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  • The Crimson Kimono

    The Crimson Kimono

    ★★★★

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

    Of the Samuel Fuller movies I've seen so far, this is the one - with its portraiture opening and recurrent talk of painting and music, its non-exoticizing interest in Japanese ceremonial style, its Casablanca ending with Anna Lee as an alcoholic muralist standing in for Claude Rains - that rings truest to Jonathan Rosenbaum's description of Fuller as an unexpected aesthete. I love the little poetic passages, like the child all dressed up for a parade who hands James Shigeta…

  • Ace in the Hole

    Ace in the Hole

    ★★★★★

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

    My favorite film, and my favorite to watch with other people, which I am currently writing about in hopes of dragging myself out of a bad lull and keeping my mind off other things; so don't think of this as a definitive review. What is a single life worth? More than your pride, more than your Pulitzer, more than the old job you were so good at back in the only place on this Earth that you ever liked and…

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  • Bigger Than Life

    Bigger Than Life

    ★★★★½

    The VIRGIN David Lean: ok so we've got a 4-hour WWI drama set in the Arabian desert, I think 2.20:1 is wide enough to convey the epic scope we're going for

    The BETA Christopher Nolan: 2.39:1 will give my mind-bending sci-fi thriller that expansive quality it really requires

    The CHAD Nicholas Ray: clearly 2.55:1 is the ideal aspect ratio for a 90-minute domestic drama set entirely in the American suburbs

  • Chinatown

    Chinatown

    ★★★★★

    Much more than a rehash of old tropes, largely because of how Evelyn Mulwray's presence (both in the way she is written and in Faye Dunaway's incredibly meaningful performance) shifts everything else about the story. But even its familiarity adds to the overall effect of a beautiful, scary dream, the kind where sorrow and disturbance lingers hours after waking.