen it many times; the first was a partial viewing in 1960 when I was 14. For some forgotten reason I saw it those many years ago with my brother in law who took me one night to see it at my neighborhood Loew’s.
    Maybe he was waiting to meet my sister at my family’s luncheonette that was a…

  • Once Upon a Time in America

    Once Upon a Time in America


    It’s inconceivable to me, how anyone viewing this great film would not be moved, excited & ultimately overwhelmed by it. For starters the film has had a very rocky road, but there is now on dvd the most complete and restored version of the film with 22 minutes of missing footage added including the sequence with Louise Fletcher, making this version the one that Sergio Leone wanted the world to see.
    The missing footage adds some clarity to the film, but…

  • Sunset Song

    Sunset Song


    I have just seen what might be the best film of the year, the gorgeous and heartbreaking new work by that poet of the cinema Terrace Davies. It is certainly the film of my summer. Set in the countryside and farm land of Scotland at the beginning of the 20th century and based on a beloved novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon a writer I’m not familiar with. The film is long and slow but visually it surprises and impresses with…

  • East of Eden

    East of Eden


    The last time I saw East Of Eden in a movie theatre was maybe 7 or 8 years ago when I rushed like a crazy person to an early screening at the Film Forum. I was disappointed with the print; it looked washed out and dreary. I of course watched the film, but I kept playing with the imaginary knobs to deepen the colors. I am spoiled like many by the digital revolution and all the brilliant restorations that are…

  • Son of Saul

    Son of Saul


    The sure shot foreign film to pick up the Oscar next month is “Son Of Saul” which I saw the other day. It’s still ringing in my mind and ears (the use of sound is very important to the experience) and upsetting me in my waking and dreaming hours. The story takes place during a few horrific days in 1944 in Auschwitz-Birkenau where the main character Saul played with reverting intensity by a non actor Geza Rohrig is one of…