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Expressing an appreciation (or lack thereof) for all sorts of films for over 25 years.

He Said: Top 10 Films of 2021

10. West Side Story.  As a child of cable TV in the ‘80s, there are two musicals that were on heavy rotation in my household: West Side Story (1961) and Grease (1978).  Whatever the nostalgia factor, remakes really aren’t my jam.  But a casual choice for holiday viewing at the local multiplex yielded the most pleasant surprise of the year: ... Read More »

He Said: Top 5 Films of 2020

2020 sucked. It didn’t start sucking (e.g., Bong Joon-ho won big time at the Oscars in February). But it did end up sucking so much so that I’ve recently decided to boycott any reviewer, podcaster, etc. who began any sort of year-end discussion with the observation that 2020 turned out to be a great year for feature films. Because relatively ... Read More »

He Said: Top 10 Films of 2019

10. Avengers: Endgame.  Once you give in to the idea of episodic cinema—an idea that is not unique to the 21st Century and the domination of franchises—you adjust to certain aspects that will be part and parcel: the storytelling will be compressed; the characters will be defined more by their actions than dialogue; there will be CGI.  With Avengers: Endgame, the ... Read More »

He Said: Top 10 Films of 2018

10. Avengers: Infinity War.  I think that it bears mentioning that if you’re still inclined to judge these omnibus entries in the MCU universe primarily as standalone films (e.g., in need of “character development”), then the Avengers series is just not for you. That said, on re-watch, I would rank Avengers: Infinity War as the best MCU film to date, and ... Read More »

Revenge (2018): Coralie Fargeat’s Day of the Woman

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  8 We Americans, inextricably wedded to our Puritanical roots, have always had a difficult relationship with sex in the media, and particularly, popular film.  (See, e.g., Annabelle Timsit, “The vast gap between how the US and Europe think about teens and sex,” (7/26/2018).)   We talk ... Read More »

He Said: Top 10 Films of 2017

10. Columbus.  As with the Indiana town for which it is named, architecture features prominently in academic-turned-filmmaker Kogonada’s debut feature.  And the best that I can say, upon viewing this film, is that there also seems to be a certain geometric connection between the influences at play: (i) it makes total sense, narratively speaking, that Kogonada previously made a video essay about ... Read More »

My Favorite Film of 2017: A Ghost Story

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  5 A trailer (allegedly) portraying an Oscar-winning actor covered in a white bed-sheet with eyeholes cut out; raves from the quirk-worshipping Sundance Film Festival set; a low budget; a glacial pace: this is not a recipe for my favorite film of the year.  Nor would I ... Read More »

He Said: Top 10 Films of 2016

10. 10 Cloverfield Lane.  In the U.S., most of the hard-earned cash being dropped at the cineplexes is devoted to franchise films (that is, 16 of the 2016 top 25 were prequels or sequels to, or remakes or adaptations of, established franchises).  Call it a Pavlovian response to a marketing-induced supply.  Call it the reality of modern demand.  But in a year ... Read More »

My Favorite Film of 2016: La La Land

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  5    In perusing the year-end lists and reviews, I noticed a trend whereby professional and non-professional cinephiles alike seem to register a measured – if not, suspicious – appreciation for writer/director Damien Chazelle’s awards-bound musical, La La Land.  Chazelle certainly offers up plenty of familiar ... Read More »

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