Favorite films

  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Ran
  • Secrets & Lies

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  • Gods and Monsters

    ★★★

  • Manhattan Murder Mystery

    ★★★★

  • The Thin Red Line

    ★★★★½

  • The Duke

    ★★★½

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  • No Country for Old Men

    No Country for Old Men

    ★★★★★

    A determined but hapless man who thinks he’s more competent than he is gets mixed up in a crime, and everything proceeds to go horribly wrong. That's a plot hook that the Coen brothers have riffed on several times throughout their shared career, most visibly so in Blood Simple, Fargo, and this, their first film conventionally adapted from a literary source.* What distinguishes No Country for Old Men’s take on this plot hook from its predecessors’, and indeed from the…

  • The Rules of the Game

    The Rules of the Game

    ★★★★★

    When you’re starting out on your cinephile journey, Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game* is one of the first experiences you’re likely to have where a film’s lofty reputation confuses you. I say this as someone who had such an experience. I first saw the film at age 16, when my knowledge of world cinema and filmmaking in general was still developing - to give you some sense of where it was, I was confident enough to say that…

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  • Gods and Monsters

    Gods and Monsters

    ★★★

    Watching this nearly 25 years after it came out, it still feels unusual for a "biopic" to commit so totally to fabricating details about its subject's life; disappointingly, that's pretty much all this script has going for it. Fictional A-plot aside, it struggles to break away from the Freudian "this person was plagued from his youth by demons" model of biographical screenwriting, on top of which it veers towards leaning on James Whale the Public Figure as a crutch, concocting…

  • Manhattan Murder Mystery

    Manhattan Murder Mystery

    ★★★★

    Insubstantial and convivial, with some spot-on genre references.

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  • Allen v. Farrow

    Allen v. Farrow

    Why don't we all just forget about when Mia Farrow's legal team, which included one Alan Dershowitz, offered to make the molestation charges go away if Woody Allen would agree to a $5 million settlement? I don't know about you, but to me that doesn't exactly look like something a woman who feared "for years" that her boyfriend was a paedophile would do (see also: allowing him to co-adopt their children in 1991).

    Oh, and another thing: if it doesn't…

  • Singin' in the Rain

    Singin' in the Rain

    ★★★★★

    I've been feeling pretty crappy lately, and I've decided that, from now on, I'll watch a favourite of mine whenever I'm like this to remind me that all is not lost. I'm going to have a hard time topping tonight's selection, Singin' in the Rain - a film I more or less grew up with, which is something I'll be eternally grateful for. I can't imagine my life without this film, one of the happiest there is. Nor do I…