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My favorites? The personal cinema of John Cassavetes, the minimalist film noir of Jean-Pierre Melville and that early period of New Hollywood in the 70s (of course Polanski and Coppola.) I also focus on directors working today like the Safdie Brothers, Paolo Sorrentino, Jane Campion, Denis Villeneuve, Jordan Peele, Emma Seligman, David Cronenberg, and Hong Sang-soo.

At Columbia University, I specialized in media studies and cultural criticism. Here I was exposed to the great cultural critics of the 20th Century: Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Jean Baudrillard, Jonathan Rosenbaum and more. Although I disagreed with many of their takes, Sontag’s formalism and Kael’s socio-political commentary became the bedrock of my critical lens for movies.

But I'm also wary of the sort of ivory tower academicism that divorced many critics from audiences in the mid-century. I always kept an ear to the ground as a PA in film production and press & venue staffer at film festivals in New York. Twitter — while a very imperfect tool — has also become an essential data point for the modern movie critic, and I often report on my impressions of the online discourse there in my reviews.

In 2022, I set a challenge to watch and review a new movie every day. In addition to the long form reviews written below, I have catalogued nearly 1000 reviews on my Letterboxd (@msxviii). I hope you follow me on this journey!

Film Reviews: About Me

Z (1969), Costa-Gavras [4.5/5]

A Ballad of Liberal Democracy & the Tendrils of Glass Tyrants... In the port city of Thessaloniki in 1963, a high profile political...

Ambulance (2022), Michael Bay [3/5]

Commercial Auteurism... I grew up in the early 2000s and my first memory of a summer blockbuster on the big screen is Michael Bay's...

The Square (2017), Ruben Östlund [3/5]

An Unwieldy Satire of the Art World... In a couple of scenes in The Square, Ruben Östlund's supposed satire of the art world, we witness...

Barbarian (2022), Zach Cregger [4/5]

It's an exhilarating trap of the horror genre that it can exploit fears and paranoias unique to a specific time to weaponize an...

Perfect Blue (1997), Satoshi Kon [4.5/5]

Born during the Disney Renaissance, I grew up on mostly American animation yet every now and then an episode of late 90s Pokémon would...

Nope (2022), Jordan Peele [3.5/5]

There is a gallery of moments in the history of horror that have seared themselves into the public dread like the folklore of yore. The...

Mad God (2021), Phil Tippett [3.5/5]

Mad God follows a gas-masked protagonist as he descends into a psychotic nightmare in search of an object on his map. It's hard to...

Film Reviews: Blog2
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