Favorite films

  • The Social Network
  • Sweet Smell of Success
  • Magnolia
  • The Act of Killing

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  • All That Jazz

    ★★★★★

  • Postcards from the Edge

    ★★★★

  • An American in Paris

    ★★½

  • F for Fake

    ★★★★★

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  • Hairspray

    Hairspray

    ★★★★★

    It's all about "the New Girl in Town", where the racial and sexual politics underlying music/dance genres are exposed by their contrast. Or the joke right after when Michelle Pfiefer complains to Queen Latifah that they used this same song, and she responds "they wrote it". Or back at the beginning how the ticking clock turns into the beat for "Nicest Kids in Town". Or in addition to being plain catchy and smartly written bangers, the best of the songs…

  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

    The Trial of the Chicago 7

    ★★★½

    I watch Sorkin I think the same way others watch schlocky exploitation films or silly rom-coms. As in I think you have to take them on their own terms, quirky banter and sanctimonious centrism and all. Sure this ultimately isn't as radical as it thinks it is, and manipulates certain things to focus on what Sorkin is interested in (although I'm not sure anybody needs Sorkin to give his opinion on the Blank Panthers - "take off your very scary…

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  • All That Jazz

    All That Jazz

    ★★★★★

    "You know what death with dignity is? You don't drool."

    The most fabulous, spectacular act of depressing self-flagellation put on screen.

  • Postcards from the Edge

    Postcards from the Edge

    ★★★★

    A potentially standardised showbiz nepo baby melodrama is elevated by authentic portrayals of how work/people you love can also harm you and the great complex chemistry of MacLaine/Streep (with the added meta-layer beyond Fischer's involvement of one movie-star handing off onto the next generation); Suzanne simultaneously smiling and grimacing as Doris upstages her (unwanted) homecoming celebration speaks volumes. Such mother-daughter relationships are always hard, but Suzanne's comes with the added wrinkles of high expectations and a running distrust that her…

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  • A Woman Under the Influence

    A Woman Under the Influence

    ★★★★

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

    "Mabel's a delicate, sensitive woman", a co-worker says to Nick. "Mabel's not crazy", he barks back, an aggressive defence that also rings as self-assurance. Mabel is expected to be maternal and accommodating but also to keep her emotions in check, and it feels like the weight of these conflicting gender roles is what sends her into exponential hysterics, rambling out of control from the expectant gaze of others (even if her 'illness' is deliberately vague). Gena Rowland's performance is highly…

  • Minari

    Minari

    ★★★★

    Planting roots in foreign soil. A fully realised and gently observed insight of assimilation, of Jacob Yi claiming that "American Dream" of owning and controlling his own piece of land. Interesting to see how others predominantly describe this as "tender" or "heartfelt" (which it is), when I found it pretty tough and heartbreaking, showing the frustrations and disappointments of starting new, the breakdown of business, marriages and even bodies. But I suppose that's because the writing and actors make these…