Favorite films

  • Blazing Saddles
  • Y Tu Mamá También
  • The Children Are Watching Us
  • Waiting for Guffman

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  • Ball of Fire

    ★★★

  • The Package

    ★★★½

  • Monsieur Hulot's Holiday

    ★★★½

  • Barbary Coast

    ★★½

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  • All In: The Fight for Democracy

    All In: The Fight for Democracy

    Juneteenth is a day for celebration, reflection and resolve.

    It is a significant day in our history. According to the Smithsonian, "Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. As a result, in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later. Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army…

  • Hereditary

    Hereditary

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

    I had an unusual reaction to this movie. Annoyance.

    The filmmakers show enormous technical and creative skill. This is a well-crafted movie, with command of tone and story from the first frame to the last. No shot is wasted.

    But about that story... What is its message? In particular, how is this film describing or commenting on mental illness? Horror films often use mental illness as a thematic or character point. It’s a trope. In fact, it is so routine…

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  • Ball of Fire

    Ball of Fire

    Ball of Fire is an opposites-attract romantic comedy from the Golden Age of Hollywood, a meeting of Howard Hawks and Billy Wilder, meaning that I feel almost obligated to like it. It’s the sort of movie, though, that rests entirely on going with a ridiculous premise–and not just going with it but really giving way to it, fully entering the screwball fantasy world this movie takes place in. Eight men living together in a charming asexual community? Well, why not?…

  • The Package

    The Package

    It has been over fifteen years since Gene Hackman retired from film acting. He rarely talks to the press these days, but apparently he enjoys his retirement fishing, painting and writing books. In January he turned 92.

    I don’t know if Mr. Hackman wants to return to the screen, but maybe someone will offer him a role worthy of his talents. In 2020 Sophia Loren ended a long absence from films with a starring role, at age 86. (Fabulous, as…

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  • Vertigo

    Vertigo

    Vertigo gets a lot of labels like “masterpiece” and “one of the best movies ever,” so it’s not possible to see it now without feeling some pressure to fall in and agree with those assessments. When you watch this movie, you sidle up to every bit of praise it has ever received and all those Top 10 lists it is on.

    Are you going to question all that? Submit, submit.

    You will like it. Write suitable praise in your diary…

  • Cotton Comes to Harlem

    Cotton Comes to Harlem

    The movie opens on a silver Rolls Royce and a gold truck driving through the streets of Harlem. They belong to Reverend Deke O’Malley (Calvin Lockhart), who steps from the car to an adoring crowd and begins his pitch: “We are going home.”

    He means home to Africa, through the parcels of land he is selling there. Many people in the crowd turn over their meager dollars and coins to O’Malley, getting worthless certificates in return. Two stern men look…