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  • The Old Man & the Gun

    The Old Man & the Gun

    ★★★½

    In general, I like bank robbery movies, so I was looking forward to this, but it was a tad underwhelming. The heists themselves are really dull. None of the characters have any disagreements, conflicts, or tension between them. The arc is slow. Still, a lot of good wrinkles.

  • Rocky II

    Rocky II

    ★★★★

    My memory of watching this the first time -- more than thirty years ago on VHS and a small color TV in Mr. Fedorchak's junior high school gym class -- was that it was pretty awesome. This time around it seemed stilted, inert -- narratively and psychologically. First Adrienne doesn't want him to fight again, then -- guess what -- she does. The fight scenes at the end, though, were pretty cool. Burgess Meredith steals the show. He is a truly great actor. Stallone, on the other hand, is not.

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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…

  • I Accuse

    I 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…