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  • Mighty Joe Young

    Mighty Joe Young


    In 1949, nobody was asking for a re-do of King Kong and when Mighty Joe Young opened to collective yawns and poor box office RKO's hopes of recapturing lightning in a bottle were dashed, as was a proposed sequel.

    The film struck me as an odd outlier, more a remake of MGM's Tarzan's New York Adventure (a film I would rather watch, truth be told) than of ...Kong, though the considerable rehash of ...Kong tropes is impossible to ignore. The…

  • I Am Cuba

    I Am Cuba


    The Soviet classics and obscurities marathon continues...

    Mikhail Kalatozov's Soy Cuba (I am Cuba) is one of the happy mistakes of cinema history, a movie that pleased neither Soviet nor Cuban apparatchiks at the time -- and it stylistically plays like the spawn of some unlikely creative orgy where Robert Flaherty, John Cassavettes, Sergei Eisenstein, Vincente Minnelli, Stanley Kubrick and Busby Berkeley -- all clad in white Panama hats and sucking down Cuba Libres of course -- gangbanged the indigenous…

Popular reviews

  • Gone with the Wind

    Gone with the Wind


    Until cinephile culture began to seep into the mainstream three decades ago this was pretty much considered the greatest movie ever made if you'd have asked any random person.

    Inarguably, I think, it's the most effective screen adaptation of middle-brow literature. Self-important, with mighty musical cues that don't let you forget it. An event movie, like The Birth of a Nation, and similarly still unapologetic about romanticizing the Confederacy. It's a lot of fun, and Vivien Leigh is titanic, no doubt, but there are at least two or three dozen other movies from the feted Hollywood year of 1939 that I would rather watch.


  • The 400 Blows

    The 400 Blows


    "Angel faces hell-bent for violence" sums this one up pretty well.

    Next, I'm going to re-watch L'Avventura now that I realize it's really about soda jerks hopped up on banana splits and Mary Jane ripping apart the asphalt in death-dealing hot-rod hellfire machines...