Favorite films

  • Remember the Night
  • Children of Paradise
  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
  • Ghost World

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  • Gunsmoke

    ★★★

  • The Duel at Silver Creek

    ★★★½

  • Destry

    ★★★

  • So Funny It Hurt: Buster Keaton & MGM

    ★★★

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  • Gunsmoke

    Gunsmoke

    ★★★

    *VERY MINOR SPOILERS*

    The most interesting thing about this Western is the relationship between its two guns for hire: wry, fond old friends who may soon have to kill each other. The film just doesn’t put a foot wrong when dealing with that pair, from opening farewell to ironic pay-off, their flirtation with realpolitik barely obscuring the bromance.

    The assassin we’re most interested in is Audie Murphy, who equips himself surprisingly well when the film asks him to be funny…

  • The Duel at Silver Creek

    The Duel at Silver Creek

    ★★★½

    Well this young B-movie director Don Siegel certainly knows his way around an action scene...

    His whip pans, backward dollies, penchant for audio-only killings, and innate spatial sense (spotlighted in the chases on horseback) light up this erratic but thoroughly enjoyable Western. You can often spot a soon-to-be-huge director in this era by their smart and stylised use of close-ups. There's a great and grabby one of a gun in the opening scene here, which reminded me of the POV…

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  • Ghost World

    Ghost World

    ★★★★★

    You can take your Juno, your Scott Pilgrim, even your Heathers, and chuck them in a skip, because Ghost World just does it all so much better. Well, all of it that's worth doing. I'm beginning to think this melancholy, bitingly hilarious crystallisation of teen ennui might be the only film I'll ever really need.

  • Sideways

    Sideways

    ★★★★★

    Wine is probably the most boring subject on Earth, so how come Payne’s film about a lonely, bitter best man (Paul Giamatti) taking the soon-to-be-groom (Thomas Haden Church) on a week-long tour of vineyards is so bloody good? Perhaps because of Giamatti’s astonishing characterisation, which imbues an arrogant, self-destructive, self-hating pseud with a completely disarming humanity. Or perhaps because it’s not really about wine at all, but love and friendship and the choices that people make that end up deciding…