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Bryan has written 927 reviews for films rated ★★★★ .

  • The Post

    The Post


    Spielberg lays it on a bit thick, and maybe Tom Hanks is miscast, but it's a masterfully told story of journalism doing its job with great period details. I'd rather see a movie about Robert McNamara (and yeah, I've seen The Fog of War)

  • The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years

    The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years


    The world didn't need another Beatles documentary, but the way this focuses on their life as live performers instead of the music is actually a refreshing take on Beatlemania. The hard working boys basically got too big for public life - before the music industry caught up to the enormous scale of rock and roll. The DVD offers a bonus disc that is basically another full length documentary that is more about their early life and their music. It is well worth watching too.

  • The Shape of Water

    The Shape of Water


    It's a good if predictable romantic fantasy in the Tim Burton mold, nice to look at, and easily the most relatable film I've seen from Guillermo del Toro. I can't say it worked for me emotionally though. I can't feel for Gill Man the way I felt for Edward Scissorhands, but then I can't feel for my goldfish the way I feel for my cat (talk about scissor hands). Maybe some people out there have a fish fetish, but Gill…

  • Phantom Thread

    Phantom Thread


    It's a smart movie. It's an intriguing movie. It's an impeccably well made movie. The acting is rich and flavorful. It evokes 1950s glamour beautifully. It's got a great soundtrack. It's nice seeing Paul Thomas Anderson narrow his focus down to three characters. Everything about this is great, but I can't help feeling it's not a very deep movie (unlike "The Master", which probably isn't as deep as it seems). It may take a second watch to determine how much I really get out of these characters and their relationship, but I liked it.

  • Call Me by Your Name

    Call Me by Your Name


    A lovely gay coming-of-age fantasy with perfect young men who live idyllic lives in beautifully rustic Northern Italy and are cultured far beyond their years (and yet are still hip enough to be fans of the Psychedelic Furs). I was far less interested in their slowly percolating romance than I was in their languid existence. Kick back and relax: This is a poor man's substitute for a trip to Italy, and Armie Hammer is an ideal specimen of a man. Who wants a story when you're on vacation?

  • Lady Bird

    Lady Bird


    It seems heavily biographical and authentic in relating Gerwig's experience growing up, although I kept wishing it was funnier. Despite heaps of praise it's received, it's not significantly better than any of the other of coming-of-age films. Perhaps I expected more? The most appealing thing about it is Saoirse Ronan's performance, who at the moment stands poised to become one of the great actresses of film history. Time will tell.

  • The Way Back

    The Way Back


    A group of political prisoners escape from a Siberian gulag and make their way on foot in a grueling journey across Asia. It's a good, brutal survival film but despite spending two hours focused on a group of people, they sure don't have much personality. Only the two movie stars - Ed Harris and Colin Farrell - do anything interesting with their characters. Is that because I recognize them or because they're better written? Saoirse Ronan shows up as a…

  • Sapphire



    A murder mystery that exposes the ugly heart of England's racism eight years before the Yanks did it with In the Heat of the Night. Nigel Patrick as Detective Hazard is entertaining enough to carry a whole series of films, and he does it all with knowing glances and a non-committal air. He's above it all. Like In the Heat of the Night, the racism is way overblown, dominating every scene, which actually makes this feel much more dated than Dearden's other films (compare this to the way homosexuality is so deftly handled in Victim).

  • I, Tonya

    I, Tonya


    Here's a biopic done right. The movie takes a tawdry, headline-grabbing incident and gives the characters depth and nuance and crafts a tragic story that also funny and lively. The comparison to Scorsese is apt.

  • Story of Women

    Story of Women


    Isabelle Huppert's a lonely mother in occupied France who turns to giving abortions and letting prostitutes rent her spare room to make ends meet. Chabrol keeps a distance from the protagonist, just as she seems to keep a distance from others. The movie isn't out to judge her even when the government decides to make an example of her. It's not a tirade against injustice, just a matter of fact look at life during wartime, very much in the spirit of Malle's "Lacombe Lucien." I think the word is unsentimental.

  • Strangers on a Train

    Strangers on a Train


    Strangers on a Train has one of my favorite movie posters, because it's just so simple and brilliant. Check it out:

    I love everything about this movie except Farley Granger. He's convincing as a tennis pro, I guess, but he offers nothing that makes him interesting or watchable. Robert Walker steals the show (it's a shame he died right after this) and the supporting players upstage Granger in every scene. The script and direction and photography easily makes this one of Hitchcock's top films. It drags a bit near the end but the big action climax makes up for it.

  • Good Times - Ben Safdie, Josh Safdie

    Good Times - Ben Safdie, Josh Safdie


    Desperate people doing desperate things to achieve their desperate goals. Most filmmakers would approach this story as a comedy, and the movie falls just short of becoming a parody of itself. It's like "After Hours" without the humor. The Safdie brothers really wish this was a 70s movie, and they film everything in tight close-ups Cassavettes style. It annoyed me when Cassavettes did it, and it annoys me here, but not so much that it hurts the film. Robert Pattinson…