Eric

I'm a guy from Chicago who likes movies too much.

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  • A Quiet Passion

    A Quiet Passion

    ★★★★★

    Director Terence Davies has carved a career out of his haunting, nostalgic portraits of British pastimes. In the semi-autobiographical The Long Day Closes, a a young boy is raised by the beauty and escapism of the cinema screen. Similarly, A Quiet Passion finds Emily Dickinson (Cynthia Nixon) as a woman who comes to understand and expand her world through Brontë novels. Although Dickinson has steadfast convictions and a strong opinion regarding marriage’s deadening potential on women, the film is far…

  • Dunkirk

    Dunkirk

    ★★★

    Christopher Nolan is an unabashed formalist whose persistent focus on time is the uniting theme in all of his works. If Interstellar took the temporal to a cosmic level, Dunkirk shows Nolan’s fixation on the specificity of a singular time and place. The chaos of battle is articulated through Nolan’s puzzle-like narrative structure, with apparently disparate story threads collapsing on each other about midway through the film. If it does suggest the disorientation that one might feel on a battlefield,…

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  • Svengali

    Svengali

    ★★★½

    At the time of its release, the New York Times published a review that heralded John Barrymore’s role as the eponymous Svengali as the very best of his career. It was a remarkable transition coming just one year after Barrymore’s take on Ahab in Moby Dick, said to be a performance in which the infamous drinker appeared inebriated on the screen. Barrymore’s performance is the most complex of the monsters from the 1930s deluge of horror films, a man equal…

  • Back Street

    Back Street

    ★★★½

    Between 1932 and 1935, director John M. Stahl filmed three enormously prestigious melodramas that would later be eclipsed in film history by their remakes: Back Street, Imitation of Life, and Magnificent Obsession. Stahl’s current reputation as a Douglas Sirk prototype is primarily the result of their each filming versions of the latter two films, although as storytellers the two had quite different preoccupations. Sirk’s narratives were driven by the heft of accumulated words and gestures, whereas Stahl’s characters often pass…