Favorite films

  • Across 110th Street
  • Trouble in Paradise
  • The Big Sleep
  • All That Jazz

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  • Everything Everywhere All at Once

    ★★★★

  • All That Jazz

    ★★★★★

  • The Myth of the American Sleepover

    ★★★½

  • Out of the Fog

    ★★

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  • The Shining

    The Shining

    ★★★★½

    I remember watching this movie on TV — apparently in 1983, when I was 13, which is when it premiered — and finding it completely terrifying, huddling with my mom and hoping Wendy and Danny made it out. And ever since then, I've had a vague voice saying "yeah, that was good, but don't watch it again" in the back of my head. (Made easier because I'm in the "Kubrick's cold genius doesn't do it for me" camp, in general.)

    Since then,…

  • Swing Time

    Swing Time

    ★★★½

    It would be hard find a more clear example of the difference between dance numbers as spectacle and dance numbers as expressions of emotions than comparing Busby Berkeley's "Lullaby of Broadway" number from Gold Diggers of 1935 and "Never Gonna Dance," the last big dance number in this movie.

    They're both exquisite, but the former is essentially a standalone piece with no actual connection to the plot of the film it's in (no one in the movie ever gets near

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  • Sorcerer

    Sorcerer

    ★★★½

    If Spielberg did not use this film as visual inspiration for Raiders of the Lost Ark, I'll eat Roy Scheider's sweaty old hat.

    Amazingly, I was a little bored up until the bridge crossing scene, which is immediately followed by another amazing bridge crossing scene.

    Scheider is solid but I read that Robert Mitchum turned down the role, and that's a version I'd have been even more excited about seeing. (“Why would I want to go to Ecuador for two…

  • The Big Sleep

    The Big Sleep

    ★★★★½

    Perfect for so long that it's hard to pinpoint exactly when it slips into just being very, very good.

    I'm in the middle of rereading Chandler's original novel* and I suspect this is hobbled a bit by needing to be a "Bogart and Bacall" vehicle. I don't mind them rearranging the already slippery book, but their relationship pales next to the heat that Bogart and Dorothy Malone have in her one scene. (Then again that's one of the sexiest, smolderiest…

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  • Her

    Her

    ★★★★½

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

    Scattered thoughts:

    Among so many other riches, this features my favorite Scarlett Johansson performance since GHOST WORLD. In that one she was perfectly affectless; in this one she's almost all affect.

    This is an intimate portrayal of a momentous event: What happens when we create artificial intelligence?

    This would make a fantastic double feature with A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. "Artificial" love as hardware vs. as software.

    Contrast: artificial life forms in a futuristic Los Angeles here vs. in BLADE RUNNER. (I…

  • Sisters

    Sisters

    ★★★

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

    After 25+ years of cinephilia, I'm ready to call it: I don't really get Brian De Palma. He's clearly talented — an incredible crafter of moments, if nothing else — but he reminds me of talented people who never really put forth their full effort so they can always excuse flawed work. De Palma could direct a masterpiece if he really wanted to.

    Sisters is a case in point but also makes clear why people have recognized De Palma's potential for decades.…