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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…

  • Approaching the Elephant 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 17 Oct, 2014

    Spun a few words on this from my recap of the New Orleans Film Festival. Simply terrifying as it unfolds, each scene wavering between the possibility of Enlightenment and the absolute downfall of the society they've created. Even more unpredictable when you factor that predicting the behavior of 10-year-olds is ludicrous. I took a class in the history of philosophy in relation to education, so just seeing the theories of Rousseau and Hobbes on the state of nature essentially in…

  • Tu dors Nicole 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 11 Nov, 2014

    A seriously delightful comedy with formal chops in every shot, the best thing to come out of Quebec since Bon Cop, Bad Cop. Just kidding, but this is pretty great, as I explain in my AFI Fest review.

  • Over Your Dead Body 2014

    ★★½ Watched 11 Nov, 2014

    I'm not really a Miike expert by any means, so I used most of this review to talk about his production method, which there really isn't enough scholarship on.

  • People's Park 2012

    ★★★½ Watched 05 Nov, 2014

    Spoke some words on the last podcast about this little gem, which is now available on iTunes and other digital platforms. A great use of Harvard SEL motto: the rules and limitations of the camera become inherent values into new ways of looking.

  • Buzzard 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 11 Nov, 2014

    "And what do you do at Wal-Mart?"
    "I'm a night stalker."

    Review from AFI Fest. Given the pedigree and buzz this one had been building, I'm still not sure why I expected anything less. But this is remarkably assured examination of lower class that really investigates a POV without ever belittling it. This is really the movie I think Pain & Gain wanted to be.

  • The Iron Ministry 2014

    ★★★ Watched 08 Nov, 2014 3

    Reviewed from AFI Fest, but given the rapturous response by most of my colleagues, feel free to dismiss my opinion here. Not sure why the staging of scenes bothers me so much here, but every time I noticed it (even the women boarding the train with their vegetables who never once look up at the camera) it took me out of the observational mode. And then when there was no observational mode, I became even more frustrated. Not sure what to do with this one, honestly.

  • Blow Job 1963

    ★★½ Watched 13 Nov, 2014

    "When my mechanical shark was being repaired and I had to shoot something, I had to make the water scary. I relied on the audience's imagination, aided by where I put the camera."
    —Steven Spileberg on making Jaws.

  • Sabbatical 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 18 Oct, 2014

    Considered here in my piece on the New Orleans Film Festival, but simply an astonishing amount of control and detail in a film that would otherwise never call for it. Colvin is a bit out of an outlier in the microbudget filmmaking scene in many ways, and the approach here shows a patience in both narrative and performance that makes this a quiet revelation.

  • Husbands and Wives 1992

    ★★★★ Watched 22 Oct, 2014 2

    Discussed with Listen Up Philip and The Color Wheel filmmaker Alex Ross Perry in the latest episode of The Cinephiliacs. Can't stress the fact how weird the handheld camera makes the entire rhythms of Allen's usually facetious and harmless comedy suddenly feel loaded with arsenic. The way that Perry talks about some of the more insane moves of the camera makes me want to rewatch it immediately to see how even more weird it gets.

  • Interstellar 2014

    ★★½ Watched 03 Nov, 2014

    My frustrations toward Christopher Nolan are no secret, but I honestly wanted to give this a chance for various reasons (the Spielberg connection, the focus away from action, Hoyte's presence as DP). But this is a Nolan film through and through, for better and for worse. Full review over at The Film Stage.