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  • The Coward

    The Coward

    ★★½

    49/100

    An inferior variation on a common theme in Ray's work (A substantial but diffident woman is in some way held back or let down by a weak, inattentive man). Have been skeptical previously of Ray's affection for Soumitra Chatterjee, who is generally wooden, if particularly suited to the aforementioned male archetype; but he's actively quite bad here, having to communicate a repressed passion that's way outside his range (and far more in the wheelhouse of his on-screen partner, Madhabi…

  • The Big City

    The Big City

    ★★★★★

    93/100

    One of those rare instances where a set-up led me to certain conclusions about a film's ending with which I'd be quite satisfied (which is to say, I expected a bitterly ironic reassertion of status quo, wherein Subrata gains a job at Arati's workplace as she loses her own), only for the film and the film's characters to blithely disregard my preconceptions for a far superior finale. Ray's masterstroke is for Subrata to never mention the job offer; he…

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  • Moonlight

    Moonlight

    ★★½

    49/100 (C+)
    Intones in Batman growl: "The film we NEED, but not the film we DESERVE." Not really bad, or overtly despicable, but a quiet story relayed with too much timidity. Characters never betray initial impressions- Chiron is one-note repressed (to the point of autism spectrum), and he's surrounded by such types as The Drug Dealer with a Heart of Gold, the Pained Junkie Mother, and the Experienced Lover. Jenkins usually directs in long takes, occasionally throwing in some misguided…

  • Jaws

    Jaws

    ★★★★½

    90/100 (Third watch, was 94)
    Jaws belongs to alcohol as much as it belongs to Bruce the Shark. Alcohol appears in about half the scenes, and the central trio, Brody, Hooper, and Quint, can be aptly characterized by how they handle alcohol. Brody, the hydrophobic Everyman, pours wine into beer mugs but can't tolerate Quint's homemade shots. Hooper, the wealthy but surprisingly badass oceanographer, knows to air his wine but can still drink a shot. And Quint, the hardened shark-hunter, guzzles…