• To Catch a Thief

    To Catch a Thief

    ★★★½

    • The opening car chase takes place entirely from the vantage point of a helicopter which seems far more interested in the astonishing beauty of the Riviera than it does the actual chase going on, and this pretty much sums all of the film's strengths and weaknesses.

    • Hitchcock's basically drawn a deck entirely of aces here (I HAVE LITERALLY NEVER PLAYED POKER, please fill in "very good hand in the game of poker"); he's got Burks doing glorious VistaVision…

  • North by Northwest

    North by Northwest

    ★★★★★

    Ernest Lehman commentary

    See here.

  • North by Northwest

    North by Northwest

    ★★★★★

    • It's incredible that this starts with one of the great sequences in the 30s-screwball fast-talking vein and exactly three minutes later we've left that genre never to return. Just perfect.

    • Was this 2009 Blu-Ray the first archival home video released sourced from an 8k scan? At any rate, it's astoundingly good for a 2009 release.

  • Dial M for Murder

    Dial M for Murder

    ★★★½

    • Ray Milland is incredible here, and the astonishingly drawn-out (22 minutes on the dot!) sequence where he reveals both his villainy and his master plan in deeply impressive detail is magnificent. The rest of the film, to varying degrees, doesn't quite live up to that scene. The last half hour in particular is, unfortunately, the film's only stretch where Milland is not driving the plot and the proceedings suffer as a consequence.

    • I can't speak to the 3D…

  • Stagecoach

    Stagecoach

    ★★★★½

    • This really, really needs a new transfer.

  • The Battle of Midway

    The Battle of Midway

    I can never quite understand it when people go "Amazing footage, but it's so propagandistic! 3/5." It's like complaining that a watch commercial is too much of a watch commercial. It's a commercial for watches! That's why it exists in the first place!

  • La Belle Noiseuse

    La Belle Noiseuse

    ★★★★★

    Richard I. Suchenski commentary.

    - As dense as academic commentaries get - the literary and historical references came so fast that I had to pause, do some homework, and resume only when I felt I had a basic grasp of what Suchenski was referring to on enough occasions that this viewing swelled to well beyond six hours. This is a compliment, by the way.

    - Anja and I spent a non-trivial amount of time debating whether or not the interior of Frenhofer's studio was shot on a soundstage. I'm in the "probably a soundstage" camp.

  • The Power of the Dog

    The Power of the Dog

    ★★★★½

    • Yeah, okay, this is completely fascinating. It's been a minute since I've felt so morally implicated by an artwork. Melissa Tamminga's entry on this says all I'd want to say and says it better, so read that.

    • My sole on-brand befuddlement here is that, while Campion is every bit the masterful director of visuals that she usually is, I can't help but find myself just a little let down by the lighting here. I was clearly spoilt by Bright Star.

  • The Sting

    The Sting

    ★★★½

    - Ending a movie on a note that immediately renders all the character development and moments of anything resembling emotional resonance retroactively meaningless in the name of a goofy "joke's on you, nobody learned anything, that's all folks cause you got CONNED!" button is... great, actually! No complaints.

    - I would probably unreservedly love this if the camera direction and lighting weren't so tediously functional for so much of it.* On the other hand, the way that the film's faded-photograph…

  • A Room with a View

    A Room with a View

    ★★★★

    - This really came alive for me as soon as it relocated to England and, perhaps most importantly, introduced Daniel Day-Lewis. I get that he's the stiff here, but he is so far and away the most entertaining part of this that everyone around him gets more fun by proxy. Bonham-Carter is fine and Sands never transcends the character on the page, but Lewis turns what could easily have been a one-note caricature into a fascinating study of deep internal…

  • France

    France

    ★★★½

    Why isn't everyone talking about the car

  • The Driver

    The Driver

    ★★★★

    • I maintain that Adjani is the single weakest* element of Ishtar, so I was unprepared for how well-utilized she is here. Perfect use of English-language Adjani.

    • So this is Mann's favorite movie ever, right? Right?

    • This is so good.

    • Is it obvious that I'm very incoherent right now due to my Moderna side-effects? Good grief.

    *I say this with all due respect to Adjani, who is genuinely great in French.