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  • The Count of Monte Cristo

    The Count of Monte Cristo

    ★★★½

    This would probably be one of the earlier revenge films, taken from one of the earliest revenge novels, the hugely popular Dumas classic that had already been filmed five times in the preceding 26 years. Not much of the 1844 book (supposedly based on a true story) remains, in fact screenwriter Phillip Dunne remarked that the final draft contained only seven words of the source novel, "The world is mine," and "One, two, three." Still, it's an entertaining tale with…

  • Risky Business

    Risky Business

    ★★★★

    "Risky Business" is the wonderful '80's classic from director Paul Brickman that made Tom Cruise a star and helped pave the way for a half dozen John Hughes teen comedies. The script is about as good as they come, with lines that are smart and funny and delightfully satirical. Beautiful cinematography and a Tangerine Dream score impart dark edginess and delicate style to what might otherwise be a run of the mill coming of age tale. What's more, dealing with…

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  • Star Wars

    Star Wars

    ★★★★½

    There's not much new to be said about one of the best sci-fi action adventure flicks of all time. Quippy dialog and hammy acting rooted in the classic mid-20th century sci-fi serials, a fast-moving story, rousing music and spectacular special effects all combine in a nearly flawless way for the cinematic experience of a lifetime. The film industry has changed quite a bit since then in terms of visual technique and digital effects, but the basic storytelling really doesn't get…

  • Whiplash

    Whiplash

    ★★★★★

    Whiplash has received a lot of attention for its visceral and at times brutal portrayal of the relationship between an ambitious young music student and the volatile college professor who alternately inspires and abuses him. We've seen a lot of music films going back to the thirties that deal with these same themes so we're all familiar by now with the numerous and well-worn cliches which make the odds of seeing something new and different pretty slim at this point.…