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my taste in movies

I love the moody vérité style of Cassavetes, the minimalist noir of Jean-Pierre Melville, the epic scope of Lean, and that mix of post-60s hippie auteurs and film school movie brats that formed New Hollywood. For directors working today, I follow Claire Denis, the Safdie Brothers, Paolo Sorrentino, Emma Seligman, David Cronenberg, Cristian Mungiu, Nicolas Winding Refn, and Hong Sang-soo.

At Columbia I took up media studies and cultural criticism. Here I was exposed to the great 20th C. cultural critics: Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Paul Schrader, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Robert B. Ray. Although I disagree with many of their takes, Sontag’s "Against Interpretation" formalism and Kael’s rejection of sappy moralism and eye for creative "trash" became the bedrock of my critical lens for movies.

In 2022, I watched and reviewed a new movie every day. I work full-time in TV now but log new movies + reviews as often as I can. In addition to the long form reviews written below, I have logged over 1k reviews on Letterboxd @msxviii. Let's chat about movies!

film reviews: About Me
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Ronin (1998), John Frankenheimer [3/5]

If Heat (1995) and Mission Impossible (1996) had a baby that took itself way too seriously, hired a weirdly melodramatic composer that...

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...

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film reviews: Blog2
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