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  • The Gold Rush

    The Gold Rush

    ★★★★★

    [Originally appeared at the now-defunct cinespect.com.]

    In 1952, the British film journal Sight & Sound published the results of the first of its decennial lists of the greatest movies ever made, compiled from a survey of respected international critics. First place went to Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist masterwork The Bicycle Thieves (1948), but in second and third place came two Chaplin movies–City Lights (1931) and The Gold Rush (1925). Chaplin’s reputation as the cinema’s greatest artist, both as a filmmaker and…

  • It's a Wonderful Life

    It's a Wonderful Life

    ★★★★★

    [Originally appeared at cinespect.com.]

    Few movies have benefited from copyright purgatory more than Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Beloved/barely tolerated for a generation after a lapse in ownership made it a ubiquitous television companion during the holiday season for about thirty years (until it eventually fell into the hands of NBC, which now only airs it a couple of times during the Thanksgiving to Christmas programming abyss) and thus redeemed a film that had marked the virtual end of…

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  • Underwater Love

    Underwater Love

    ★★★½

    Best fantasy porn musical of the 10s, at least from what I've seen.

  • Blood Bath

    Blood Bath

    ★★

    When I was 7 years old I woke up in the middle of the night and wound up watching the last half hour of this when it aired on Elvira's Movie Macabre. Groggy, with my focus shifting back and forth between my dreams and the fuzzy TV screen, the broadcast's cheapjack images of casual derangement - a man's body replaced with a computer box, a tragic goat boy pleading for mercy, Cassandra Peterson's amplified cleavage - lodged into my child…

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  • Circus of Books

    Circus of Books

    ★★½

    The fact this doc spends more time on how the woman who co-owned a major gay porn book store in Los Angeles and co-produced a bunch of gay adult movies in the 80s had trouble accepting the coming out of her son than it does on how the AIDS crisis affected her business and the community it catered to and employed is both inevitable and understandable given the subject's daughter made said doc. But that's also why someone other than…

  • Double Indemnity

    Double Indemnity

    ★★★★★

    All you need to make a movie is a girl, a gun, and a life insurance policy.