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  • Drifting Clouds

    Drifting Clouds

    ★★★★½

    Drifting Clouds feels like a very conscious return to form for Kaurismäki. After his goofy surprise international hit Leningrad Cowboys Go America and the more austere, heavy-hitting The Match Factory Girl, it seems like he didn't quite know which direction to head. But after a few fine but lesser films in the early 90s, he decided, like the characters in this film, that when all else fails, it's best to stick to what you're good at. So he went back…

  • The Man Without a Past

    The Man Without a Past

    ★★★★★

    With Kaurismäki it’s not so much rich vs. poor; it’s people who can exercise power over others vs. the utterly disenfranchised. It’s not the wealthy, per se, who are bad; it’s anybody whose position of authority and selfish interests allow them to callously destroy other people’s lives. The list of Kaurismaki’s four favorite scapegoats for all of society’s ills is as follows: 1) Banks, 2) Government Institutions, 3) Bosses, 4) Street Thugs. Sakari Kuosmanen (who I’ve only recently started to…

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  • Moonraker

    Moonraker

    ★★½

    This is a hard one to rate because for most of its running time it's the laziest, stupidest, most boring Bond film yet, filled with glaring continuity errors and the flimsiest excuses for parading babes and exotic locations across the screen. The return of Jaws, with his suspenders and center-parted hair, provides the only bright spots. But then in the last 20 minutes Bond goes to space and then all of a sudden it's the best Bond movie ever made.…

  • The Spy Who Loved Me

    The Spy Who Loved Me

    ★★★½

    I knew it'd be a bad idea to rewatch this one, my favorite as a kid and my automatic answer to the question, "What's the best Bond movie?" A big part of the problem is that familiarity definitely breeds contempt with these things and my primary positive response while going through them all has been, "Seriously?!?" All the craziest stuff in this one I remembered all too clearly, with the added bonus of being able to notice everything it swipes…

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  • The Strange One

    The Strange One

    ★★★★½

    Playing out like an adaptation of the most sadistic play Tennessee Williams never wrote, THE STRANGE ONE is almost completely incoherent dramatically if you don't foreground the homosexual subtext. And, like most Williams adaptations, even when you decrypt most of the gay coding in the film, you still find some of the events that transpire a bit mystifying, like the depths of depravity are so unfathomable that you can't possibly comprehend what unwholesome passions lurk behind each character's actions. My…

  • The Seventh Seal

    The Seventh Seal

    ★★★★★

    Greatest artistic achievement in the history of cinema? Yeah, probably. Greatest artistic achievement in my nine years of being a father? Punishing my button-pushing son by giving him the option of watching The Seventh Seal or nothing for his screen time tonight. I'm proud of him for sticking with it 'til the end and even though he said he hated it, he could still tell me what meaningful deed the knight accomplished by playing chess with Death, so I know…