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  • The Gold Rush

    The Gold Rush

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    The Directors: 7x7
    Charlie Chaplin: 2/7

    By 1925, Chaplin had left First National and joined up with United Artists, with whom he would make all but two of the rest of his films (this per Wikipedia). Following the critically lauded but financially unsuccessful A Woman of Paris, Chaplin produced what many consider to be his finest film: The Gold Rush.

    The story is straightforward enough: In the days of prospecting for gold in America's most remote regions, a Lone Prospector…

  • A Dog's Life

    A Dog's Life

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    The Directors: 7x7
    Charlie Chaplin: 1/7

    Charlie Chaplin was already well-known and well-regarded in 1918, having directed or acted in over sixty films by the time he signed a contract with First National Pictures, for which A Dog's Life was his first movie. The most beloved film of this period is undoubtedly The Kid, but A Dog's Life contains many of the hallmarks of Chaplin's inimitable style.

    For instance, his comic sensibilities are already refined here, as seen in an…

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  • Fail Safe

    Fail Safe

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    When Fail Safe is discussed, it is almost always in relation to Stanley Kubrick's similarly-themed (and admittedly superior) Cold War nuclear-apocalypse film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. That's how I heard of it, anyway. Perhaps a movie like this isn't the best thing to watch during these, ahem, uncertain times, but what can I say. Imagining the world ending somehow makes it more bearable.

    Anyway, Fail Safe is quite good. The first…

  • Lilo & Stitch

    Lilo & Stitch

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    Self-Isolation Disney Rewatch #10

    For the last movie in my Self-Isolation Disney Rewatch series, I chose one of my all-time favorite Disney films. Lilo and Stitch is remarkable for a number of reasons. To begin with, its setting is unique and memorable, and not just because Hawai'i is intrinsically beautiful: the watercolor backgrounds (evidently done to save money) are gorgeous, and the numerous surfing sequences have some of the stunning water ever animated.

    More importantly, the characters are all memorable…

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  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

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    I miss Sally Menke. I will not pretend to understand exactly what she brought to Quentin Tarantino's filmography - I have only fuzzy ideas of what an editor does and how he/she does it. I could not describe to you the rhythm of a scene or a film, except to say that I can feel when it is off. And Tarantino, when he was working with Menke, was never off.

    His films since her passing have had a shaggy, shapeless…

  • Silent Hill

    Silent Hill

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    Dare you dare you double dare you

    I've seen Silent Hill a number of times - this is probably my fourth or fifth viewing - and every time, I'm reminded of its inherent contradictions. On the one hand, the dialogue and the performances are often wooden, the exposition is mind-numbing, and the Sean Bean scenes, forced on director Christophe Gans by the studio, are dull as dishwater (his original conception of an all-female film sounds much more interesting, and indeed,…