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  • Raw Deal

    Raw Deal

    ★★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Noirvember #1

    I watched this on Amazon Prime where it looked like it was ripped from a ratty VHS tape. Even with that, though, it was clear from the very beginning that this was one of the best looking noirs I'd ever seen. Being that it's shot by the master photographer of this genre, John Alton, that shouldn't have been much of a surprise.

    Of course its got moody urban sequences, both exteriors and apartments at night with shafts of…

  • Walking the Streets of Moscow

    Walking the Streets of Moscow

    ★★★★★

    A pitch perfect portrait of young adulthood. Starts on a reflection and ends on a song. Eschews conventional resolutions and plotting in favor of highlighting small moments of interaction (a particular delight is the police station scene, which finds comedy in bickering and a misunderstanding and the movement of an ink well). Both heartwarming and bittersweet, Walking the Streets of Moscow features an impeccable mis en scene from director George Daneliya, who keeps moving characters around inside cluttered widescreen frames…

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  • Mother

    Mother

    ★★★

    A decent silent drama with occasional flourishes of revolutionary enthusiasm.

  • Bellboy Donald

    Bellboy Donald

    In which Donald gets scolded for (apparently) hitting and yelling at the guests of the hotel he works at and warned that if he acts out again he'll get fired. Of course, Pegleg Pete's bratty son soon starts to torment him. One of the things I appreciate about a cartoon like this is how it shows Donald, a beleaguered proletariat duck, having to tolerate alienation and humiliation to earn his survival wage. He is a duck of the people. Catharsis…

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  • Star Wars

    Star Wars

    ★★★★

    "Curse this metal body!"

    When I watched Star Wars (repeatedly) as a kid, my favorite characters were, without a doubt, Han and Chewie. Least favorite character? C-3PO. Depending on the scene at hand, I found his presence either unnecessary or annoying.

    However, when re-watching these films as an adult, C-3PO has probably become my favorite character. I now find his constant bickering with R2-D2 and his eternally 'Oh, woe is me!' put upon attitude charming and genuinely funny. It really…

  • Code Unknown

    Code Unknown

    ★★★★½

    Film #4 for Movie Club

    Code Unknown features a prologue wherein a group of deaf children are trying to guess the idea that one of their classmates is attempting to express. A little girl cowers down into a corner and the other children offer ideas: sad? scared? imprisoned? Haneke ends the scene before any of the children guess correctly, and subsequently gives us a preview of what we're about to watch: people trying and failing to understand each other.

    In…