Favorite films

  • Taking Off
  • Manji
  • Madeline's Madeline
  • Getting Straight

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  • From the Terrace

    ★½

  • The Stripper

    ★★½

  • No Time to Die

    ★★★★

  • Getting Straight

    ★★★★½

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  • Drifting Clouds

    Drifting Clouds

    ★★★★½

    Drifting Clouds feels like a very conscious return to form for Kaurismäki. After his goofy surprise international hit Leningrad Cowboys Go America and the more austere, heavy-hitting The Match Factory Girl, it seems like he didn't quite know which direction to head. But after a few fine but lesser films in the early 90s, he decided, like the characters in this film, that when all else fails, it's best to stick to what you're good at. So he went back…

  • The Man Without a Past

    The Man Without a Past

    ★★★★★

    With Kaurismäki it’s not so much rich vs. poor; it’s people who can exercise power over others vs. the utterly disenfranchised. It’s not the wealthy, per se, who are bad; it’s anybody whose position of authority and selfish interests allow them to callously destroy other people’s lives. The list of Kaurismaki’s four favorite scapegoats for all of society’s ills is as follows: 1) Banks, 2) Government Institutions, 3) Bosses, 4) Street Thugs. Sakari Kuosmanen (who I’ve only recently started to…

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  • Never Too Young to Die

    Never Too Young to Die

    ★★★★½

    My Dirty Dozen-type special commando unit, and the order in which I'd recruit them:
    1. Cliff
    2. Danja Deering
    3. Pyramid
    4. Velvet Von Ragnar
    5. Bobby Sixkiller
    6. Minkie
    7. Turdy Reveler #3
    8. Freddy Krueger
    9. Burping Bike Thief
    10. Carruthers
    11. Lance Stargrove
    12. Drew Stargrove

  • Pressure Point

    Pressure Point

    ★★★★½

    Not exaggerating when I say that the most incisive analysis of what's happening in America today is a film that was made 59 years ago. Just when you think your guts have been churned to the maximum by how little things have changed in the intervening years, here come another dozen revelations about how Trump and his supporters have always and will always exist.

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  • The Strange One

    The Strange One

    ★★★★½

    Playing out like an adaptation of the most sadistic play Tennessee Williams never wrote, THE STRANGE ONE is almost completely incoherent dramatically if you don't foreground the homosexual subtext. And, like most Williams adaptations, even when you decrypt most of the gay coding in the film, you still find some of the events that transpire a bit mystifying, like the depths of depravity are so unfathomable that you can't possibly comprehend what unwholesome passions lurk behind each character's actions. My…

  • The Executioner

    The Executioner

    ★★★★★

    Thousands of movies out there make it seem like killing a person is a pretty easy thing to do. Depending on the type of movie it is, there may or may not be a significant amount of time devoted to feelings of guilt after the fact, but the difficulty of actually pulling of the trigger is rarely explored. This movie is masterful on a number of levels, but Berlanga's greatest achievement here is using comedy to lull us into a…