Favorite films

  • L.A. Story
  • Encounters at the End of the World
  • The Saragossa Manuscript
  • Tenebre

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  • Icarus

    ★★★½

  • Premium Rush

    ★★★

  • Can You Ever Forgive Me?

    ★★★

  • The Ruins

    ★★½

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  • Inherent Vice

    Inherent Vice

    ★★★★★

    Why should things be easy to understand?

    — T. Pynchon

    I doubt we'll see another of Thomas Pynchon's stupendous stories adapted for the screen; and in a way, I hope we don't: Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice is the kind of miraculous manifestation that happens once, like a wave that crests and hangs, suspending time, before collapsing under the weight of its own perfection. You could say the same of the counterculture, in whose backwash muttonchopped PI Doc Sportello finds…

  • Withnail & I

    Withnail & I

    ★★★★★

    Ah, Withnail. Like most of my peers, I watched this too many times to count between the ages of 18 and 21, but without ever really appreciating the currents of desperation and despair that flow through the film, or just how poignant their consummation is. It was always on in the background when you went round to someone's place, and what emerged through the fug of inebriation were the endless quotable lines, Richard E. Grant's manic shrieking, Uncle Monty's bombast,…

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  • Icarus

    Icarus

    ★★★½

    "They were all doping" says Don Catlin, anti-doping supremo for U.S. sports, at the start of this one. Well, that doesn't reflect too well on you, does it Don? And this line is the great fallacy of doping in cycling, and in sports in general. Sure, you can look at a particular dope-riddled period and equalise everyone because "they were all on it". But you're ignoring the talents who, because they rejected the injections, could never compete at the highest…

  • Premium Rush

    Premium Rush

    ★★★

    In the track cycling event called the Madison, paired riders take turns slingshotting each other into the fray, one pedaling all-out while the other recuperates up at the top of the boards. In Premium Rush it's Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon, as loose-cannon bike messenger and even looser-cannon bent cop respectively, who hand the action off to each other. JGL has to get an envelope to a backstreet eatery in Chinatown by 7 p.m. and there's nothing Shannon won't stoop…

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  • Tampopo

    Tampopo

    ★★★★★

    Food is life. A spaghetti-eating lesson is subverted by a balding, belching Westerner. A troupe of hobo gourmets trade tasting notes and whip up omelettes in hotel kitchens after hours. A mad granny palps peaches and cheese, pursued by a store clerk. Food is sex. A gangster who resembles a young Chairman Kaga from Iron Chef understands the aphrodisiacal powers of raw eggs and oysters. Food is death. A dying wife wills herself to cook one last meal for her…

  • L.A. Story

    L.A. Story

    ★★★★★

    I love everything about this criminally underrated fantasy. I love Richard E. Grant's oleaginous English smarm. I love Rick Moranis's cockney gravedigger. I love the set pieces — the choreographed fountains, the freeway duel, the "I'll be your robber" scene. I love Patrick Stewart and L'Idiot. I love — and I seem to be the only one — everything about Victoria Tennant's performance, full of quirk and bafflement and "deep sustained booming sounds". I love Andrew Dunn's cinematography, its gauzy,…