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  • Mighty Joe Young

    Mighty Joe Young

    ★★½

    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

    ★★★★½

    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…

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  • 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.

    (-K-)

  • 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...

    (-K-)