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  • The Cincinnati Kid

    The Cincinnati Kid

    ★★★

    Steve McQueen is cool, Ann-Margret is va-va-voom, the cast is stacked (+ Karl Malden, Edward G. Robinson, Joan Blondell, Rip Torn, Tuesday Weld), but it also sits at the table a lil too long for me. (The whole crew is stacked, actually, but Hal Ashby's early editing credit, and first for Jewison, could've definitely used more of a trim.) What's most interesting about this movie is Norman Jewison subbing in for Sam Peckinpah because Peckinpah wanted to include some nudity…

  • Carnal Knowledge

    Carnal Knowledge

    ★★★

    Wow. So this must be the bible of those vile "pick-up artists" I read about like Roosh V. Except they probably don't see the depression at the end, they just hear the encouraging words about Jack Nicholson getting an erection on command. I guess it's good in this movie that they call each other "bullshit artist" when they are actually bullshitting as opposed to dressing it up with a bookstore ready name.

    Ann-Margret is absolutely astounding. Nicholson relishes playing the…

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  • Beau Travail

    Beau Travail

    ★★★★★

    Claire Denis’ loose adaptation of Herman Melville’s novella Billy Budd substitutes the British Royal Navy with the French Foreign Legion. Like Melville’s story, Beau Travail features a charismatic and angelic new addition to the outpost, Bruno (née Billy Budd; played by Michel Stubor), there is an envious officer, Galoup (née Claggart; played by Holy Motors’ Denis Lavant) and there is a court-martial for mistreatment. But Denis is not interested in any military legalese.

    Instead, Beau Travail is a luminary and…

  • The Phantom Carriage

    The Phantom Carriage

    ★★★★

    The Ghosts of New Year's Past: A Swedish Carol

    Watched for Film School Dropouts Week 3

    Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries followed by The Seventh Seal was my teenaged introduction to foreign film. As The Phantom Carriage director/star went on to face a lifetime tribunal as the star of Bergman's nightmare reveries in Strawberries and Bergman also had Max von Sydow play a game of chess with Death in Seventh Seal, I was definitely prepared to look for all the ways…