Zach Ralston

Zach Ralston Pro

Great minds think alike. That's why mine does not.

Favorite films

  • In the Mood for Love
  • The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Naked

Recent activity

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  • Priscilla

    ★★★

  • The Taste of Things

    ★★★★

  • All of Us Strangers

    ★★★

  • Falcon Lake

    ★★★★

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  • Vanilla Sky

    Vanilla Sky

    ★★★★½

    Exists in a perfect dialectic with EYES WIDE SHUT -- the Kubrick text not only helps unpack this one, but this focuses some things about the Kubrick as well. There are even visual callbacks (Alicia Witt walking backwards seductively through LE is a straight up rip) as well as David's motto, which -- as he says twice at his birthday party in the first act -- is "living the dream." People keep telling him to wake up, but he has…

  • Brief Encounter

    Brief Encounter

    ★★★★½

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

    A flat-out masterpiece for the first third or so, when the impossible unrequited love takes on a quality that clearly inspired Wong Kar-wai to do IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (I'd be shocked if he hadn't seen this film), complete with a framing device that has Johnson narrating in flashback to her husband, but only in her thoughts -- things she can't actually voice to the man she's betrayed.

    When the affair starts to take on a more pedestrian shape…

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  • Priscilla

    Priscilla

    ★★★

    Nothing Coppola hasn't really done before in either SOMEWHERE or MARIE ANTOINETTE, but that doesn't mean it isn't agreeable to spend time in the company of her whispering compositions and silky-thin narratives. Spaeny (a controlled, soulful performance) is constantly framed in prison-like boxes, especially in the films's superior first half -- she's on a leash no matter where she is, and once under Elvis's spell, becomes a kept woman as soon as her parents let her out of their sight.…

  • The Taste of Things

    The Taste of Things

    ★★★★

    No mystery why this won Best Director at Cannes. Tran has a knack for using his camera to reveal information and key plot points, but in a subtle and elegant way -- like, just for one example (of a dozen), a pan left to reveal Pauline at the table next to Dodin, which says a million things without having to trudge through expository hand-holding.

    It's also a magnificent love story, full of respect and mutual adoration: the final dialogue exchange…

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  • Mission: Impossible

    Mission: Impossible

    ★★★★★

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

    It's all about the scene in the third act when Ethan and Jim reunite and have a drink together. Jim is trying to convince Ethan that Kittridge is the mole, not knowing Ethan already figured out it was Jim because of the Drake Hotel bible. So Ethan, having the upper hand, narrates a flashback where he pretends to realize how Kittridge did it, all for Jim's benefit -- meanwhile, DePalma's visuals tell a different story: the way Ethan is seeing…

  • Devs

    Devs

    ★½

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

    Even if this show didn't feature what is probably the single worst lead performance of any major prestige drama in the last 25 years (but it does: Sonoya Mizuno is deeply, all-encompassingly terrible in a way it's hard to fathom, episode after episode), it would still be a failure of ideas. ANNIHILATION is starting to feel more and more like an anomaly; its clever sci-fi concept had the courage to perform an existential autopsy of the human condition without pulling…