Blog Archives

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Charlie Kaufman films are always a challenge, but in sifting through the unusual plot and non-liner zigzags of a narrative you will be rewarded with a level of emotional honesty that is largely unknown in Hollywood. The screenwriter/producer’s movies sit squarely in the “quirky” camp, “Indiewood” fare that is neither a truly independent film nor

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

The combination of one of the best L.A. film noir narratives, ties to filmmaking reality, and exceptional performances by actors needing to remind audiences why they were once famous is what elevates Sunset Boulevard beyond the outlandishness, and what helped secure its spot as one of the true Hollywood greats. Even if you’ve never seen

Chaplin (1992)

The magnitude of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (not to mention Guy Richie’s big screen Sherlock Holmes) has overshadowed Robert Downey Jr.’s previous work, and his incredible acting ability has been hidden underneath CGI suits and elaborate action spectacles. Many in his repertoire should be forgotten (Two Girls and a Guy, Friends and Lovers, and anything

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Recommending 2001: A Space Odyssey is always problematic. It’s a difficult film to watch, and not one which should be a casual weeknight choice. Criticisms (often ignored by critics and academics) commonly made against it are accurate: the movie is long, strange, and can be boring to many viewers. The first twenty-five minutes or so

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Very few filmmakers become so culturally pervasive that they acquire their own descriptive adjective. Hitchcockian, Felliniesque, Lynchian: these terms will conjure up visons of the respected auteurs’ distinct artistic style, but Spielbergian can evoke as many negative associations as positive ones due to the love-hate relationship many critics have with the blockbuster director’s work. He

Best in Show (2000)

Although the term is largely reserved for prestigious dramatic directors such as Hitchcock, Truffaut, and Kubrick, Christopher Guest is an auteur is every sense of the word. Who says satirists whose works contain dog poop jokes cannot be considered distinguished? Visual and narrative motifs run throughout his films (of which he is typically screenwriter as

Animaniacs (1997)

Animaniacs was one of the more bizarre cartoons to ever grace the small screen. It’s one of those rare flashes of brilliance in children’s programming where kids will enjoy the zaniness of loveable-looking anthropomorphized characters bouncing around and getting into shenanigans, teens and twenty-somethings will pick up on the innuendo, and adults will recognize the

Documentary Now! (2015)

Is Documentary Now! good? Depends on your perspective. Is it funny? I’m honestly not sure. But it is incredibly interesting, witty, and well-made, and I found myself excited to see what they would do next. With each week/month’s fresh wave of mostly mediocre releases on Netflix streaming, it’s rare to say something truly compelling is

Scarface (1983)

Brian De Palma is a fairly unusual director who oscillates from making great critically-acclaimed films (Carrie), to overrated critically-acclaimed films (Dressed to Kill), to exploitation movies (Sisters), and occasionally mainstream Hollywood fare for good measure (Mission: Impossible). He is one of the ‘70s American New Wave auteurs, and, as such, wears his influences proudly on

The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist stands in the pantheon of greatest horror films ever made, maybe even at the top. Much has been made about this film over the years; it was a cultural phenomenon upon release, with some waiting in line for hours to get tickets, and inspired an increasingly secular nation to consider that the devil