Bad Santa – 2003 Zwigoff

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

All or Nothing – 2002 Leigh

It’s a return to Leigh’s working-class contemporary almost neorealism’esque roots after 1999’s triumph (but a period film about wealthy people)- Topsy-TurvyA really strong opening shot. It’s at a nursing home with a cleaning woman (who

Topsy-Turvy – 1999 Leigh

In many ways it’s a major departure for Leigh. His work to this point had been about the working class and set in contemporary England. This is a period film (1880’s—we get some anecdotes about

Marriage Story – 2019 Baumbach

Marriage Story is a gut-wrenching drama- a marriage epic – that is Baumbach’s most visually ambitious and accomplished film to dateThe film features what is probably 2019’s best acting. Laura Dern leads the talented supporting

Career Girls – 1997 Leigh

It is minor Leigh coming off of Naked (masterpiece) and Secrets & Lies. It is flawed for sure- the score by Marianne Jean-Baptiste (actress from Secrets & Lies- this is her only credit for musical

Queen & Slim – 2019 Matsoukas

A strong debut from director Melina Matsoukas. She makes some choices here that pay off. Early on in the film she shoots both Daniel Kaluuya (one of our best actors in 2019) and Jodie Turner-Smith

The Irishman – 2019 Scorsese

A meditative saga on death that has perhaps the greatest opening and final shot in Scorsese’s oeuvre. Starts with the Doo-Wop music drop (and back his debut and Mean Streets Doo-Wop is as important to

Home Alone – 1990 Columbus

Like Poltergeist with Spielberg or The Thing From Another Planet  (1951) with Hawks, creative credit for the film is usually given to producer/screenwriter John Hughes here over Chris Columbus Far and away the biggest hit

Her Smell – 2018 Ross Perry

It’s really solid work from auteur Alex Ross Perry and his muse, Elisabeth Moss (this is their third archiveable collaboration together) Part like a faux-Courtney Love biopic, also reminds me (perhaps because of the Cobain

Jojo Rabbit – 2019 Waititi

Jojo Rabbit is part Borat, part Moonrise Kingdom and part Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful but confirms Waititi as a brand and auteur (how refreshing that a marvel film has a unique artistic stamp-- this

Knives Out – 2019 Rian Johnson

Precise, captivating and confident- Rian Johnson is in full control hereIt entertains, yes, but there’s high storytelling and acting craft on display as well, and the film has something to say on wealth, immigration, inheritance

What About Bob? – 1991 Oz

A spectacular vehicle for Bill Murray’s talent—a total showcase. Sketch after sketch of his trademark mania before his Wes Anderson/Jarmusch/Sofia Coppola deadpan era. For director Frank Oz it’s another success and good pairing with 1988’s

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