Favorite films

  • Heat
  • My Neighbor Totoro
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Apocalypse Now

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  • The Rainmaker

    ★★½

  • The Human Surge

    ★★★½

  • Elf

    ★★★

  • The Power of the Dog

    ★★★★

Recent reviews

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  • The Rainmaker

    The Rainmaker

    ★★½

    Coppola's interest in this material is obvious in its idealistic fight for justice among the money hungry amoral sharks. As a legal drama, this is pretty consistently good. The awkwardness of the material for me comes into play when the central romantic relationship is used to deepen the protagonist's larger sense of idealism. Not only does he fight the insurance companies and refuse to give into shady legal practices, he also will literally get into fistfights to protect a battered…

  • The Power of the Dog

    The Power of the Dog

    ★★★★

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

    One mark of a great film is the way that it can humanize a hateful figure without ever excusing his abuses. This movingly traces a trajectory of homophobia fueling the adoption of a performative hyper-masculinity that inevitably harms women. Phil is initially defined primarily by his callousness and macho posturing - one of his first scenes sees him literally burning a delicately handmade paper flower before publicly roasting the sensitive boy who made it. But the film gradually develops each…

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  • The Crowd

    The Crowd

    ★★★★

    This isn't always a particularly subtle movie, but the way that in ingrains a critique of capitalist ideology within a relationship drama is uniquely devastating. The repeat appearance of an advertisement clown is a good indicator of the film's sense of unsubtle but potent irony. The first time we see this figure is on the central couple's first date as they ride on a streetcar above the masses and laugh at the poor man below who they see as clearly…

  • Bad Education

    Bad Education

    ★★★½

    After his equally morally probing debut Thoroughbreds, Finley is able to find tragedy in both a lapse in integrity as well as the knowing complicity surrounding it. The film details the many reasons why the people surrounding the superintendents failed to report their crimes: a misguided trust in their years of experience and friendship, a concern for health of the organization and the community it serves, and a selfish concern for their own wellbeing. This film's greatest accomplishment is that…