Favorite films

  • Real Life
  • Slacker
  • Friends and Strangers
  • The Girl and the Spider

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  • Whitmer Thomas: The Golden One

  • Voices of the Morning

    ★★★½

  • The Gilded Lily

    ★★★½

  • Algie, the Miner

    ★★★

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  • Shared Resources

    Shared Resources

    ★★★★

    With their revelatory debut documentary Shared Resources, Jordan Lord inspired me to reconsider the very ways in which we watch movies; and I appreciate them taking the time to speak about the conceptual process behind the film—a multifaceted personal and philosophical work about family bonds, debt, shared experience, and accessibility. Microbudget filmmaking at its best and most thought-provoking, really.
    If you're in the Madison area on April 9, you can watch its one-time screening (fully captioned with descriptive audio) at…

  • Retrograde

    Retrograde

    ★★★★★

    Earlier this month, I talked with the affable Adrian Murray about his film that has become so dear to me after I caught it at this year's virtual Slamdance. (Thanks to several Letterboxd users, btw.) It's such a screenwriting masterclass. And now the general public in the Madison area has the chance to watch Retrograde in a theater on April 8 as part of the Wisconsin Film Festival. Please don't miss it.

    In our phone interview that I transcribed for…

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  • Clytaemnestra

    Clytaemnestra

    ★★★

    Undoubtedly for Matías Piñeiro stans. However, Clytaemnestra isn't quite as loose and visually interesting as Piñeiro's work in the last decade, and also succumbs to some tritely written character-actor dynamics. And those hard cuts aren't helping my immersion either.

    Part of me wishes Ougie Pak's film wasn't just about the art of mirroring the Greek Agamemnon play in adversarial scenes, but was more about presenting them from a more avant-garde angle instead. If the film is only going to fragmentedly…

  • The Comfort of Strangers

    The Comfort of Strangers

    ★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    An empathic recommendation from my friend Jason, but I can't say this surreal Schrader take on Hitchcock really adds up to anything. In fact, its design seems anticlimactic.

    There's a moment when Colin (Rupert Everett, lookin' a lot like Luke Perry) and Mary (Natasha Richardson, lookin' a lot like Jane Krakowski) both awaken by the canal, and the film threatens to thematically veer into the fallacy of memory and what's lost to time like Last Year At Marienbad (in Venice),…

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  • A Dim Valley

    A Dim Valley

    ★★★★

    Colvin's most ambitious project yet with its opening credits enfolded in a botanical-wildlife field guide slideshow. A lovingly illustrated entry into a film that feels like a whimsically ethereal and modern update of a free love film that the late 1960s produced— now dripping in alluringly deadpan dialogue that can skirt between revelatory drama and teasing comedy. A sneaky amount of screen time is actually devoted to song, whether diegetic or not (or somewhere hazily in-between), which heightens A Dim…

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★½

    Star Wars: A New Cynicism

    The Force Awakens is specifically designed not to surprise any audience. There isn't one risk-taking scene that emphasizes narrative or character over technology and nostalgia. The Blockbuster template that the first Star Wars crafted (still the best one) is exploited here to the utmost degree, feeding upon notions of a universe of 1977 movies perpetuating endlessly... but, of course, with better CGI (or, in the case of Snoke, definitely worse). So, you know, maybe in…