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Jeremy has written 137 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ .

  • The Sisters Brothers

    The Sisters Brothers

    ★★★★½

    Audiard’s Dheepan was such a clear homage to Ford that it’s doubly surprising that this explicit western is so idiosyncratic. I haven’t read the source novel, but many of the director’s obsessions (e.g. harm to limbs, monstrous father figures) are given a particularly florid expression here. A strong cast helps to guide each of the wild tonal shifts as strongly as Desplat’s strong score.

  • Her Smell

    Her Smell

    ★★★★½

    At the very least the best rock and roll movie since Assayas’ Clean, and in true rock and roll fashion it will alienate as many as it captivates. Moss could not give us more than she does here. A Birdman comparison would sound like a knock, so maybe I'll just offer up Cassavetes' Opening Night (times five) as a useful frame of reference...

  • The Devil Rides Out

    The Devil Rides Out

    ★★★★½

    One of the best British horror films ever made, and certainly one of the Hammer Studio’s best, Terence Fisher’s The Devil Rides Out is an extremely efficient thrill ride into the macabre. It is as fast-paced a horror film as you will ever see, involving a group of heroes, led by a brave duke (Christopher Lee), who do battle with a coven of Satanists out to disrupt the balance between good and evil. Something like a dozen memorable set pieces…

  • Les Destinées sentimentales

    Les Destinées sentimentales

    ★★★★½

    Starting in 1900 and spanning over thirty years afterward, Les Destinées Sentimentales Oliver Assayas’ three hour period drama, is most remarkable not because of its epic scope, but because of the startling intimacy it achieves despite that breadth. Consider the stunning dance sequence early on in which the hand-held camerawork tightly frames nearly every shot in a roaming close-up that serves to remind the audience just how cramped the space is, while simultaneously laying it out for us. The scene…

  • Day of Wrath

    Day of Wrath

    ★★★★½

    The cinematography is gorgeous, and evokes the characters inner states of mind better than just about any other director's film. The plot, which examines the daughter of an executed witch as she marries into a family that resents her past, is rather talky, but the themes of persecution and repression are deep enough to justify the chatter. During the film, we watch with horror as suspicion of guilt becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. The ego of the main character warps under the…

  • The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight

    ★★★★½

    Critics often complain that moral confrontations in films have been reduced to comic book terms. In Christopher Nolan’s extraordinary The Dark Knight, that’s still the case, yet it’s not a reason for complaint. Moral conflict in comic book terms, it turns out, can make for fascinating viewing. The Dark Knight is equal parts debate and popcorn flick. It positions its heroes and villains on opposite sides of a philosophical line, and lets them battle it out in a series of…

  • A Dangerous Method

    A Dangerous Method

    ★★★★½

    Exploding the era of the costume drama with both its style and its ideas, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method pushes repression to its breaking point at every turn. A fabulously speculative account of the torrid meeting of minds between Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and Sabine Spielrein, a patient-cum-colleague, this adaptation of Christopher Hampton’s stage play A Talking Cure is both technically exacting and emotionally exhausting. The stuffy, precise, Masterpiece Theater-inspired style that Cronenberg adapts here pits repression against radicalism from…

  • Cowards Bend the Knee

    Cowards Bend the Knee

    ★★★★½

    Ice hockey, incest, abortion, revenge, and voyeurism provide some of the elements that make up Cowards Bend the Knee, a serialized and satirical melodrama that plays out under the close scrutiny of a microscope. Created by Canadian retro-auteur Guy Maddin, it features his cheeky brand of expressionism in what might be the fullest expression of it that he’s yet achieved. A slightly more sedate version of the style utilized in his justly acclaimed short The Heart of the World is…

  • Cremaster 3

    Cremaster 3

    ★★★★½

    Matthew Barney’s extravagant new art film Cremaster 3 is at once a tough pill to swallow and a minor miracle of self-expression. Tackling many of the same themes that Cocteau did in his 1930 masterwork The Blood of a Poet, Barney ends his five film Cremaster series with a surprisingly coherent and approachable installment that obviously stands as the series’ magnum opus. I haven’t lived in New York City long enough to have seen all of Barney’s series, and he…

  • Counsellor at Law

    Counsellor at Law

    ★★★★½

    Though William Wyler’s stupendously entertaining legal melodrama Counsellor at Law, was based on a stage play, and takes place entirely in one large lawyer’s office, it has an undeniably rich sense of atmosphere. Wyler uses the opening scenes to establish the location that the eventual drama unfolds in before he introduces George Simon (John Barrymore), the legal eagle whose fear of disbarment forms the picture’s dramatic core, into that tumultuous environment. These scenes, with their rapid-fire dialogue and rather quick…

  • Contact

    Contact

    ★★★★½

    A made-for-television movie unlike any other, Alan Clarke’s masterful Contact is a minimalist depiction of what life has become for a group of British soldiers on a tour of duty in Northern Ireland. Although explicitly set during the period known as The Troubles, Clarke utilizes a nose-to-the-ground approach that drains overt politics from the situation, alternatively emphasizing monotony and tension instead. As Clark’s camera tracks his platoon through their routine flirtations with both actual death and a spiritual death at…

  • The Company

    The Company

    ★★★★½

    The uncontestable highlight of Robert Altman’s superlative ballet film The Company is an enchanting pas de deux that quickly becomes something of a rain dance when the stormy skies above begin to threaten the performance in an outside amphitheater. It’s a beautiful moment that becomes transcendent, and then continues to expand as the director shows us the crowd’s reaction and the reaction of the artistic director, who frantically wonders whether the floor is dry and the dancers are at risk.…