Favorite films

  • Lady Bird
  • To Be or Not to Be
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  • Fail Safe

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  • Wall Street

    ★★★½

  • Bullet Train

    ★★½

  • Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 1

  • Comrade X

    ★★★

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  • Top Gun: Maverick

    Top Gun: Maverick

    ★★★½

    Feel a lil' weird about this movie. I've been going over all of this in my head the past couple days and it was enormously difficult to get it down in writing.

    The original Top Gun is not a good movie, but it has become a great one. Certain moments from it are forever etched onto to the American cultural consciousness, and images from the movie have stayed with me even though I remember being rather bored when I saw…

  • West Side Story

    West Side Story

    ★★★★½

    The projector abruptly turned off during the end credits, during the instrumental of "America," which honestly was more of a gut punch than anything that happened in the actual movie.

    Anyway, a very interesting experience seeing Steven Spielberg's West Side Story at the AMC theater in Lincoln Square, which is built directly on top of where the film is set. We see a 68th and Broadway street sign early on and that's literally where this AMC is located. Tony Kushner's…

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  • Wall Street

    Wall Street

    ★★★½

    There's a Talking Heads song that plays twice in the movie —"This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)." It's a swooning song about unqualified commitment and unabashed connection. It's a song about the depths of humility and finding the place where all is satisfactory. That's of no interest to the power players on Wall Street. To them, that kind of love, that kind of life, is indeed a naive melody.

    Wall Street set the tone for all those movies about…

  • Bullet Train

    Bullet Train

    ★★½

    A middling film in every way. Algorithmic casting and none of the actors feel as if they're part of the same world. That's probably on the director, David Leitch, showing which of the two John Wick directors is the better filmmaker — not him! I can hang with mindless action sometimes, but not this time. The action scenes are mostly just fine, not acrobatic or thrilling enough to make up for an utter lack of true emotional stakes. Structurally strange,…

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  • Licorice Pizza

    Licorice Pizza

    ★½

    Was really great to see this in Village East's opulent Jaffe Art Theatre. Truly beautiful space to see (what is to me) a bad movie.

    It gives me no pleasure to say that Licorice Pizza did almost nothing for me. It's been getting a ton of praise, especially from people whose opinions generally track with my own. And I just feel like I watched an entirely different film. Could not wait for this to end.

    Hated the script. It starts…

  • Ad Astra

    Ad Astra

    ★★★★★

    There are some movies where, after the first time I saw it, liked it but had major quibbles. Then it simmered in my mind for a couple days, then thought that maybe I love this film. So of course I have to see it again and then after second viewing it becomes an unqualified favorite.

    Ad Astra is one of those. I have come to accept the voiceover and understand its place in the narrative, though I still think it…