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Bryan has written 374 reviews for films during 2015.

  • Half of Oscar

    Half of Oscar

    A tedious and emotionless Spanish drama the devolves into sensational subject matter with no impact. Quite a bore. Written by director Manuel Martin Cuenca.

  • Grey Gardens

    Grey Gardens

    ★★★

    The filmmaker essentially just turned the camera on and let it run. Thankfully his subjects are two fascinating and barely functional women who are happy to gab on and on without a clue of how cut off from the world they are. I got tired of them by the end and would have appreciated more background, but I guess they have some adoring fans.

  • The Gold Rush

    The Gold Rush

    ★★★★★

    My favorite Chaplin film, his equal to Keaton's General. I can't think of a moment that's out of place. Seeing it in a theatre with an audience just made it better. Oddly enough, the only silent movie to get nominated for best sound, when Chaplin re-released it in the 1940s with a narrated soundtrack.

  • Going in Style

    Going in Style

    ★★★★

    You just can't go wrong with George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg teaming up to rob a bank just because they're bored old men. It's a movie knee-deep in charm, and George Burns does some fine acting and puts a real edge on the character – as if he wants to channel Cagney. The movie drags when they go to Vegas, but it's a surprising, touching drama by 27-year-old writer/director Martin Brest (Beverly Hills Cop).

  • The Godless Girl

    The Godless Girl

    ★★★★

    DeMille's last silent film is a little gem about a young Christian boy meeting a young atheist girl, but the religious debate quickly turns into a social drama about brutal youth prisons. There are some amazing set pieces in this movie, including an impressive fire rescue (apparently several actors were burned, including the lead) and a massive riot in a stairwell.

  • WR: Mysteries of the Organism

    WR: Mysteries of the Organism

    ★★

    A weird collage of sexual liberation, communist propaganda, and psychological theory. Parts of it are fun, but it sure didn't make much sense.

  • In Which We Serve

    In Which We Serve

    ★★★

    Noel Coward writes, produces, directs, and stars as a stiff-upper-lip ship captain in this memory play/propaganda piece that waves the flag for England. It's pretty good for wartime rabble-rousing, with help from co-director David Lean (his first directing gig), John Mills, and a teenage Richard Attenborough, but it's oh so very British.

  • Dog Day Afternoon

    Dog Day Afternoon

    ★★★★

    A heist comedy-of-errors that never tries to be funny and wins enormous sympathy for its bank robbing hero. Was Al Pacino the 70's most lovable criminal?

  • Force of Evil

    Force of Evil

    ★★★★★

    John Garfield is a force of nature as a mob lawyer trying to rig a gambling racket and take care of his older brother. The script is literate and sharp and filled with tragic pathos and rich characters. It feels far more modern than other noirs of the period.

  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    ★★★★

    Fine actors delivering delicious dialogue in a movie that's straining to break free from the bonds of the production code. Having just seen Liz Taylor in Giant, she is truly outstanding here. Good as it is, though, the movie still feels incredibly stagebound. Perhaps it's the way the characters are forced together, the confined sets, or how perfectly the barbed zingers fly back and forth. It sits uneasily between bitterness and laughter, and I think if I saw it again it would be much funnier.

  • For Your Consideration

    For Your Consideration

    ★★★

    Guest and Levy's Hollywood comedy isn't as sharp as their previous films, and it feels like their mockumentary methods are getting tired. It doesn't help that they reserve their bitterest criticisms for the Hollywood press - a pretty easy target. But there are laughs and some real drama to carry things along and it's a better than average comedy.

  • Food, Inc.

    Food, Inc.

    ★★★★

    Although it often feels like a commercial for organic foods, this documentary does a good job of looking at several aspects of food production and seems fairly even-handed. While it condemns the mega-farm corporations by noting that they all refuse to be interviewed for the film, it also condemns the government without really making an attempt to talk to them - which might be the film's biggest failing, since it seems the real issues the film is concerned with stem…