Scott’s Favorite Movies

[9.0] Martin Scorsese directs Leonardo DiCaprio in this biopic of Howard Hughes, the billionaire aviator, filmmaker, and playboy whose considerable ambition was tragically counterbalanced by his mental illness. The Aviator opens with Hughes’ mammoth, three-year-long production of the aerial battle movie Hell’s Angels and his budding romance with Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett). He makes considerable advances in the field of aviation and challenges the movie …

[9.0] Stockard Channing, Donald Sutherland, and Will Smith star in this dark comedy of manners that unfolds like a mystery. The entire film is told in flashbacks and montage, with Channing and Sutherland as art dealers regaling their New York upper crust acquaintances with the bizarre story of how Smith’s character came into their lives. Smith enters their apartment seeking help for a knife wound …

[9.0] Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant headline this twisted love story from Alfred Hitchcock, about a secret service agent (Grant) who entices an aimless drunk (Bergman) to spy on a group of Nazis gathering uranium in Rio de Janeiro. There’s an immediate attraction between Bergman and Grant, but she has reservations about her self-worth and he won’t admit to loving her — possibly because of …

[9.0] Somewhere along the way, Hollywood forgot how to make good romantic comedies. Because there are plenty of them to be found in the ’30s and ’40s, with Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night being chief among them. Claudette Colbert plays a rich gal running away from what is essentially an arranged marriage. After she bumps into a reporter played by Clark Gable on a …

[8.5] Seven months after the rape and murder of her daughter, a grieving mother challenges her local police department to find the culprit when she advertises on three incendiary billboards. Frances McDormand (Fargo) headlines Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which is being advertised as a comedy featuring fowl-mouthed McDormand chewing the scenery and ripping characters new assholes. And to be fair, that’s definitely part of this movie. …

[10] In picturesque Italy, 1983, a seventeen-year-old boy falls in love with an older man who is working as his father’s research assistant. That’s it. That’s all Call Me By Your Name is about. And it’s marvelous. So many other coming-of-age, coming out, and gay-centered love stories focus on outside forces exerting pressure on the characters. But James Ivory’s (Maurice, The Remains of the Day) …

[10] I’ll come right out with it: The Witch is my favorite horror film of the last ten years. Newcomer writer/director Robert Eggers serves up a masterfully creepy tale that’s equal parts psychological and atmospheric, elegant and restrained, but not without some visceral imagery that will haunt you for years to come. The story centers around a New England family circa the 1630s. Having just …

[9.0] Birdman swoops into cineplexes offering the antidote to superhero hysteria, CGI migraines, and Hollywood’s usual hackneyed, formulaic bullshit. It’s goddamned original, a showcase for skill and craft, and a breath of fresh fucking air. Michael Keaton turns in a career-best performance as a one-time popular film actor who is risking it all to put on a Broadway play. In the span of hours leading …

[9.0] South Korean director Bong Joon-ho (Mother, The Host) directs this tale of class warfare set in an ice-age Armageddon wherein the last few living humans reside aboard a technologically advanced train that constantly circumnavigates the globe. Chris Evans (Captain America himself) stars as the working class hero who rises up against the train’s cold-hearted aristocracy, leading a revolt from the train’s back end slave …

[8.5] In this sequel from director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In), the virus introduced in the previous film has obliterated more than 99% of the human population worldwide. In San Francisco, there is a small colony of humans focused on repairing a hydroelectric dam in the Red Woods so they can have electricity and possibly reconnect with other survivors. But its in the Red …

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