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  • Tokyo Drifter

    Tokyo Drifter

    ★★★★

    Tokyo Drifter sees Seljuk Suzuki at his most assured. His directorial technique of vibrant, near-incoherent madness works to the film’s full effect, and its tongue-in-cheek look at violent masculinity is interesting, if not hard to swallow these days.

  • Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

    Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

    ★★★★

    Rolling Thunder Revue is a documentary concert film as much as Jaws is just a movie about a man and a shark. When you take it for what it really is — a sendup of truth that immolates its own interior narrative scene after scene — then it’s an immediately rewarding experience helped along by some of the best-restored concert footage that exists of Dylan. Really, the concert footage cannot be understated; it is completely transcendent. Read my full review here.

  • McCabe & Mrs. Miller

    McCabe & Mrs. Miller

    ★★★★

    I respect Altman's filmography. I do not love Altman's filmography. Yet, McCabe and Mr. Miller is one of the most infectious and watchable films ever made. It is early 70s American cinema boiled down to its very essence—dark and brimming subtext, dense and winding dialogue that overlaps with many speakers, and troubled males sloshing through the sludge of existence. Roger Ebert called it the first "anti-western". For my money, Ebert was and is wrong. It is a western only in…

  • Private Life

    Private Life

    ★★★★

    Private Life is cinema as literature. It's visuals are but a mere backdrop for its poetics—be forewarned that its poetics focus on a bourgeoise white NYC couple. It is a cyclical film that trades easy answers for the miasma of reality. Days go by, things happen, days keep going by. Tamara Jenkins is one of the best directors working, today.

  • Onibaba

    Onibaba

    ★★★★★

    The horror film to end all horror films. It is and always will be my barometer for cinematic dread. It digs its teeth into you and refuses to let go. It twists your gut and laughs as you writhe on the floor. It is horrid. It is brilliant.

  • Green Book

    Green Book

    Your problematic uncle who didn't vote because he "didn't like either candidate" absolutely loves this film. It will probably win a bunch of awards as shitty movies are wont to do. It fucking sucks. This and Vice are the one-two punch of god awful melodramas that, in their attempts to be left-leaning, somehow show their true colors as centrist drivel. It'll be on USA in like two months.

  • The Sword of Doom

    The Sword of Doom

    ★★★★

    The Sword of Doom is anti-Kurosawa. It has no whimsy, no heroism, no triumph, and it deconstructs the samurai as the eastern hero. The protagonist is a troubled man—a man whose existential dread is second only to his sheer nihilistic outlook on life itself—and this man does unforgivable things throughout the film's runtime. Yet, it is endlessly watchable. The directorial styling melds kabuki cinema with German expressionism. It is unsettling, surprisingly violent, and features one of the greatest final action setpieces in cinema history.

  • Sonatine

    Sonatine

    ★★★★★

    If any of you know me, then you know Takeshi Kitano is far and away my favorite directorial voice in all of cinema—so much so, that my graduate thesis will be immensely focused on his cinematic oeuvre. Sonatine is a beach film. It is a beach film focused on members of the Japanese Yakuza. Kitano stars as a violent but childlike Yakuza boss, whose crew is moved to Okinawa to help solve a local dispute. What ensues is sheer brilliance.…

  • The Night Comes for Us

    The Night Comes for Us

    ★★★★

    A ballet of brutality. Wait, that doesn't do this film justice. A cacaophany of carnage? No, not that either—too on the nose. Okay, how about The Night Comes for Us is like a maestro conducting a symphony of violence at such a pace and scale that is rarely seen in action cinema today, or ever? Oh also, the conductor is using a bloodied knife to conduct his symphony of sinister deeds. Yeah, that works.

  • Westfront 1918

    Westfront 1918

    ★★★★★

    Pabst's chronicle of life during The Great War is arguably the greatest war film ever made—bested only by Paths of Glory and (maybe) Apocalypse Now. Yet unlike those films, Westfront 1918 is devoid of lyricism. It's poetics are of the economic variety, and its economics are that of war. Men enlist, men suffer, men die, and for what? Pabst's film is an ontological study of what relates man to war and war to man—the answers found in those relations and their properties will leave you cold for days.

  • The Friends of Eddie Coyle

    The Friends of Eddie Coyle

    ★★★★

    Bostonians were as racist in the '70s as they are now. Yet, Yates' film is an oddly endearing and poignant watch. It is a study of bad men doing bad things in a bad place at a bad time. The cinematography exudes menace and is steeped in a grimy realism that is very much of its place (think of how NYC is framed in Taxi Driver). It is unflinching and has nothing to give the viewer at face-value. But, like…

  • Blow-Up

    Blow-Up

    ★★★★

    If Susan Sontag believed we should interpret films less, then Blow Up is the film that best personifies her essay "Against Interpretation". It is a manic film—filled with paranoia, the threat of violence, and a brimming undercurrent of sexuality. It's subtext becomes its urtext and, like that, Sontag's final demand is answered. Blow Up is cinema as an erotics.