Favorite films

  • School on Fire
  • Assault on Precinct 13
  • Japanese Girls at the Harbor
  • Touki Bouki

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  • Betty

  • Benji

  • The Greatest Mixtape Ever

  • Nope

    ★★★½

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  • Wolfen

    Wolfen

    High-budget pulp. A very, very dumb "maybe the real savages...ARE US" script which takes its sweet-ass time traipsing through a very '70s police procedural (reminiscent of a more leisurely giallo) elevated by a painterly eye for the shambles of Ol' Dirty NYC. Hines and Olmos are both phenomenal, and Finney wandered out of some other movie entirely, which is worth something.

  • Miracle Mile

    Miracle Mile

    ★★★★½

    The rare film that takes giant, simultaneous steps in the (seemingly) opposite directions of artifice and brutal honesty.

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  • Thief

    Thief

    ★★★★★

    Confronts the fatalism that drives so much noir yet often goes unexamined--how to live when, in Frank's words "nothing means nothing".

    Boiling over with class rage, and hemmed in by an existential terror that can only be defeated through violence; Admiring the simple act of a man at work while challenging the end result--the boss gets the spoils, the working man gets screwed.

    Noir at its best makes you forget the tropes even while it uses them to break your heart. But don't admit your heart's broken. Plant the explosive, get in the car, and drive away while the building blows up. Don't look back.

  • Don't Go Breaking My Heart

    Don't Go Breaking My Heart

    ★★★★½

    Avoided this for years due to the corny English title and poster (I know, I know) but this has got to be one of To's best. What's especially satisfying to me is the lack of distance between stops in To's genre hopping; how he handles crime pictures and rom-coms with the same kind of electricity and kineticism, not to mention the same pet motifs (finding these eerily desolate pockets of Hong Kong in the nighttime, which takes my breath away…