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  • The Age of Innocence

    The Age of Innocence

    This film follows such a focused through-line of ideas, from the rather abstract (meditations on aesthetics as a canvas for social and psychological control that reflects on its own ornate formalism) to the specific (the maintenance of class through rhetoric and "fashion"). It's honestly breathtaking. Scorsese's triumph is a form of formalistic thinking, each movement growing from what precedes it.

  • The Color of Money

    The Color of Money

    Scorsese negotiating the handoff of star power from the Newmans to the Cruise's with relaxed panache. Lesser Scorsese in the right way: the subtraction of his more personal themes results in a rather effective engagement with aging and youthful energy, wisdom and brio; the film is the schism between. Hollywood craft.

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  • The Thing

    The Thing

    "How will we make it?"

    "Maybe we shouldn't."

    Fire and ice, blue and red, flares and snow. Carpenter fine tunes the formalism of his previous films to something absolute, pure (before branching outwards). The film has no fat, every shot creating atmosphere, building dread, sustaining an unbearable tension between bodies and the spaces they inhabit (as well as other bodies). In daylight, the Antarctic expanse is forbidding, rigid, sharp, but when night falls it becomes an abyss. Figures, rendered silhouettes…

  • Creed

    Creed

    The way Coogler judges how long to hold on faces for a first date, or edit footage of Apollo at Adonis' most (physically) desperate moment, or have Stallone react to a photo of him and his real son; it's all of an intimately felt emotional register, quiet but also triumphant like the preceding franchise. A small (therefore big) miracle of story and people craft in Hollywood's most souless age. Fought back tears throughout.