• Something Wild

    Something Wild

    ★★★★★

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

    In a deconstructed, boxed-up office, the now-former co-worker Larry studies, with remorse, what has become of Charles Driggs, whose right arm is caught in a sling, nose contorted, and disposition reading broken; he’s wishing his chum farewell. Having bore witness to the beginning of his decline back in Pennsylvania, Larry, swimming in the innocence of his safe, corporate life, asks Charles

    How do you figure a guy like Ray Sinclair?

    met only with pause and a brief stammer. It’s not…

  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    ★★★★½

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

    [Director’s Cut]

    Second viewing, last seen mere days before lockdown. Failed to properly engage with this then—many of Spielberg’s metaphors eluded my perception, as did the weight of Ronnie’s seemingly abrupt exit. Quite literally floored by Spielberg’s foregrounding of the Neary children in the most fraught moments of domestic turmoil. As it becomes clearer this is a story of America via a bored husband/father/cog rather than One Man’s Journey, the need to peel away extraneous forces becomes all the more…

  • The Holiday

    The Holiday

    ★★½

    Amanda feels like a character Nick Marshall had a brief interaction with in What Women Want, only here she blurts out what she’s thinking because there’s nobody to read her thoughts. #criticalinsight


    The next day: upping this a half star.

  • Boogie Nights

    Boogie Nights

    ★★★★

    Man, I had no idea this would be such an explicit homage of  Nashville! Knowing how doting an admirer of Altman he is, I should’ve been at least somewhat aware of the connection... but this is downright an ensemble film examining a specific moment through a non-judgmental view into the trajectories of starlets, has-beens and everyone in between. Ultimately, the tribulations of each character, prominent and peripheral, contribute to the film’s teeming world. (By contrast, Magnolia maintains the classic traits of an…

  • The Many Saints of Newark

    The Many Saints of Newark

    ★★½

    This eventually becomes Sopranos Muppet Babies.

  • The Purple Rose of Cairo

    The Purple Rose of Cairo

    ★★★★★

    Stone-cold masterpiece.

  • Gorillas in the Mist

    Gorillas in the Mist

    ★★★½

    Should be ~160 minutes. Works fine here but ultimately lacks a dimension to many of its turns. At 129 minutes, it’s flatly epic.

    Great line from Ebert: "...The delicacy with which director Michael Apted developed the relationships between woman and beast was deeply absorbing. There were moments when I felt a touch of awe. Those moments, which are genuine, make the movie worth seeing."

  • The Moderns

    The Moderns

    ★★★

    Admittedly, I need to see this one again.

  • Badlands

    Badlands

    ★★★★½

    Fairly obvious its inimitability derives simply from how tactical this gets. Like Mann with Thief, he’s showing his full hand here while already anticipating the next deal—and never coming across cocky about it. Which is to say, “Written, produced & directed by Terrence Malick.” Respect. Peerless film.

  • Brand New Cherry Flavor

    Brand New Cherry Flavor

    ★★★

    Judging by the film’s temporality — episodes picking up immediately where the preceding left off, one actually starting with “So now what?”; length of particular plot beats and how windy the narrative is; etc — I’m in the camp that this is cinema. For my taste, it’s a bit thematically self-indulgent, not to mention downright tacky at times. There’s little substantial atmosphere born entirely out of generically bizarre visual flair, which I pretty much pinned down right from the start;…

  • Something Wild

    Something Wild

    ★★★★★

    Had the great pleasure of reading Frye’s original draft this evening. Always straddles that tonal line (without ever really being amorphous). Thank goodness the finished film ends differently than how Frye initially envisioned. Final product is a work of sheer brilliance, a spectacular script augmented for the screen by one of the great American storytellers. The day will come when I age out of this one, yet I’ll forever adore its intoxicating, spiritual zeal. A movie I didn’t expect to…

  • The Apartment

    The Apartment

    ★★★★

    Apropos of nothing, He’s All That being the last movie I watched before this really hammers that niggling “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” thought away.