Favorite films

  • Close-Up
  • Poetry
  • Little Women
  • Rango

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  • Flowers of Shanghai

    ★★★½

  • Cars 3

    ★★

  • Let There Be Light

    ★★★

  • Cars 2

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  • Little Women

    Little Women

    ★★★★★

    Little Women is my wife's film. Not just any version, Gerwig's version.

    My wife's "film reviews" normally consist of the eternally damning "It's ok" or "it's alright". We all know the type. The dreaded two word donkey that's supposed to carry your conversation through the rest of dinner, and if you're lucky, to the parking lot. Thank God we're married because I have no idea how we survived dating.

    But right out of the theater, she said something new. Something…

  • Poetry

    Poetry

    ★★★★½

    In Lee Chang-dong's Poetry, the act of confession mirrors the act of reading poetry. Aloud, to an audience.

    I remember those nights in university, seeing friends, often strangers, microphone in hand, professing their most heartfelt work. Most of them awful. Some confusing. And a rare few, life-changing.

    I've never written serious poetry, much less read them out. The discipline has no place for mediocrity. It is painful perfection, every word carved into a finite page of infinite possibilities. To show…

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  • Flowers of Shanghai

    Flowers of Shanghai

    ★★★½

    Flowers of Shanghai settles into an olive haze of opium. Through the smoke, the ornate silhouette of courtesan drama unfolds.

    Hou Hsiao Hsien plants us in the thick of 19th century Shanghai, amidst the gossip of brothels-- or flower houses, as they are called. A bouquet of stories stem from their banquet halls.

    We are a ghost among the guests, eavesdropping on conversations between the aristocracy and their paramours. Their relationships are transactional, but Hou paints them with the poetic…

  • Cars 3

    Cars 3

    ★★

    Cars 3 is the best film in the franchise.

    Which is like saying you're the best swimmer in the kiddie pool. Everyone's a gold medalist if you set the bar low enough. But if Cars 3 gets anything right, it’s how it completely pretends that Cars 2 (2011) doesn’t exist. Which is fine by me, all things considered.

    Cars 3 is an unnecessary goodbye to the Lightning McQueen trilogy (which is really just two movies since Mater wastes a third…

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  • Hiroshima Mon Amour

    Hiroshima Mon Amour

    ★★★★½

    A eulogy for a city but also an era. The bombing of Hiroshima signaled the end of WW2, but with it began a deeper existential struggle with our past, present, and future.

    The arrival of Alain Renais' metaphysical drama marked its own sea change in cinema. On the horizon, the French New Wave, bringing with it the shattering of old conventions. But among the cinematic renegades of the late 1950s, none of them, I'd boldly argue, would break them quite…

  • Where Is My Friend's House?

    Where Is My Friend's House?

    ★★★★½

    I remember a conversation I had with my six-year-old nephew. He tells me about his best friend whom he hasn’t seen since the start of the pandemic. That was nearly two years ago. Almost a third of his life.

    “I miss Gus,” he tells me.

    I am thrown back into my own memories, my own friends. My time with them the most precious moments of my childhood afternoons. And all it took were two friends, a notebook, and Abbas Kiarostami.…