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John’s Hall of Fame

My most essential movies. You’ll see plenty of four-star reviews around these parts, but John’s Hall of Fame represents the best of the best.

True Romance Review

True Romance Review

RATING: (4 STARS) True Romance is a fever dream. Who knew that combining the sensibilities of Quentin Tarantino the writer with those of Tony Scott the director would result in something that most closely resembles a 70s Terrence Malick movie? And what if that movie had one of the strongest, deepest casts of any movie […]

The Best Movies of the Decade (2010-2019)

The Best Movies of the Decade (2010-2019)

The 2010s were an incredible decade for cinema, and these are the 100 titles I’ll cherish the most.

Carol Review

Carol Review

RATING: (4 STARS) You think you know what it is to want until you sit in stunned silence following two hours of Todd Haynes’ Carol. It’s a film about so many things, probably the least of which is the sexual orientation of its two lead (yes, lead) characters, star-crossed lovers played expertly by Cate Blanchett […]

Odd Man Out Review

Odd Man Out Review

RATING: (4 STARS) It’s finally happening: Director Carol Reed is getting the recognition he deserves. Of course, it’s only 60 or 70 years too late to make a difference in his career. And of course, I’m only referring to the small (but sometimes deafening) community that goes nuts over things like auteurship, black and white […]

Barry Lyndon Review

Barry Lyndon Review

RATING: (4 STARS) One would think a three-hour British period drama would be something to endure, rather than enjoy, but Barry Lyndon is damn near a flawless film. Not only that, it’s also endlessly watchable. It’s as well-paced and plotted as any film I can recollect, and director Stanley Kubrick‘s sense of time and place […]

A Night to Remember Review

A Night to Remember Review

RATING: (4 STARS) When Titanic was released in 1997, it was hailed as the ultimate “four-quadrant” movie. It was a rare beast that managed to appeal to young men, young women, and adults, both male and female. From the star-crossed lovers that were Jack and Rose to the epic and spectacular sinking of the ship, […]

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Review

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Comedy doesn’t get much darker than Dr. Strangelove, which is Stanley Kubrick‘s grand “F— you” to the chaos that was the Cold War arms race. Loaded with timeless characters, jokes, and images, the film is equal parts hilarious and frightening. Classic performances abound, the film is perhaps best remembered for Peter Sellers‘ […]

The Wages of Fear Review

The Wages of Fear Review

RATING: (4 STARS) The Wages of Fear is filmmaking at its absolute finest. The tension and anxiety you’ll feel watching this film is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. My body was still, my breathing sporadic for nearly two and a half hours as director Henri-Georges Clouzot’s accomplishes something I rarely see (and may have never […]

McCabe and Mrs. Miller Review

McCabe and Mrs. Miller Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Robert Altman’s McCabe and Mrs. Miller is a hypnotic, awe-inspiring film. It’s a western, but not much like the westerns you’re accustomed to. While films like Once Upon a Time in the West and Unforgiven offer tales of good vs. evil, and other films like Stagecoach vilify Native Americans or some “other,” […]

Grand Illusion Review

Grand Illusion Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Charlie Chaplin was once asked who he thought was the greatest director in the world. Jean Renoir was his answer, and Grand Illusion is arguably Renoir’s most respected and influential picture. An anti-war film perhaps unlike any other, the film relies 100% on character to relay its message. There’s absolutely no fighting […]

Days of Heaven Review

Days of Heaven Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Days of Heaven is a major step up for filmmaker Terrence Malick. While his debut feature, Badlands, showed promise, it ultimately left me feeling cold. His second feature, however, is a haunting portrait of youth, love, and the mistakes that accompany each. The Oscar-winning cinematography is a highlight, as is the surprisingly […]

Certified Copy Review

Certified Copy Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Look up the term “art house film” in the movie dictionary, and you ought to find a still from Abbas Kiarostami’s Copie Conforme (Certified Copy). It’s a confounding, but wholly engrossing picture that clearly and thoughtfully meditates on questions relating to reality and perception. Though the director (who also penned the screenplay) […]

12 Angry Men Review

12 Angry Men Review

RATING: (4 STARS) As far as directorial debuts are concerned few are as good as Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men. Hell, few films period are as good as 12 Angry Men. Though the action is limited to one small, hot room, the film is smart, taut, and exciting from start to finish. The word strong […]

The Big Lebowski Review

The Big Lebowski Review

RATING: (4 STARS) The Big Lebowski has to be one of the most absurd movies I’ve ever seen. It’s practically plotless. Its comedy is gleefully absurd. And it doesn’t once try to be something it’s not. As always, I admire the Coens for going so out there and not caring if they lose a majority […]

Fargo Review

Fargo Review

RATING: (4 STARS) It really doesn’t get much better than Fargo. The Coen Brothers’ films are all special in their own way (even if they aren’t entirely successful, like in the case of Barton Fink), but this one is just magical. It’s relatively simple and straightforward for a Coen film, but it touches on the […]

Singin’ in the Rain Review

Singin’ in the Rain Review

RATING: (4 STARS) When I watched My Fair Lady for the first time a few weeks ago, I was forced to ask myself a difficult question: “Is this film better than Singin’ in the Rain?” For as long as I’ve been watching movies, I’ve adored Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s musical send-up of the silent […]

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