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  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    ★★½

    Stevenson's immortal novel will always be a legitimate tragedy, even in the disguise of a musical comedy. This one stars Kirk Douglas, whose singular intensity brings a welcome pathos. You can't confuse him with the failed performance of Spencer Tracy from 1941, even when bearing a similar upper-lip rictus, which in Douglas' case does manage to suggest evil doings.

    However, and in contrast to other versions sharing the genre(s), like Jerry Lewis' The Nutty Professor, this more literal made-for-TV take…

  • Joe

    Joe

    ★★★★½

    John G. Avildsen (1935-2017), one of the great, and arguably most underrated, American film directors, made this terrifying satire long before turning into the king of the underdogs via his timeless masterpieces Rocky and The Karate Kid. Closing the '60s and opening the door to the gritty revolution of '70s cinema, Joe reveals itself both a landmark in the historical context of its production and a work of sociological and political narrative that is very telling of the world it…

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  • Gran Torino

    Gran Torino

    ★★★★½

    "Get off my lawn!"

    Walter Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) is an elderly Korean-War veteran whose wife has just died, both of whose children have come to disappoint him, whose tough life, ultimately, has given him but a few hard options to consider. Nothing to ponder on at large, though: Walt is a self-convicted redneck, a racist who hates most immigrants, a macho specimen who laments the fate of an American youth comprised of girly boys and bratty girls --including his own…

  • The Birds

    The Birds

    ★★★★★

    One of several adaptations of novels by Daphne du Maurier, one of the greatest Gothic writers of the 20th century, Hitchcock's The Birds is his best-known du Maurier translation (if not his most accomplished, as I definitely still have a soft spot for his sumptuous version of Rebecca), one of his most emblematic works, and still perhaps the most important movie dealing with animals in the role of incarnations of a virtual, impossible reality, or a desire that attempts against…