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  • Secrets & Lies

    Secrets & Lies

    ★★★★★

    To-Watch List (2018/2019 Edition) Film 50 of 115

    Mike Leigh’s films, like Topsy-Turvy or Another Year, don’t feel bound by typical film structure—rather, he finds the most profound moments in everyday routines or furtive silences, and the most important revelations are learned through organic conversation. My favorite aspect of Leigh’s work, though, is that the characters’ shocked reactions are all-too-real because the actors playing them are learning this information for the first time. Leigh’s films are born of a months-long…

  • Häxan

    Häxan

    ★★★½

    To-Watch List (2018/2019 Edition) Film 49 of 115

    Like many films in this project, I first learned about Häxan by its influence on many of my favorite horror films—namely The Witch and The Blair Witch Project, whose production company took its name from the film. It was also one of the few directly Horror films in the Criterion Collection, prized for its rigorously detailed examination of old-world folklore and the torturous reactions to such superstition. While I knew Häxan was…

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  • Diary of a Country Priest

    Diary of a Country Priest

    ★★★★★

    To-Watch List (2018 Edition) Film 29 of 115

    I don’t like going to Church. Sure, as a kid it was mainly due to the inconvenience of it, having to remove myself for an hour out of a precious weekend to go to Mass. Later, I felt like I didn’t believe in God—at least I didn’t want to believe in the omnipotent Father figure for whom “mercurial” was an understatement. Later, though, my beliefs changed into something less reactionary. It’s not…

  • Phantom Thread

    Phantom Thread

    ★★★★★

    Sickeningly funny. Gorgeous to look at. Standout shots: Reynolds and Alma in the car at night. The New Year’s Party. Reynolds vs. the Alps. Alma staring at the last mushroom. Jonny Greenwood’s score is a luscious tidal wave of strings. But I never once expected I’d see a Daniel Day-Lewis/Paul Thomas Anderson collaboration where DDL (rightly) isn’t and shouldn’t the sole focus of the film. This is Vicky Krieps’ film through and through and I bow at her altar.