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  • Trafic

    Trafic 1971

    ★★★ Watched 23 Aug, 2015

    Jacques Tati's first feature film after the colossal failure of Playtime is this comparatively light piece, paid for by Dutch interests and using an auto show in Amsterdam as a goal, if not a backdrop.

    Tati's trademark character, M. Hulot (a character he was attempting to retire in Playtime ) is now an automobile designer, and attempts to shepherd his company's new car, a station wagon with many gadgets that unfold to convert the car into a self-contained campsite, 35…

  • Breathless

    Breathless 1960

    ★★★½ Watched 19 Aug, 2015

    Oh, to have been born fifteen, twenty years earlier! True, I would likely be dead by now. But then, I might have been better able to see what makes Breathless so special.

    Shot for next to nothing on a hand-cranked camera, Godard's debut feature is an ode to low budget crime movies (It's opening dedication is to Monogram Studios), using several unique approaches which are maddening to some.

    Firstly, to get fresh performances from his stars, Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul…

  • The Godfather: Part III

    The Godfather: Part III 1990

    ★★★★ Watched 14 Aug, 2015 1

    I honestly don't know what movie other people were watching.

    You hate Sofia Coppola? Fine. She makes a better director than an actress, I agree. But if you think she's horrible, you haven't seen enough movies. I can show you horrible acting.

    Was it the tying in of the 30 day reign of John Paul I with a Vatican conspiracy angle? I have some Oliver Stone movies you should probably watch.

    Is it because Michael Corleone was made to pay…

  • City Lights

    City Lights 1931

    ★★★★ Watched 05 Aug, 2015

    Generally considered to be Chaplin's masterpiece, not least by himself. The Little Tramp finds himself smitten by a beautiful young flower girl, who is blind. She thinks the Tramp is a millionaire, and he sets out to gather enough money for an operation to give her sight.

    Chaplin's technique, honed by many years, is perfect. His timing, his presentation. That this silent movie premiered two years after The Jazz Singer and still did well attests to that quality.

    I, personally,…

  • The Silence

    The Silence 1963

    ★★★½ Watched 30 Jun, 2015

    The conclusion of Bergman's powerful film trilogy finds the director leaving the themes of his earlier films, dealing with daily tragedies in a fairly realistic manner, to more existential terror, struggles in the landscape of the mind.

    Two sisters, returning home by train, must stop in a European town when the elder sister's disease - possibly tuberculosis - reaches a crisis stage. This elder sister sits in the hotel room, her disease ebbing and flowing, while the younger goes out…

  • Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie

    Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie 1963

    ★★★★ Watched 01 Jul, 2015

    A nicely realized five-part TV documentary about the making of Winter Light, from the writing process through the premiere. Bergman was rarely this forthcoming about his process, and it makes for a fascinating watch. Seeing him rehearse his actors, just like any other director, does not provide a key to his genius, but the overall documentary reveals much about why he was - his attention to detail, his ability to see his vision through, and his love for the form.…

  • Good Night, and Good Luck.

    Good Night, and Good Luck. 2005

    ★★★★ Watched 30 May, 2015

    George Clooney's second feature as a director is a well-realized and observed love letter to a bygone era in broadcast journalism, a high point in the field where right-mindedness put forth a call to stop mindless fear-mongering.

    It's no mistake Clooney made this when he did, and honestly, its underlying message has only grown more important as time, but not necessarily the political arena, has progressed.

    Yeah, I miss actual journalism.

  • Black Devil Doll from Hell

    Black Devil Doll from Hell 1984

    ★★ Watched 30 May, 2015 5

    Chester Novell Turner's first movie (of two) may feel like a Twilight Zone episode padded out to feature length and shot with a ancient camcorder, but it occasionally surprises the viewer with some canny editing and an earnest desire to shock, taken to some intriguing extremes. Gutter art is still art.

    Also, it's reported that everyone involved in this production actually got paid, and that is so goddamn rare in the entertainment biz that I should have tacked on an extra star just for that.

  • Grizzly Man

    Grizzly Man 2005

    ★★★★ Watched 19 May, 2015

    Werner Herzog draws together video footage shot over years and interviews with friends and family to tell the story of Timothy Treadwell, a self-described advocate for the grizzly bears of ALaska, spending every summer living among them, and getting dangerously - some would say insanely - close to them. He was eventually killed and eaten by one, though, as Herzog notes, it wasn't one of the bears he had spent years bonding with.

    Treadwell is an interesting, complex person, but…

  • Blood and Black Lace

    Blood and Black Lace 1964

    ★★★½ Watched 01 May, 2015

    Mario Bava's seminal murder mystery recently received a 2K restoration from the UK's Arrow Films and the results are glorious. Rarely has Bava's color sense been more ravishingly apparent than in the service of this low-budget horror story, which proved so very influential.

    Blood and Black Lace is the obvious progenitor of the giallo movement, stylish and gory thrillers which had their heyday in the early 70s. It's all here: mysterious masked killer with black leather gloves, beautiful victims, sadistic…

  • The Wolverine

    The Wolverine 2013

    ★★★ Watched 22 Mar, 2015

    As the X-Men movie franchise staggered, Fox served up another movie featuring surefire box office character Wolverine (whom Hugh Jackson has, admittedly, made even more interesting than the comics counterpart). It's certainly better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but that's a low bar to hurdle.

    Logan suffers PTSD after the events of the franchise-strangling The Last Stand, and is dragged back to the real world from his wilderness self-exile - to Japan, in fact, where he winds up protecting the granddaughter…

  • It Happened One Night

    It Happened One Night 1934

    ★★★½ Watched 16 Mar, 2015

    The first movie to win Oscars for the five major categories (Best Picture, Best Actor and Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay). Considered a classic of the romcom, and the creator of the screwball comedy.

    It's amazing then, that both its stars hated it.

    Columbia was considered to be a poverty row studio at the time, and major studios like MGM and Warner would gladly lend them misbehaving actors to take them down a notch or two. Gable reportedly showed the…