Favorite films

  • Nomadland
  • Amazing Grace
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • The Florida Project

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  • The Green Knight

    ★★★★

  • Val

    ★★★

  • Taxi Driver

    ★★★★★

  • Manhattan

    ★★½

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  • Aguirre, the Wrath of God

    Aguirre, the Wrath of God

    ★★★★

    What she meant in My Fair Lady when she said...

    "The brains of Spain stray mainly into pain."

    Easy to imagine Francis Ford Coppola leaning forward in his seat and taking notes.

    Your context shapes the movie that you see.

    I see an entirely unqualified band of fools...

    — declaring themselves as a government;

    — immediately investing in hierarchies and inequalities that end up hurting everybody;

    — leading their community into harm's way;

    — preaching a Gospel they…

  • A Quiet Place Part II

    A Quiet Place Part II

    ★★★

    The presence of Cillian Murphy makes it hard to resist calling this 474 Days Later, as we've seen him navigate similar genre territory in one of the greatest zombie films ever made.

    And while elements of 28 Days Later are obvious here — particularly in the attention to what the apocalypse has "turned other people into" — this is mostly just a War of the Worlds and Aliens mash-up, and the most obviously Spielbergian exercise since Super 8. As alien/zombie-apocalypse movie…

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  • The Green Knight

    The Green Knight

    ★★★★

    [AMC Alderwood 16 matinee, with Anne!]

    My impressions and feelings about this one are likely to change as I read, reflect, and see it again, which I will sometime in the next week. It's refreshingly complicated. Here are some first impressions:

    1.
    I've seen two films in less than a week that reference Val Kilmer's Madmartigan from Willow.

    2.
    Barry Keoghan is one of the most interesting actors in movies today. He was the life of the party that was…

  • Val

    Val

    ★★★

    [Crest Cinemas Center before the August release on Prime Video.]

    Kilmer has been one of my favorite screen actors since it all began with Top Secret!, which is still on my list of five favorite film comedies almost 40 years later.

    I've always found him more interesting than so many of his peers — his willingness to commit so completely to Top Secret!'s hilarity undercut the sense of vanity that emanated from Cruise and so many of his peers in other…

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  • Gosford Park

    Gosford Park

    ★★★★★

    16 THINGS ABOUT GOSFORD PARK

    1. Still my favorite Altman film.
    2. Still head and shoulders above the entirety of Downton Abbey.
    3. Still the most virtuosic choreography of a large ensemble cast I've ever seen.
    4. I miss Clive Owen.
    5. That scene with Tom Hollander eating jam in the cellar. That scene.
    6. I believe that when he goes home from work, Richard E. Grant dresses and behaves just like this.
    7. All of the moments with Claudie…

  • The Innocents

    The Innocents

    ★★★★

    Name one movie that is

    a) directed by a woman,
    b) filmed by a woman,
    c) about women, and
    d) deeply concerned with matters of faith.

    I can think of many films directed by men, and focusing on men, that rigorously wrestle with questions about God and the problem of evil. But The Innocents is a remarkably rare event.

    Here's my full review.