The Tree of Life

When Terrence Malick makes a movie, three things happen: they’re years-in-the-making personal films, audiences are typically baffled by them and, over time, they are reevaluated and declared works of genius. Malick has only made five films, but each are so breathtaking, so thrilling to watch and stunningly made, his reputation as a recluse and master… Continue reading The Tree of Life


I remember the moment when Michael Mann’s “Heat” won me over the first time I saw it. It comes during the first twenty-five minutes and takes place in a bookstore. We see Neil, played by Robert De Niro, sitting alone. He’s reading and trying hard not to stand out in one of those bookstore/cafe combos… Continue reading Heat

The Vanishing

Every time I go on a road trip with my wife, I’d always bring up a 1988 Dutch thriller as a word of caution. After driving for hours, we’d stop at a random rest stop, not all of which appeared inviting or even occupied. Many of these establishments still have gas pumps with analog price… Continue reading The Vanishing

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

The dirty little secret that “Star Trek” holds is that it took “Star Wars” to bring Gene Roddenberry’s vision to the big screen. Once word got around that George Lucas’ “little” $10 million outer space fantasy was quickly becoming the top grossing film of all time, film studios took action. Suddenly, lavish outer space fantasies… Continue reading Star Trek: The Motion Picture

The Dark Crystal

Jim Henson had nothing to prove when he made “The Dark Crystal.” In fact, as legacies go, his was already staggering. At that point in his career, having been the creative force behind “Sesame Street,” “The Muppet Show” and the still-magical “The Muppet Movie,” Henson came across like the cuddlier, wilder Walt Disney. Henson’s works… Continue reading The Dark Crystal


The “look” of dreams is something most movies can’t pull off without resorting to silly touches like fuzzy photography and dancing dwarves. The list of films that convey the visual and logistical nature of dreams with any accuracy is short: they include “Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind”, “Waking Life”, the original “Nightmare on Elm… Continue reading Inception


Late into “Zodiac,” Robert Graysmith, the tireless cartoonist-turned-amateur-snoop, is having a red eye meeting at an all-nigh diner with Tochi, one of the key investigators of the lengthy Zodiac killer investigation in San Francisco. Jake Gyllenhall is playing Graysmith, who is explaining to Tochi, played by Mark Ruffalo, the close proximity in which the killings… Continue reading Zodiac

The Godfather

The opening moments of Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” are like a dream coming into focus, as we’re pulled into another world and drawn in with rich, enticing storytelling. A man named Bonasera is addressing Don Vito Corleone (played by Marlon Brando), the elderly “Godfather” mob boss whose daughter, Connie (played by Talia Shire), is… Continue reading The Godfather

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

When Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” his fourth film and first after “Jaws,” opened in the fall of 1977, many wondered how it would compare with “Star Wars.” George Lucas’ first groundbreaking, pop-culture shaping and box office conquering mega-hit had overshadowed most of the year. Could Spielberg, whose giant killer shark movie… Continue reading Close Encounters of the Third Kind

The Thin Red Line

The late 1990’s was an exciting time for cinema. Independent works were being released alongside mainstream blockbusters, Bernardo Bertolucci regularly made new movies every few years and mysterious, untrustworthy reports would spill out of Europe that Stanley Kubrick’s latest work (which one periodical incorrectly identified as “Eyes Wide Open”) was still in production. Then, a… Continue reading The Thin Red Line