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  • The Passion of Joan of Arc

    The Passion of Joan of Arc

    ★★★★★

    Joan is one of three Criterion titles I purchased this weekend. The other two, Mizoguchi's Story of the Last Chrysanthemum and Ray's The Hero, offered up minimal though informative supplemental material. While Joan is one of Criterion's gold standard releases. Like On the Waterfront or A Hard Days Night it's loaded with extras, and like Waterfront, it gives you several presentations of the film to chose from.

    I was looking forward to seeing the picture at 20 frames per second…

  • Pride & Prejudice

    Pride & Prejudice

    ★★★★★

    The BBC miniseries is the quintessential and truest adaptation of the novel. But if you don’t have five-and-a-half hours to spare, Joe Wright's theatrical release is a pretty damn good alternative. It’s a quicker, condensed version of the novel that still packs the essential melodrama, romance and humor into its 2 hour plus run-time. As Vivien Jones wrote in her notes in the 1996 edition of Pride and Prejudice, Austen had a "precise, and satirical, eye for mechanisms of social…

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  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    Bohemian Rhapsody

    ★★★

    Doesn't deserve its Oscar nom for Best Picture (especially over gems like "Leave No Trace" or "Eighth Grade"), but it's... watchable. The movie's producers primary mistake was in hiring writer Anthony McCarten (who one blogger dismissed, quite funnily and truthfully, as a glorified Wikipedia editor). And it's not so much the inaccuracies that hurt it, but that it's about one of the greatest showman in rock history - and I would have liked a film that reflected that in total.…

  • The Unknown Girl

    The Unknown Girl

    ★★★½

    I think viewers might be too focused on plot with this movie. Critics from Ebert.com and elsewhere seem to get hung up on that aspect - the mystery and how contrived and laid back it all is. It reminds me of first viewing write-ups on Hitchcock’s Vertigo, where the mystery becomes the focus, when in truth, the psychology is what the story's really about. The mystery is only the instrument to get these people together. I think it (the mystery)…

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  • One-Eyed Jacks

    One-Eyed Jacks

    ★★★★½

    One-Eyed Jacks isn’t a universally hailed western like say a Stagecoach or High Noon. But it has its devoted fans, and I number myself among them. The film has been in a sorry state for decades, so I was elated when I found out that Criterion was releasing a restored version of Brando’s lone directorial effort. And when I hit play I was blown away. They did a beautiful job. Though I’ve seen the picture at least a half dozen…

  • Lilith

    Lilith

    ★★★

    Oh if only Warren Beatty had been a stronger actor, and was able to bring some nuance to the part of Vincent - the war vet who takes a job at a sanitarium and gets too involved with a female patient. If he was able to convey the idea of a man going from point A to point B during the course of the film – and gradually falling to ruin after betraying his core principals - this movie might…