Favorite films

  • After Yang
  • Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
  • Memoria
  • What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?

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  • The 400 Blows

    ★★★★

  • Elvis

    ★★★½

  • Elvis

    ★★★½

  • The Black Phone

    ★★★½

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  • Phantom Thread

    Phantom Thread

    ★★★★★

    "Desire's the element that I can't fight;
    Dream is the arm of God.
    Girls looking for themselves in your eyes,
    I'm looking for you.
    Was this supposed to be some kind of perfect?
    I want more..."

    - Sam Phillips, "If I Could Write"

    Alma wants more.

    More than to be a tool in Woodcock's toolkit. She wants a partnership. A relationship. She wants to be family. And the gaping hole left by the loss of Woodcock's mother might just be…

  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    ★★★★★

    40th Anniversary theatrical release.

    If you possibly can, round up your family and friends and go see Close Encounters while it's back for a short run in theaters.

    I saw it last night on a big, big screen in a theater with about six other moviegoers. It reminded me once again that "cinema" is a different art form than "movies." And it reminded me that Steven Spielberg 1975-1981 was an artist working on an altogether different level than what he's…

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  • The 400 Blows

    The 400 Blows

    ★★★★

    [Criterion Blu-ray, first viewing in more than a decade.]

    In the English language lesson, the line the students practice is "Where is the father?" Of course (and as Annette Insdorf underlines in her Criterion essay), this makes explicit one of the film's most significant questions: How influential in young Antoine's life is the absence of his birth father?

    As I sympathize with Antoine, I am thinking not of any paternal absence in my own life, but of the jarring dissonances…

  • Elvis

    Elvis

    ★★★½

    First impressions of Elvis:

    We come to Baz Luhrmann films to be dazzled by extravagance. To be thrilled by his clever reinvention of songs we already know. To swoon over his inspired editing. To gasp at his amusement-park-ride cinematography. Because we need that (and by "we," I mean "I"). That indescribable feeling we get when the lights begin to dim, and we go somewhere we’ve been many times before — thanks to Baz Luhrmann — because, let's face it, Baz tends to…

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  • Gosford Park

    Gosford Park

    ★★★★★

    16 THINGS ABOUT GOSFORD PARK

    1. Still my favorite Altman film.
    2. Still head and shoulders above the entirety of Downton Abbey.
    3. Still the most virtuosic choreography of a large ensemble cast I've ever seen.
    4. I miss Clive Owen.
    5. That scene with Tom Hollander eating jam in the cellar. That scene.
    6. I believe that when he goes home from work, Richard E. Grant dresses and behaves just like this.
    7. All of the moments with Claudie…

  • The Innocents

    The Innocents

    ★★★★

    Name one movie that is

    a) directed by a woman,
    b) filmed by a woman,
    c) about women, and
    d) deeply concerned with matters of faith.

    I can think of many films directed by men, and focusing on men, that rigorously wrestle with questions about God and the problem of evil. But The Innocents is a remarkably rare event.

    Here's my full review.