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  • Stray Dog

    Stray Dog

    ★★★★★

    I almost never deliver five-star ratings after a first viewing of a film, but here's one of the rare exceptions and here are the reasons why (with spoilers). I wonder if it paints me as having some sort of American bias that my two favorite Kurosawas are now the two that most resemble Hollywood noir films (this and High & Low), though I think it's also probably significant that I think they're even better than most proper noir titles I've seen.

  • Bound for Glory

    Bound for Glory

    ★★★

    Fortuitously, I just finished reading Bob Dylan's memoir in which he describes the effect Woody Guthrie's music and personality had on him, so I was somewhat affected to see a moment dramatized in Hal Ashby's film of Guthrie's autobiography (which Dylan effusively praises) wherein David Carradine's Guthrie happens upon a mentor who shakes him up in a similar sense, a union-organizing radio personality and singer named Ozark Bule played by Ronny Cox. Only thing is, the entire incident as well…

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  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    ★★★★

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

    Random thoughts for the day I watched this for the first time in many years and afterward realized it's been almost exactly a decade since I saw it in the theater, which is a weird feeling:

    When this was released and my then-girlfriend and I saw it and were enchanted by it, I had never been through a breakup. Funny how getting older changes how you see a film like this so much. The scenes establishing Joel and Clementine's relationship…

  • The Black Pirate

    The Black Pirate

    ★★★

    It's hard for us as modern audience members to have a full grasp on what made a star a Star in silent-era Hollywood... then you see a performance like Douglas Fairbanks' in this, and it all becomes clear. His sheer charisma is completely ageless, his agility and comic sensibility -- mugging as he does for the invisible crowd watching -- couldn't be more engaging. The film's hackneyed action-adventure story (of a vengeful hero saving a princess from ruthless pirates who've…