Favorite films

  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
  • Singin' in the Rain
  • GoodFellas

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  • Where the Sidewalk Ends

    ★★★★

  • A Quiet Place Part II

    ★★½

  • Property Is No Longer a Theft

    ★★★½

  • Lore

    ★★½

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  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

    ★★★★

    I’ve been putting this off forever, despite good word-of-mouth (and good word-of-Boxd) from people I respect. I was worried it was going to be a slow-burning, prestige “anti-Western,” or an elegiac exercise in faux-Malick landscape photography, likely accompanied by downtempo acoustic guitar. To anyone who shares the same apprehensions, let me assure you they are misplaced — this is a genuinely mature and novelistic effort. It’s not hard-driving or action-oriented, yet it’s suffused with emotional suspense and the looming threat…

  • Magnet of Doom

    Magnet of Doom

    ★★★½

    Those who cite the inspirations for American Odyssey movies don’t, as far as I know, typically include Magnet of Doom among other criminals-on-the-lam standbys like Gun Crazy, Breathless, They Live By Night (etc.). If I haven’t just missed the memo, I think this movie’s less-heralded position among Jean-Pierre Melville’s filmography might be because it doesn’t feel like a Melville film. Or, rather, it feels the most French New Wavey of his films, a loose-feeling tour of lesser-known America, absent the…

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  • Where the Sidewalk Ends

    Where the Sidewalk Ends

    ★★★★

    “Any more complaints against you for cruelty or roughouse and you’ll be back in uniform pounding a beat.” Detective Sargent Mark Dixon (Dana Andrews) gets this dressing-down from his boss at the outset of Where the Sidewalk Ends, and since it’s 1950, it barely resembles the cop-on-the-edge trope we’re so familiar with in the post-Dirty Harry era. Dixon’s hair-trigger temper and taste for slapping witnesses around isn’t portrayed as endearingly sassy. Cops are supposed to behave themselves, and, — charmingly…

  • A Quiet Place Part II

    A Quiet Place Part II

    ★★½

    If you told me this was an outtakes reel from A Quiet Place, I might question why director John Kransinski  shot so many extra scenes, but not why he decided to leave them out of the final cut. I suppose it’s fine for fans who just can’t get enough of the Quiet Place universe, but there are only so many times I can watch a character leave their hiding place, bump noisily into something, and — uh oh! — turn…

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  • The Amusement Park

    The Amusement Park

    ★★★½

    So this is what happens when you ask George Romero to make a public service industrial about ageism: an allegorical mood piece, a nightmarish critique of capitalism’s inhumanity, an art-house escapee from The Twilight Zone. (Since it’s a PSA we get a prologue and epilogue explaining how the film addresses the plight of elderly Americans; it’s easy to imagine Rod Serling offering more florid, less explicit bookends for our consideration.) 

    This is the pre-Dawn Romero era of Season of The Witch

  • Fear Street: 1994

    Fear Street: 1994

    ★★½

    Handing me a nostalgia bingo card and telling me to go enjoy myself is not the surest way to my heart. I’m all for adopting the styles of previous movie eras and making references if they’re well-integrated and delivered with offhand confidence (see: House of the Devil) but this moving-picture product never shows that kind nerve or trust in its audience. (Case in point: no one in the history of high school ever received a mix tape and reacted with…