RSS feed for Dan

Favorite films

Recent activity


Recent reviews

  • Death of a Cyclist

    Death of a Cyclist


    Dazzlingly mounted but ultimately encumbered by some clumsily rendered sociopolitical commentary. In effect, it feels almost like a progenitor for the well-meaning issue-tainment we've come to expect this time of year when Mr. Oscar is waiting in the wings. Certainly groundbreaking in its time, and Bardem's forthright tactics for pillorying the Franco regime are valiant -- he was in prison when this received honors at the Cannes Film Festival. Against my better judgement, I'm granting this a recommendable rating, albeit…

  • The Avenging Conscience: or 'Thou Shalt Not Kill'

    The Avenging Conscience: or 'Thou Shalt Not Kill'


    Griffith continues exploring the possibilities of narrative film, this time paying tribute to Poe. Throughout, the mechanics of continuity style continue to evolve, employed to terrific effect in a climactic shootout, but it's the ethereal pre-German Expressionist touches that will stick with me most: masked demons haunting the "mentally deranged" Nephew; the ghost of the Uncle realized via double exposures; Rembrandt lighting illuminating the Nephew's face in closeup upon beholding Christ. Plus, the third-act confession scene and primitive juggling of…

Popular reviews

  • The Shining

    The Shining


    A puzzle box for the ages: seemingly deceptively simple on the surface — it is, after all, the story of a man who succumbs to madness, eventually running amok while spending a winter with his family in isolation — but there’s more than one method of opening The Shining's myriad doors.

    What I’ll say is there are few films, horror or otherwise, which effectively portray white male hysteria and the terrifying upshots of such behavior. The movie refuses to explicate…

  • Drug War

    Drug War


    "I'm a cop. You're a drug trafficker. I didn't betray you; I busted you."

    First-rate entertainment, and with some profound social commentary (which will be further inspected upon a necessary rewatch) underneath it all. Full proof that meat-and-potato crime/thriller outings aren't synonymous with Z-grade filmic idiocy punctuated by killer one-liners. (Although Captain Zhang's quote [see above] is pretty sick!) Taking the simple premise of a drug lord evading execution by assisting a police unit in taking down fellow drug barons,…