Favorite films

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  • The Dark Knight
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Rear Window

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  • Rocky III

    ★★★

  • Broadcast News

    ★★★★

  • Beverly Hills Cop II

    ★★★½

  • Midnight Run

    ★★★★

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  • Top Gun: Maverick

    Top Gun: Maverick

    ★★★

    “Good morning, aviators. This is your captain speaking.”

    Tony Scott’s ‘Top Gun’ remains one of the quintessential cultural artifacts of Reagan-era America—a stultifying mix of latent homoeroticism and blatant jingoism. For all its goofy unseriousness, the film is essentially a recruitment ad for the Air Force. That it depicted combat aviation as the realm of hotshots engaged in air-to-air combat was an anachronism even in 1986, as dogfighting was all but obsolete by the end of the Korean War. It’s…

  • Men

    Men

    ★★½

    “And that’s what haunts me.”

    Over the course of two features and one televised miniseries, Alex Garland has proven himself to be a maestro of heavily allegorical sci-fi fables whose slick, enthralling visuals arguably belie the fundamental shallowness of their ideas. ‘Men’ finds Garland turning from science fiction to full-on freaky folk horror, producing a work that exemplifies both his best (visually and aurally arresting) and worst (clunky attempts to plumb the depths of human psychology through sleight of hand)…

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  • Rocky III

    Rocky III

    ★★★

    “He ain’t just another fighter! This guy is a wrecking machine!”

    This was the point where Sylvester Stallone was the biggest star in the galaxy, and the line separating star and character had almost vanished. Taking on directing duties for this installment, Stallone tells you everything you need to know in an opening montage that rivals Eisenstein. Glimpsed are sequences of Stallone-as-Rocky (and possibly Stallone-as-himself repurposed for ‘Rocky III’) filming advertisements and appearing on kids’ shows, Rocky enjoying the spoils…

  • Broadcast News

    Broadcast News

    ★★★★

    “I like you as much as I can like anyone who thinks I’m an asshole.”

    Jane Craig—the professional exemplar and anxiety-ridden heroine of James L. Brooks’ ‘Broadcast News’—Holly Hunter brings a jittery, harried rhythm to its smooth, frequently too-tasteful mix of romantic-triangle comedy and incisive and cynical issues film. A crack producer at a network’s Washington bureau, Jane bemoans the usurpation of hard journalism by infotainment on TV newscasts (in the late ’80s, the Pleistocene era of cable nets, she…

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  • The White Tiger

    The White Tiger

    ★½

    “You were looking for the key for years, but the door was always open.”

    Economic crisis. Sweeping statements about a country and its culture, polarized by income inequality. An unreliable, bootstrapping narrator. Mercifully, this isn’t ‘Hillbilly Elegy.’ “The White Tiger,” Aravind Adiga’s bestseller, was a riveting satire when it dropped towards the tail end of the 2008 financial crisis and a modern look at India with far more bite than the Dickensian ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ which came out a mere month…

  • Promising Young Woman

    Promising Young Woman

    ★★★★½

    “Can you guess what every woman’s worst nightmare is?”

    There is a scene, about midway through ‘Promising Young Woman,’ Emerald Fennell’s eye-shattering zeitgeist-inspired response to the #MeToo movement, in which a man pulls his truck next to our heroine, Cassie (Carey Mulligan), and throws a few choice words her way, including the one you really shouldn’t lob at a young woman at the end of her rope. (You know the one). Scored to Wagner’s darkly epic piece “Liebestod,” Cassie gets…