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  • Steamboat Willie

    Steamboat Willie

    ★★★★½

    That Disney was using this as a showcase for synchronized sound is obvious as much of the short involves music that Minnie and Mickey make using various farm animals as instruments. The technique works, and the whole thing is kind of delightful, even if it also gets that infernal song stuck in your head for the rest of the day. I guess that's a victory too.

  • Plane Crazy

    Plane Crazy

    ★★★★

    Technically made before Steamboat Willie but released (with synchronized sound added after that film's success) afterwards, this movie uses Ub Iwerk's rubber-hose animation to great effect. I loved the multi-purpose dog and then all the stuff with Mickey and the cow during the plane sequence. But perhaps most surprising was Mickey's character. He's not the squeaky-clean mouse we all know, and he even kisses Minnie against her will. That's, um, unfortunate to say the least, but it is interesting.

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  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    ★★★★½

    A.I. is a movie of troubled history. Everybody knows that it was developed by Stanley Kubrick before he died and then Steven Spielberg took over and, some say, ruined it. But that's not quite right. During the 12 year development process Kubrick realized it wasn't really a Kubrick kind of movie and gave it to Spielberg himself, saying it was more suited to his sensibilities. It is. This is no spiritual successor to 2001, though some of the same ideas…

  • City Lights

    City Lights

    ★★★★★

    My fourth Chaplin in a year. I think I like the guy. His tramp character is one of the all time greats and here he gets to play rich, drunk, and in love. All three are great modes for the tramp to play in. The (pretending to be) rich tramp is a delight, full of pomposity and with an even springier step than normal, he walks around like he owns the place. Drunk tramp is maybe the best thing ever.…