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  • Dark Passage 1947

    ★★★½ Watched 05 Oct, 2014

    Bogart and Bacall are too lovely a couple for film noir, and so is the good heart of Delmer Daves, so this ends up spinning into the ultimate rejection of noir and the blissful embrace of hope—ending right out of Shawshank Redemption, though this one justifies it. Begins with a 20 minute sequence of entirely first person camera (pre-Lady in the Lake), and smartly doesn't reveal why until the facial surgery (a common movie trope of the 40s) is about…

  • The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 18 Oct, 2014

    Another great documentary recapped from the New Orleans Film Festival. Dense as hell, using the essay format to essentially explain the relationship between traditional cultures and the Othering practices of the Post-Soviet state, even if that's never explicated directly. Will likely require a second screening to pick up more, though this seems like the kind of thing best seen in a Flaherty Seminar where you can really dive into the theoretical work with the filmmaker (as opposed to a standard…

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  • American Hustle 2013

    ★★ Watched 21 Dec, 2013 21

    "Russell's most exciting moments are three-layered: a familiar narrative or comic convention is exaggerated into a transgressive act, then grounded with a flurry of humanizing psychological detail."
    -Dan Sallitt, 2002.

    American Hustle would easily fit into the same realm as Pain & Gain, The Bling Ring, and Spring Breakers in the excess/over-belief in the American Dream run of films that amounted to a lot of pointless trend pieces this year. Like these films, it is also fueled through the specific vision…

  • Moonrise Kingdom 2012

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 04 Aug, 2013 3

    I could talk about how this film's structure finally achieves the blissful melancholy that has been at the heart of all of Wes Anderson's films. I could talk about the precision of his framing and tracking shots, and how often he finds visual comedy through a perfect edit, or the slight entrance of new material into the frame. I could talk about how depressing the film is, the hints of both a traumatizing past, and that in a way, Sam…