Favorite films

  • Ikiru
  • True Stories
  • Rocks in My Pockets
  • My Winnipeg

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  • The Grandmaster

    ★★½

  • Starman

    ★★★★½

  • Body Double

    ★★★½

  • In the Mood for Love

    ★★★★½

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  • The Piano

    The Piano

    ★★★★★

    This movie is not a romance. It has some of the superficial overtones of a romance, but the love story here is just a part of the plot; it does not inspire any empathetic engagement or vicarious lust. The feel of the love story is best captured by that shot of George's dirty fingernail slowly creeping toward the pale flesh visible through a hole in Ada's leggings. Maybe that slowly stalking finger is sexy for George, but for us, it's…

  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    ★★★★★

    I was curious going into this how accurate and respectful the depiction of mental illness would be. (Let me preface this by saying that my academic research is on clinical delusions, and I watched and discussed the movie with a psychologist who has performed assessments and conducted therapy sessions in hospitals like the one in the film.)

    One of the things that surprised me is that unlike other movies in similar settings, there was no representation of overt psychosis or…

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  • The Grandmaster

    The Grandmaster

    ★★½

    Wong Kar-Wai has directed a martial arts movie before in Ashes of Time, but that was a fanciful wuxia, filmed before he had fully determined his brand of filmmaking. By The Grandmaster, the style and character of a WKW picture had been established. The movie is a marriage of a biographical kung fu epic and a classically sumptuous WKW romance. It's a frustrating and challenging marriage.

    As one could predict, the fight scenes in The Grandmaster are gorgeous, oozing with…

  • Starman

    Starman

    ★★★★½

    In how many movies do you watch the credits all the way through just because cutting off the score before it's done feels unacceptable? What a powerful ending. What a lovely transformation of grief and loss. Even some of the reviews on this site are making me choke up a bit.

    I put on this movie in order to watch along with the Blank Check podcast's tromp through John Carpenter's filmography. I expected it to be a lesser Carpenter. I…

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  • Body Double

    Body Double

    ★★★½

    This movie. Man.

    Gobsmackingly cool architecture. De Palma has chosen some great buildings to spotlight, but he also gets the viewer to appreciate architectural affordances that we wouldn't normally see by letting us experience them through the eyes of a pervert, checking them all for peeping sightlines, cut-off routes for stalking, etc. It's a whole new world of unsavory aesthetic perception.

  • Thief

    Thief

    ★★★★★

    The plot of Thief doesn't deviate much from the archetype of the One Last Job movie. It's straight-down-the-line, but that's not to say that it's by-the-book: it's as auteurish and stylized as all get-out. The archetype demands individualism, and here, the look and the score and the vibe and the dialogue all overflow with personality and panache. As far as One Last Job movies go, this is as close to perfect as you can get.

    Michael Mann specializes in portraying…