• Synchronic

    Synchronic

    ★★½

    I'm about 22 minutes in, I like it so far. It's nice to know some filmmakers can still shoot.

    1 DAY LATER; yeah it's alright, it has that age-old problem of being amazing in early minutes when they're throwing menacing abstract stuff at you faster than you can deal with it, and thereafter weakening as the script goes about the road work of building a larger and more cohesive whole. You rarely get big miracles from the latter phase -…

  • Wonder Woman 1984

    Wonder Woman 1984

    There's actually some stuff you can say about this but whatever. Who cares. Just seems to be a big soup where all the ingredients don't mix.

  • Battling Butler

    Battling Butler

    ★★★★★

    Sally O'Neil, my heart

    Snitz Edwards, my soul

  • Dog Shy

    Dog Shy

    ★★★

    The sequence where Charley tries to persuade then coerce then force the Duke (the human Duke not the dog) to take a bath is hands down the hardest I've cringed watching a McCarey film, second only to some key business in Good Sam and My Son John (the latter is uniquely fertile with cringe... a cringe masterpiece, really, but that's for some other time). Then follows several minutes of a brilliant dog. So it's a draw. three stars

  • His Girl Friday

    His Girl Friday

    ★★★★★

    If you, like me, have already seen this film eleventy-seven times, the clarity of the high-definition transfer on Criterion's Blu-ray reveals and/or emphasizes the film's astonishing artificial-ness: the just-past-its-sell-by-date Hecht/MacArthur play, the yearning to be a pre-Code naughty thwarted because the principals all feel slightly aged out, over-polished, too on their marks; the pre-Breen/-Hays days are gone, and what's even more gone is doing mugs gallery/vaudeville revue strategies to spread the paychecks around and fill out the running time.

    What's…

  • Mum's the Word

    Mum's the Word

    ★★★★

    Well whaddya know, another McCarey comedy of re-marriage. All the gags are old enough that they have whiskers but I still enjoyed it tremendously. An expertly-played four-hander, but you know, if you're vibing off that Martha Sleeper gal, she arguably steals the show. A great film.

  • Publicity Pays

    Publicity Pays

    ★★

    Notes towards a codified diagnosis of Hal Roach Syndrome. Personality on camera and behind the camera muted and yoked to Roach house style hijinks.

    Noah Young all but unrecognizable as the hotel manager! How do you hide a guy like that?

  • Bromo and Juliet

    Bromo and Juliet

    ★★★★

    Having a hard time grasping why this is so good, it looks like a complete shambles, a simple setup quickly hijacked by not one but two main characters engaged in flights of drunken chaos antics. But while the comedy concept risks relieving the movie from its original commitments and allowing it to derail completely, somehow the risk empowers McCarey & company. The result is, everyone is at their best - the closest I wager this loose confederacy has approached Keaton. The…

  • Crazy Like a Fox

    Crazy Like a Fox

    ★★★

    Takes a couple of minutes to announce and commence with its concept, which is nice - the best part of the picture, really: Charley befriends an old lady on the train, then falls in love with Martha Sleeper at the depot. The looney stuff isn't too interesting, aaaaaaaaaand uhhhhhhhhh yeah, there's the butler in blackface....

  • The Kid from Spain

    The Kid from Spain

    ★★½

    Jeez, Robert Young playing a Mexican really clangs, what were they thinking? It'd be great if something happens during the final 20-odd minutes of the movie to take my mind off of it.

    *monkey's paw curls*

  • Isn't Life Terrible?

    Isn't Life Terrible?

    ★★★

    *chuckles nervously*
    what the fuck?

  • Sugar Daddies

    Sugar Daddies

    ★★½

    These weaker 2-reelers often have the same structural weakness, being that they seem to be made of two unfortunately paired 1-reel comedies that weren't good enough, conceptually, on their own steam, and don't do much more, and arguably less, when welded together. Sugar Daddies features the lads out of their usual character - Stan and Ollie - and in unusual ones - a haughty lawyer and a... regular butler. Typical foil James Finlayson is kind of the main character as…