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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 »

She Said: Top 10 Films of 2019

10. Mike Wallace is Here. This biography of Mike Wallace’s lengthy career, told completely with archival footage, crystallizes the legacy of his tough interview style. 9. Brittany Runs a Marathon. This film is worth seeing for Jillian Bell’s hilarious, vulnerable, sarcastic, and raw portrayal of Brittany – even if you’re not a runner. 8. Waves. Told in two parts, this ... 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 »

She Said: Top 10 Films of 2018

10. A Fantastic Woman. This fantastic film about a transgender woman navigating the aftermath of her boyfriend’s death impressed me by resisting melodrama and club-you-over-the-head agenda messaging, instead trusting the power of its story. Transgender actress, Daniela Vega, delivers an understated but powerful lead performance. 9. Thoroughbreds. Evil plans are put in motion when an unlikely friendship, between a psychopath ... 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 »

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 »

She Said: Top 10 Films of 2017

10. Brigsby Bear.  Written by and starring Kyle Mooney, of Saturday Night Live, Brigsby Bear is the most unusual film I saw this year.  It opens in the home of James, who is too old to have the bedroom shown outfitted with costumed-bear merchandise.  After a scene involving gas masks suggests the setting is a post-apocalyptic dystopia, Occam’s razor comes ... Read More »

She Said: Top 11 Films of 2016

I’m turning it up to eleven** this year. 11. Hello, My Name is Doris. Just after the death of her mother, sixty-ish Doris (Sally Field, who’s managed to maintain all the quirky energy of Gidget) falls for a co-worker thirty years her junior, but of a similar emotional maturity as she’s spent her life caring for her mother in lieu of having ... 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 »

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