Favorite films

  • The Night of the Hunter
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Pee-wee's Big Adventure

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  • Shivers

    ★★½

  • Martyrs

    ★½

  • High Tension

    ★★½

  • The War Game

    ★★★

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  • The Birth of a Nation

    The Birth of a Nation

    Put a lot of research into our 10th episode of Unwatchables, where we tackle the most vilely racist “great film” ever to reinvent the medium. We dive deep into the historical context, including the film’s hideous ideology, its unprecedented success and technical innovations, and how figures like D.W. Griffith and Woodrow Wilson grappled with the controversy they didn’t see coming. In the end we try to figure out what The Birth of a Nation means in 2022, and more fundamentally:…

  • Funny Games

    Funny Games

    ★★★★½

    It’s Michael Haneke week on Unwatchables, featuring two films as artful as they are harrowing: 1997’s meta thriller Funny Games and the devastating 2012 Palme d’Or winner Amour. We grapple with the director’s penchant for truly unwatchable ordeals, his formidable filmmaking prowess, and exactly where he gets off scolding us for watching his own riveting horror film. Listen on Spotify, Anchor, or any podcast platform. (Or as always, opt for the extended video edition on YouTube!)

    (BEWARE SPOILERS IN VERY…

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  • Shivers

    Shivers

    ★★½

    David Cronenberg’s first “proper” feature is a slightly better-than-average horror cheapie that introduces some of the director’s pet themes without quite suggesting a legend in the making. As a career blueprint, Shivers is still something of a baby step towards going full auteur; for all the talk of parasites and humanity’s murderous sexual impulses, in practice this boils down to a zombie film by way of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It actually plays more like an early Romero film:…

  • The War Game

    The War Game

    ★★★

    Surprised that this didn’t turn out to be a faux documentary so much as an actual documentary with “re-enactments” (pre-enactments?) of nuclear fallout, with voiceover explicitly framing the most upsetting scenes as hypothetical. On one hand, I can only imagine how much the full Blair Witch treatment would amplify the visceral horror; on the other, the open acknowledgement that “yes, this is fake, but here’s exactly why you’re likely to live this“ has its own flavor of dread. Either way,…

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  • Primer

    Primer

    ★★★★½

    My main memory of Primer was the absolutely head-spinning mechanics of its time travel plot, and its complete disregard for viewer hand-holding that practically counts as avant-garde. But what struck me most forcefully this time it how it looks and sounds. This may be the most elegantly shot and edited micro-budget indie I’ve ever seen (possible exception: Carruth’s own Upstream Color); the opening series of shots alone are as sharp as a diamond, every corner of the frame used for…

  • Batman

    Batman

    ★★★½

    Batman films I enjoy this more than: Batman, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, The Dark Knight Rises, The Batman. As for where this ranks among Batman Returns, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight (plus Mask of the Phantasm, if you count that)… well, it’s close.

    If you’re not on board, I promise I’m not being a troll. I’m not immune to the charms of Dark Batman, though I’m also of the opinion that Batman & Robin is actually goofy fun and not…