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  • Ghosts

    Ghosts

    ★★★★

    Ghosts never attains the mysterious, hard-to-define forward momentum that drives all of Christian Petzold’s best films, but its diffuse narrative and structure and increasingly eerie atmosphere gets the job done all the same. Of particular note is the intensity of the performances, which manage to accomplish the complex feat of seeming honest and raw, while still possessed of certain spectral qualities. Nina's monologue where she explains how she first met Toni is particularly astounding. There's a great sorrow running through…

  • I Only Want You to Love Me

    I Only Want You to Love Me

    ★★★★½

    A great film on the subject of debt. Its aching observations about how concepts of material worth obscure or otherwise demolish one’s self-worth are disturbing and deeply felt. They’re also a great example of what Fassbinder does at his best: simultaneous portraits of emotionally troubled characters and of societal decay, micro and macro, each informing the other. In an unusual technique for the director, Fassbinder employs a non-chronological structure whose jumps through time uneasily reveal the story's violent conclusion long…

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  • A Canterbury Tale

    A Canterbury Tale

    ★★★★½

    A stunningly beautiful movie, about life during wartime, and regular people living in an astonishing world. Pastoral, sensitive, sweet. Filled with details and moments that I can't quite get out of my head, from the American soldier's absurd Oregon accent (and his intense cinephilia; "Whaaat? Go to a single feature? Not me!"), to the serene way they capture the feeling of laying in grass, to the overwhelming beauty of the medieval cathedral seen at the end. The entire film is…

  • Summer of Sam

    Summer of Sam

    ★★★½

    It's a novel idea to examine how a community is rocked by the presence of a serial killer across one sweltering summer, but I'm not sure that Spike Lee's disjointed and overlong Summer of Sam does complete justice to any of the ideas it attempts to convey. The film veers uneasily between being a rowdy Boogie Nights-esque 70s period piece (right down to sharing many of the same songs on the soundtrack), a gritty true crime story (I'd consider this…