Favorite films

  • Boogie Nights
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Bicycle Thieves
  • Star Wars

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  • Sex Appeal

    ★★

  • The Green Knight

    ★★★★

  • Red Rocket

    ★★★★½

  • Free Guy

    ★★

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  • Dave Chappelle: The Closer

    Dave Chappelle: The Closer

    ★★★★

    Per Rotten Tomatoes, this comedy special boasts a 38% rating among the “professional” elites and a 95% rating among audiences.  That David Chapelle’s content here draws such a degree of self-righteous ire—comparable to Lenny Bruce six decades ago—should be truly disturbing to any member of a healthy, functioning democracy no matter what your political leanings.

    'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible,…

  • Black Swan

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  • Sex Appeal

    Sex Appeal

    ★★

    I had a philosophy professor many years ago who posited that one of the distinguishing features of American socio-political history was that aside from a brief Sexual Revolution of the 1970s, the one common thread that runs through the political extremes is a distinct uptightness when it comes to sex (a lingering remnant of our Puritanical roots).  As one example, the “Pro Life” movement on the Right in the U.S. has always refused to back initiatives that have been shown…

  • Red Rocket

    Red Rocket

    ★★★★½

    Truth be told, I am decidedly mixed on writer/director Sean Baker’s prior work (liked Tangerine, but loathed The Florida Project); but I could never deny the uniqueness of his voice, his unyielding devotion to stories about “the ‘least’ amongst us” (to borrow a phrase from a nun I had in grade school) on their own terms, devoid of any socio-political agenda.  As the storytelling in Red Rocket goes, Baker gives us nothing more than what would otherwise be the second…

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  • Dear Basketball

    Dear Basketball

    ½

    The narration has all of the nuance and poetry that you’d expect from a recently retired pro basketball player whose ego just can’t be stopped and who desperately wants the post-#metoo world to forget all the rape-y stuff.  The animation by Glen Keane (Tangled (2010)) was positively groundbreaking when it appeared in an A-ha video over three decades ago.  And so this six-minute commercial for the post-NBA Kobe Bryant brand is nothing less (or more) than a triumph for his publicity team and a perfect reminder of what the Oscars (and Hollywood) are really all about.

    Hoop Dreams, anyone?

  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ★★★★½

    It's 2016. Among our prime A-listers, we don't have a Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers; hell, we don't even have an Olivia Newton-John or John Travolta. What we do have is Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling (Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), Gangster Squad (2013)) and a talented director (Damien Chazelle) who has the audacity to create an original musical in 2016 (as opposed to adapting/stewarding a Broadway franchise). With Chazelle's invocation of nostalgia for a once dominant cinematic form and generous…