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  • Dredd



    This is the movie The Raid should have been. Dredd isn't a robot, but he acts like one, and that's okay because he's not meant to be a character. There's a reason we never see more than his mouth. He's judge, jury, and executioner, a rule book hiding under a helmet that makes him indistinguishable from the many other judges that futilely fights crime in this ridiculously dystopian future. After a few silly video game cut-scenes to setup the world,…

  • Prick Up Your Ears

    Prick Up Your Ears


    This biography of playwright Joe Orton and his homosexual life in 1960s England is really just an acting showcase for young Gary Oldman and Alfred Molina. The odd structure comes from being based on his diary, and I'm not sure the Wallace Shawn subplot really adds anything to the story except to allow for a non-linear telling, but it doesn't really hurt.

  • Le Grand Amour

    Le Grand Amour


    A genteel comedy about a married man who fantasizes about having an affair with his young secretary. It's French, of course. There's a lot of wit and toying with film conventions, esp. a memorable extended dream sequence involving beds, but after Mel Brooks and Woody Allen and Zucker-Abrahams, the jokes just don't come fast and furious enough to impress a jaded audience. I'll give it points for paving the way though, and for its creative use of sound.

  • Command Decision

    Command Decision


    Clark Gable wants to bomb a German factory producing jet fighters that can run circles around any airplane that exists, but the high death toll has those in Washington worried. This is basically a filmed stageplay. It has some nice drama but struggles with staginess, and the subject matter was handled much better a year later in Twelve O'Clock High. Good performances from Clark Gable and Walter Pidgeon though.

  • The Freshman

    The Freshman


    This is a cute, easy-going comedy that offers Brando a chance to just enjoy himself on camera and be funny. Broderick is the perfect film-school foil for Brando's crime scheme, and Penelope Ann Miller will charm your pants off. It gets a little too silly in a sequence at a shopping mall, but otherwise holds up beautifully.

  • My Night at Maud's

    My Night at Maud's


    It's been a long time since I've seen an Eric Rohmer film. They're all the same: beautiful French people in love, which for Rohmer means talking about love for two hours. Generally they do it in sunny, colorful locations with very little clothing on, but this one takes place in a city in the middle of winter and is in black and white. This makes it slightly less charming, even though it's one of his most popular films. The dialogue…

  • Woman in the Moon

    Woman in the Moon


    This forgotten sci-fi film is Fritz Lang's last silent - squeezed in between Metropolis and M. The first hour has a lot of criminal intrigue much like his previous film Spies, which unfortunately has little bearing on the rest of the plot and seems like a different movie. Then they make the first rocket launch to the moon in a sequence that's on some points surprisingly accurate, such as inventing the countdown to launch, but on most points very wrong,…

  • Westinghouse Works

    Westinghouse Works


    This is a series of 21 short films of workers at the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company in Pennsylvania, and it shows the hard labor and massive amount of manpower of turn-of-the-century industry. It's an amazing glimpse into the past. Men work hard casting iron and assembling generators, while women do the clean work - assembling copper coils and doing light labor. Everything looks horribly dangerous but they are obviously highly skilled workers. It was all filmed by Billy Blitzer,…

  • The Wages of Fear

    The Wages of Fear


    I still remember that night long ago when I couldn't sleep and tried to find something on TV at 3:00 in the morning. AMC had a French movie called Wages of Fear, and I watched it expecting little and was stunned. I haven't seen it again since that night but it's always been etched into my memory. I also remember discovering a movie called Sorcerer, which I also knew nothing about, and realized halfway through that it was a remake…

  • Ugetsu



    Mizoguchi's highly-praised film about greed is based on a famous Japanese fairy tale. It's pretty easy to see where the story is going, but the photography is wonderful and it had a very natural feel similar to De Sica's Italian neo-realism films, easily blending the horrors of life during wartime with the supernatural. Script by the prolific Yoshikata Yoda (so that's where Lucas got that name?)

  • Troll 2

    Troll 2


    A worthy challenger to worst film ever made, and unlike most bad movies that are filled with lulls and tedium, Troll 2 keeps the horrible schlock rolling along from beginning to end. There is appalling acting, terrible special effects, an nonsensical story, and a hefty helping of 80s cheese. It does not fail to entertain, and there are actually no trolls in the movie.

  • This Is England

    This Is England


    In Thatcher's England of the 1983, a 14-year-old boy falls in with a gang of skinheads, and find a warm and caring family that's closer to River's Edge than American History X. The film doesn't look down on these characters and most are decent people. Writer/director and former skinhead Shane Meadows gives us a great example of British low-budget filmmaking, much like his terrific boxing movie Twentyfourseven. The kid is excellent and so is his father figure Stephen Graham, who…