Favorite films

  • A Scene at the Sea
  • Labyrinth of Dreams
  • Love & Pop
  • Raigyo

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  • Messiah of Evil

    ★★★★

  • The Velvet Vampire

    ★★★½

  • Dressed to Kill

    ★★★★½

  • Wife of a Spy

    ★★★½

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  • Messiah of Evil

    Messiah of Evil

    ★★★★

    "We’re never going to leave this place, are we?"

    A dream, a haze, a cursed memory, and a traumatic recollection. Oneiric, Vietnam-era “return of the repressed” terror that invokes the dime-store surrealism of Herk Harvey and the modernist frames of Antonioni as it defamiliarizes the banalest settings, conjuring this all-pervasive dread and paranoia out of thin air, all set against the blackest of nights and, briefly, the most boringly overcast of days, spurred by a discreet but aching nihilism. The…

  • The Velvet Vampire

    The Velvet Vampire

    ★★★½

    If the vampire tends to function as a stand-in for some power structure or something repressed within the culture at large, then Rothman seemingly positions Diane as a signifier for both sexual liberation and queerness; if the character's purported villainy (she still must be vanquished by movie's end) suggests a contradiction of the film's progressive/feminist aims, then it’s partly refuted by the fact that she’s likely the most interesting and empathetic character in the entire film — certainly more so…

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  • Hillbilly Elegy

    Hillbilly Elegy

    Maybe the single worst major American film I’ve seen in years. I mean, I don’t even know what Howard makes of these characters or what it’s all supposed to mean. I’d hoped this would at least illuminate something about the denizens of Ohio and Kentucky (the former is my home state), preferably sidestepping Jerry Springer histrionics and the tired stereotypes mostly perpetuated in more affluent parts of America, but there’s almost no perspective in this decisively apolitical quagmire. Just a…

  • The Shining

    The Shining

    ★★★★★

    A puzzle box for the ages: seemingly deceptively simple on the surface — it is, after all, the story of a man who succumbs to madness, eventually running amok while spending a winter with his family in isolation — but there’s more than one method of opening The Shining's myriad doors.

    What I’ll say is there are few films, horror or otherwise, which effectively portray white male hysteria and the terrifying upshots of such behavior. The movie refuses to explicate…