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  • The Gay Divorcee

    The Gay Divorcee

    ★★★★

    The Astaire-Rogers love story here doesn't do much for me despite their chemistry and inspired dancing; square that I am, I keep waiting for him to leave the poor girl alone in the entire first half, and while I know it's an unfair concept in a musical, the story contrivances are much too obvious for me. (The waiter is an amateur geologist who knows a Professor Brown, definitely unrelated to the absent geologist central to the plot whose name is…

  • Aguirre: The Wrath of God

    Aguirre: The Wrath of God

    ★★★

    Slight upgrade, but it basically just doesn't work for me -- yes, its symbolism and elemental drama of human desperation/obsession are rich theoretically, but Herzog does not find anything in the story that isn't obvious from the broadest synopsis; and his approach feels completely unreal and arbitrary, an impulse rather than a story. This strengthens it in terms of our investment in its setting but fatally distances us from the interpersonal action taking place, which from the beginning is firmly…

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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…