The Mark of Zorro – 1940 Mamoulian

Tyrone power very strong as both the arrogant cad and the sword-fighting heroHe’s not on Fairbanks level as an acrobat but it’s a different film, silent vs. talkie—the strengths here are mainly the climactic duel

Vice – 2018 McKay

It's flawed, and didactic (something I use as description more than a criticism) but it’s definitely of the same unique and ambitious style of the big short -- a film I greatly admire. Vice is in the archives for me. 

The Trial – 1962 Welles

One of the major revelations- and best films- I’ve seen in 2018. I have seen it before, twice I think, but always on really inferior copies (this is not much better), over a decade ago,

Il Grido – 1957 Antonioni

Bare trees, constant fog, barren industrial set pieces (that finale—astonishing)- it’s another glorious triumph for Antonioni Antonioni’s only film subject set in the blue-collar working class (which in a way touches neo-realism as close as

The Lady Without Camelias – 1953 Antonioni

An impressive achievement from AntonioniA long take opening lingering on Lucia Bosé through the credits along the streetRemarkable early scene that has the trademarks of Antonioni’s trademark mise-en-scene—a kiss on a bed, camera glides in

Paddington 2 – 2017 Paul King

An enjoyable abundance of visual treats and I don’t go on this long for unarchiveable filmsI love the pop-up book sequence- very imaginative- it’s like a montage in one simulated long-take The main auteur influence

Roma – 2018 Cuarón

It’s almost daunting to know where to begin with Cuaron’s latest- a masterpiece. Here he serves as his own DP (debunking any possible theory that it’s Emmanuel Lubezki (Chivo) who is the actual genius at

Holiday Inn – 1942 Sandrich

14 songs in just over 100 minutes- similar daunting gauntlet to Berlin’s Easter ParadeFamously for the first used here- the luminous song “White Christmas”- for decades the #1 music single of all time The narrative

Bad Santa – 2003 Zwigoff

Though not a formal consistency (the opening is just a voice from god and the ending is a letter to Thurman) Billy Bob’s sardonic voice-over is so well written and performed- harkens to his work

Gravity – 2013 Cuarón

A transcendent display of cinematography (The Bordwell definition- not the Academy definition which is closer to photography)- camera movement that perfectly matches the place and story90 minutes- tight- Cuaron is just a perfectionist—last film was

The Favourite – 2018 Lanthimos

A masterpiece of auteur-driven formal and aesthetic choices, brilliant acting and one of the year’s best screenplaysIt’s entirely Lanthimos—black, absurdist, profane—but it’s impossible to watch without thinking about Mankiewicz’s All Above Eve (the power-play with

Unlawful Entry – 1992 Kaplan

There are artistic ambitions right from the get-go her with a helicopter shot going from a crime scene across town over to the house of Madeleine Stowe and Kurt Russell like Hitchcock would often as a

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