• Millennium Actress

    Millennium Actress

    Consider me a fan. A Citizen Kane-inspired fantasia on moviemaking, the cathartic power of acting, celebrity obsession, and the demons of Japanese history? With Satoshi Kon animation? You’d be a fool to pass this up.

  • Across 110th Street

    Across 110th Street

    It’s got a ham-handed message about race and class in New York that sometimes even feels at odds with its graphic violence, it’s got Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Kotto as buddy cops, it’s got Richard Ward as a Harlem Gangster, it’s got shockingly good and fluid camera movement, and of course it’s got that classic Bobby Womack song (but not the version you really like.) It’s Across 110th Street.

  • No Sudden Move

    No Sudden Move

    Another Soderbergh banger. A twisty neo-noir, with everyone double crossing each other, and the size of the loot growing with every new development. No Sudden Move not only takes advantage of its famously stacked cast, but of its highly segregated, 1950’s Detroit setting, shot in a world-bending fish-eye lens. It’s easy to get lost in a cast like this, but Cheadle does an outstanding job of grounding the whole movie.

  • The Long Good Friday

    The Long Good Friday

    A stylish and shockingly brutal British gangster movie that doubles as a clever allegory for the new, ruthlessly capitalist London under Thatcher. Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren are typically outstanding and the synth-and-sax soundtrack is a bizarre treat.

  • Europa

    Europa

    Feels more conventional than Von Trier’s later work. It’s almost like his take on a 40’s war drama or film noir but it still has some of his more bleak or experimental touches. There’s a three act structure and a doomed romance, but also a uniquely nihilistic atmosphere fitting the setting of a country that had just spent a decade ripping its own innards out, and innovative use of selective color and rear projection.

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Watching this in theaters - especially on film - especially opened it up for me. It fully immerses you in this world of both drab convenience and technological marvel, and that majestic world’s gradual unraveling becomes even funnier and more unnerving. Kubrick’s choice of composers for the soundtrack still feels so advanced. These are some of the most daring, otherworldly, haunting pieces ever chosen for a soundtrack. Of course, there’s also that near-indescribable final act, where Dave sees the possibility of returning to Earth a lonely, wealthy hero, in a pristine mansion and instead chooses to evolve.

  • Cruising

    Cruising

    There is a lot to love in Cruising. Friedkin uses giallo-inspired visuals to probe sexual taboos, and the setting of gritty New York’s gay bondage scene really works for this. At times, it recall the frenzied, sexual, leather fever dreams of Robert Mapplethorpe or Tom of Finland. However, two things really killed this movie for me. The first is that the third act drags terribly and ends in the reveal of a killer who’s just a mish-mash of bad stereotypes…

  • Certified Copy

    Certified Copy

    Really strange how this movie draws you in. On paper, it’s simply a well-shot conversation set against a gorgeous Tuscan background. But Kiarostami’s interrogation of this beauty, and what about it is authentic, yields thought provoking results. And the chemistry between the leads - my God. Much of this movie’s fun comes from the blurring between who these two really are and the roles they’re assuming, and Binoche and Shimell move between disaffected intellectual colleagues, courting young couple, contented married couple, bitter divorced couple, etc. with so much grace and gravity that it’s astonishing. Beautiful film.

  • The Royal Tenenbaums

    The Royal Tenenbaums

    ★★★★½

    This is that sweet spot where Wes works best for me. The heavily stylized visuals and flights of fantasy are grounded in an approach to serious subjects that’s darkly humorous but never so ironic that it sacrifices its humanity. It’s beautifully detailed and idiosyncratic in the way that only Anderson could be, the soundtrack is an iconic, eclectic mixtape, everyone in the cast’s comedic timing is perfect as is their quiet sadness that comes with age, regret, and failure.

  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    Some of Spielberg’s most poetic images. Yes, you can feel Kubrick’s cold misanthropy, but Spielberg’s sense for both the eerie and the heartbreaking is what holds this movie together. Osment’s mix of eerieness and innocence also really works too. Even at his most sympathetic moments we’re put off by him. It’s a movie that both imagines a hedonistic future where humans no longer love or dream but has faith in an everlasting ability for human love to endure.

  • The Guilty

    The Guilty

    Nice little lowkey Danish thriller with some “oh shit!” moments.” The concept is very clever and the execution is creative and well-done.

  • Serpico

    Serpico

    This movie is filled with cops, Serpico being the only one of them that’s stylish, attractive, funny, interesting, or likable, and he’s put through hell for it.