Favorite films

  • Andrei Rublev
  • Under the Sun of Satan
  • A Tale of Winter
  • Three Times

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  • Mercury Rising

    ★★

  • Licorice Pizza

    ★★★★

  • Augustine of Hippo

    ★★★★

  • Memoria

    ★★★

Recent reviews

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  • Cleopatra

    Cleopatra

    ★★½

    Settled into this expecting to find its reputation for being a bloated, bland end-of-Classical-Hollywood disaster to be overstated or even false, so imagine my surprise when Part 1 (Caesar and Cleopatra) turns out to be... the most inert, flat, decarbonated epic of its kind? Even with Harrison doing a perfectly fine Caesar.

    And then imagine my further surprise when Part 2 (Antony and Cleopatra) comes to life - Taylor is actually awake, the camera moves, and one can detect a…

  • Topsy-Turvy

    Topsy-Turvy

    ★★★★★

    Wrote on this as part of a roundup of favourite film viewings of 2021:

    "The most delightful film I saw last year was Mike Leigh’s Topsy-Turvy (1999), an achingly-researched dramatization of the production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado in Victorian London. Now, I’m already an easy mark for procedural works about the making of art, but even among the short list of great films in this realm, Leigh’s shines brightly. This is because while the film ably balances its dramatic,…

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  • Knight of Cups

    Knight of Cups

    ★★★★½

    So simple, and yet it almost totally eluded me on last viewing: Malick's main musical motifs here - Grieg's "Ases dod," Kilar's "Exodus," Part's "Silouan's Song" and Vaughn Williams' "Fantasia" - all naturally build to ecstatic resolutions through repetition and release; undulating waves of emotion that emerge not so much as a climaxes but as walls of sheer catharsis. Encountering each of these pieces in the context of a late Malick work invites eager anticipation - who couldn't after the…

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    ★★½

    Since Looper and Breaking Bad, I have struggled to put my finger on a deep sense of dissatisfaction inherent within Johnson's compositions involving actors, which are simultaneously brisk, clean, and efficient, and yet bereft of texture, detail, or a lively perspective. They are actually pretty blandly imagined; organized according to the most basic and brutish principals of dividing space between a face and whatever else happens to be around or behind it.

    In a similar sense, Johnson's facility with said…