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  • To the Wonder

    To the Wonder

    ★★★★★

    In a special feature on the blu-ray, Kurylenko says that Malick had her read The Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot, and Anna Karenina to prepare for the role. Paying attention to possible connections with the Russian classics (which I read two decades ago and am slightly foggy on) was illuminating, though I’m far from having a clear sense of what the connection is. I noticed this time how pronounced the throughline is of her relationship with Affleck’s character being considered adultery by…

  • Blackhat

    Blackhat

    ★★★★★

    I’m trying to imagine the phenomenology of disliking Blackhat and I find it impossible.

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  • The Keep

    The Keep

    ★★★★

    A visionary hot mess. I hadn’t seen this in a long time and it was absolutely fascinating to watch in light of his digital work. From the clean modernist lines of the set to the way conversations are sometimes framed with both subjects on the same side of the image to the stunning boating sequence that couldn’t possibly be a more obvious antecedent to Miami Vice, this is the Ur Mann film in a way I never realized. 

    Yes, it’s totally incoherent, but it’s incoherent in the manner of an Italian grindhouse movie. The incoherence is arguably a merit. Conquest meets Der Golem. 

  • Here Comes Mr. Jordan

    Here Comes Mr. Jordan

    ★★★½

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

    I was totally with it until the nonsensical theory of personal identity we get in the last 10 minutes.

    On this outcome, joe survives to a lesser degree than he does if he had just died originally. He then would have joined his parents and continued a chain of psychological continuity from his mortal life. What ends up happening is a diminished version of what Parfit calls “fusion.” The person who survives at the end has some links of psychological…

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  • Lady in the Water

    Lady in the Water

    ★★★★★

    Even better than I remembered it. The nature of a bedtime story is to make it up as you go along, piecing together an ad hoc mythology that generates continuous conflict while enabling the desired conclusion. Shyamalan builds this methodology into the structure of the film, as an antidote to the postmodern death of originality bemoaned by Bob Balaban’s grumpy critic. The meta-fictional level and the first order narrative work seemlessly together. The result is by turns hilarious, moving, suspenseful, and exhilarating in its unbridled creativity. Giamatti is incredible, as is the entire supporting cast.

  • Death in Venice

    Death in Venice

    ★★★★★

    This was the obvious choice to celebrate my second Pfizer jab today.