• American Graffiti

    American Graffiti


    A genuinely gorgeous ode to North American youth culture as a kind of big musical-montage: as Dave Kehr wrote, the invention of a new narrative style. The entire film is carried by Lucas's dazzling structure and construction, at times inexplicably so - there's no obvious, logical reason for the way it jumps back-and-forth between characters yet it always feels totally natural and even inevitable. The charm of the performances are even deceptive, I suppose - they're essentially cyphers that fill…

  • Cœur fidèle

    Cœur fidèle


    God forbid anyone read the synopsis on this website - which aside from spoiling the ending completely misreads the movie as far less provocative and modern than it actually is. That being said...it really is that simple - but simplicity akin to Murnau's Sunrise. As with that film, its all about style - not style for its own sake, but in the manner in which it can elevate something to reveal its most expressive qualities.
    Epstein turns the mundanity of…

  • The Godfather

    The Godfather


    While I'd still choose the second film by a landslide, Pauline Kael's assertion of this being a perfect merger of commerce and art is absolutely correct - this is arguably the blueprint for the ideal form of popular narrative cinema. Structurally magnificent - constantly astonishing in how the film doesn't follow A-B plot mechanics at all (if not traditional plot devices period) and is actually almost devoid of subtext: two things we're often told (whether it be teachers or producers)…

  • Julien Donkey-Boy

    Julien Donkey-Boy


    Probably the darkest and bleakest of Korine’s films, yet deeply compassionate and the most sincere in beauty of all his works. Visually, it’s wildly - relentlessly - inventive, yet never in the service of cold logic but rather for what could be the most empathetic depiction of poverty I’ve ever seen. Herzog’s performance in particular is beautiful - possibly my favorite performance by a director in someone else’s film - and it’s easy to see Terrence Malick’s affinity for Korine’s…

  • 8½


    I feel like.....Pablo....when I...

  • M. Butterfly

    M. Butterfly


    Very possibly the least romantic movie ever made and also (despite its coldness) one of the craziest - and one that only becomes more effective on successive viewings because we know the extent of John Lone's deception. It's also a remarkable case study on Orientialism and casual racism - and is even one of the most politically explicit of Cronenberg's films - but what this movie really is about, above all, is essentially heterosexuality as subject. Irons is blinded by…

  • Schindler's List

    Schindler's List


    It’s amazing how much of the film is setup via its opening juxtaposition: Spielberg gives us every little detail of Oskar Schindler’s preparation for the evening - a quick shot of cognac, deciding which tailored suit he’d like to wear, laying out his assortment of ties, determining what the right cufflinks are for the evening, fixing a flawless collar, folding a perfect white handkerchief for his breast pocket, lovingly putting on a designer wristwatch and topping it all by finally…

  • Patlabor 2: The Movie

    Patlabor 2: The Movie


    Wish I had something cool or unique or insightful to say about this thing, but sometimes it's like reading Hegel or something where you end up rewatching a sequence a second time just after it happens just to make sure you got everything. But once you get everything, its amazingly rewarding. Shoving all the action to basically a single sequence within the concluding 15 minutes (and even then, there's still a significant bit that takes place following) is a very…

  • Carlito's Way

    Carlito's Way


    The only of De Palma’s films to attain a true tragic gravitas - normally the maestro takes a Brechtian approach to genre so that it supports a grander political statement, or goes so far that it becomes metatextual. But here, he takes the film noir assignment so seriously that it surpasses even the concept of genre itself, much less the genre the film belongs too. Maybe it’s as simple as an assignment, and everything from technique, writing and performances so…

  • The Birth of Love

    The Birth of Love


    One of Garrel's finest works and one of the greatest, most perceptive films of (and even about) the 1990s - subtly political in its quiet examination of neoliberalism's impact on culture...but Garrel is more a poet than an intellectual after all, and what's more fascinating is how culture here seeps into everyday life, particularly if one came from a "freer" time. Instead, there's much wandering - a midlife crisis movie if there ever was one, but one of the best.…

  • Oh, Woe Is Me

    Oh, Woe Is Me


    I swear I had a mysterious, spiritual experience while watching this

  • Poetic Justice

    Poetic Justice


    This thing was criticized so heavily in its time for its seeming lack of ambition, as if modesty was something to be ashamed of. This is probably the second of Singleton's three masterworks, where sensationalism or anything pointing towards it is elided - in fact, it's the rare mainstream American film not sabotaged by genre hooks and silly plot contrivances, where nothing (at least on the surface) is allowed to happen. Instead it's about the casual joys and sorrows of…