Favorite films

  • The Red Shoes
  • Casablanca
  • The Godfather
  • His Girl Friday

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  • Midnight Run

    ★★★

  • The Big Short

    ★★★½

  • Another Stakeout

    ★★★

  • Liar Liar

    ★★★

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  • Casablanca

    Casablanca

    ★★★★★

    Tonight he’ll be at Rick’s. Eventually everyone goes to Rick’s.

    Casablanca (1942) is one of the best movies of all time. It came out in the midst of World War II and yet doesn’t come close to the cheap tricks or laborious lectures of propaganda . Still, the context is there and an agenda. It won Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay Oscars. Some of dialogue is known by everyone. There are plenty of movies that won awards and had quotable…

  • The Red Shoes

    The Red Shoes

    ★★★★★

    It is much more disheartening to have to steal than to be stolen from.

    I typically shy away from the term “masterpiece”. Perhaps that is because I conflate it with perfection rather than the mere work of a master. That perfection should be obvious to everyone and be separate from nostalgia and historical context–unless context is a conscious ingredient–and thus applies to very few films. In film, being a collaborative medium with so many people at work that go unseen…

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  • Midnight Run

    Midnight Run

    ★★★

    Midnight Run resembles a number of films that improve on a calm viewing. I'm thinking particularly of Odd Man Out. While outwardly, one expects a bombastic film along the lines of Beverly Hills Cop (for obvious reasons), but the characters here aren't going for full belly laughs, but chuckles and smiles. Maybe that's because it isn't as well written in the dialogue, but it makes up for it in earned tenderness. It hews closer to reality in that way, where…

  • The Big Short

    The Big Short

    ★★★½

    Still a good movie about a complex issue that might not have needed the celebrity explanations so much as more metaphors. The lament that more people didn't go to jail rankles a bit less than it did at the time because the desire to regulate hasn't improved at all. Divorcing profit incentives from institutions meant to be authoritative hasn't happened, in fact technocratic authority is suffering on the supply and demand side. That McKay went on to make Don't Look…

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  • The Green Knight

    The Green Knight

    ★★

    Given that I didn't know exactly what I was in for, it is churlish of me to say I was very disappointed, but I was very disappointed. I saw good reviews, classical story, beautiful images, and thought "Finally, after over a year and a half, I'm finally going to see something awesome." Instead, Lowery made something decidedly weird. Admirably, there's no hand-holding through its nebulous plot and indecipherable motivations, but there was no relief from that nebulous indecipherablity. I saw…

  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

    ★★★½

    Beautiful film, somber and foreboding. A western unlike any other I can think of in its slowness, focus on character, and winding narrative. The challenge as a viewer on a first viewing, I think, is that as organic as the characters are, only Pitt's Jesse James is engaging. To be around Affleck's Ford is to wish him elsewhere. On a second viewing, this is much more appreciable, deepening the pity and disgust for him until the character finally agreed with…