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  • Canon City

    Canon City

    ★★★★

    A Bryan Foy Productions picture released through Eagle-Lion. I originally wanted to watch this because it's another one shot by John Alton, but the cinematography here is pretty conventional. The movie itself, though, is pretty nifty. It's one of those great cheap docudramas from the period that boasts of being based on a true story -- in this case, an actual prison break in Canon City, Colorado -- in which they shot the film on the actual locations where the…

  • Dillinger

    Dillinger

    ★★★★

    This is exactly the kind of low-budget entertainment I like: an efficient, step-by-step account of John Dillinger's life of crime. I love police procedurals from the period, but this is a crime procedural -- ethically and politically, probably a superior genre. Script by Philip Yordan. A King Brothers production, released through Monogram.

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  • Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

    Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

    ★★★★

    I just finished teaching a class on the contemporary international art cinema and I was struck how closely my students' ratings of the films that we watched tracked the movies' IMDb ratings. And I was struck how stridently -- perhaps unthinkingly -- my own tastes seemed to have veered in the opposite direction. For instance, my students' favorite film (and the most highly rated on IMDb (8.4) of those I included) was Asghar Farhadi's A SEPARATION; my students' least favorite…

  • J'accuse!

    J'accuse!

    ★★★★

    It's funny that so much of the dominant discourse about silent cinema these days is about "modernity" -- every new academic book about silent film recently feels obligated to link movies from the 1920s to the railroad, the telegraph, advertising, the consumer economy, etc. -- as if the use of the root "modern" will somehow legitimate the films for an audience that might not appreciate them if it thought of them as merely melodramatic entertainments. But my experience with silent…