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  • Raiders of the Lost Ark

    Raiders of the Lost Ark

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    One thing that's always bugged me about Raiders of the Lost Ark was how did Indy know to close his eyes and not look at the ark? I'm not really questioning his archeological knowledge, but the reason is never explained to the audience. I know the ending is literally deus ex machina, but all you have to do is close your eyes and you're good?

    Well a couple of years ago Spock gave me the answer.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyiWkWcR86I

    In this interview,…

  • Strangers on a Train

    Strangers on a Train

    ★★★★

    Strangers on a Train has one of my favorite movie posters, because it's just so simple and brilliant. Check it out: straightchillingpodcast.com/media/1345/soat1.jpg.

    I love everything about this movie except Farley Granger. He's convincing as a tennis pro, I guess, but he offers nothing that makes him interesting or watchable. Robert Walker steals the show (it's a shame he died right after this) and the supporting players upstage Granger in every scene. The script and direction and photography easily makes this one of Hitchcock's top films. It drags a bit near the end but the big action climax makes up for it.

  • Good Times - Ben Safdie, Josh Safdie

    Good Times - Ben Safdie, Josh Safdie

    ★★★★

    Desperate people doing desperate things to achieve their desperate goals. Most filmmakers would approach this story as a comedy, and the movie falls just short of becoming a parody of itself. It's like "After Hours" without the humor. The Safdie brothers really wish this was a 70s movie, and they film everything in tight close-ups Cassavettes style. It annoyed me when Cassavettes did it, and it annoys me here, but not so much that it hurts the film. Robert Pattinson…

  • Seven Days in May

    Seven Days in May

    ★★★★

    An incredibly smart political thriller that struggles through some (much needed) exposition dumps and begs for a little more action. Still, the ideas it toys with are shocking and still relevant today, it's a great depiction of the lives of Pentagon brass, and the final verbal showdown between Burt Lancaster and Frederic March is fantastic.

  • The Big Sick

    The Big Sick

    ★★★★

    A gentle romantic comedy boosted by its autobiographical roots, and although I wished it was a little less indie-film naturalism and a little more funny, it was very pleasant to watch, esp. once Holly Hunter and Ray Romano showed up. The screenplay navigated some very tricky story transitions, and did a great job at delaying gratification.

  • Altered States

    Altered States

    ★★★★

    This is one of those freaky, weird movies I loved as a teen (the nudity was a plus). Once you overlook the basic premise of the transformative power of magic 'shrooms, it's a really fun look at scientists doing research that unlocks the secrets of time and space with a dazzling light show. Director Ken Russell wisely makes the actors shout Chayefsky's mumbo jumbo lines over each other so we don't have to take it all too seriously. The cast…

  • Threads

    Threads

    ★★★★

    This is basically a solid remake of "The War Game," a 1965 pretend documentary about the effects of nuclear war. It's incredibly well done for a BBC TV movie, and doesn't shy away from the bleak and depressing subject matter, but it's also hampered by its low budget and TV style. Still, I have to give it point simply because it depicts the after-effects of nuclear war better than anything else I've seen, including "The Day After," which has all the same 80s TV movie problems that this film has. Any clues on what the title means?

  • Magic Mike

    Magic Mike

    ★★★

    A movie can go a long way on Channing Tatum's charm, and while this is Citizen Kane compared to Showgirls, but it doesn't really work. The story is split between two protagonists - a dull character that makes all the dumb mistakes, leaving Tatum to be Mr. Perfect. It starts off like it's going to be about their relationship - a master/student type of story - but that becomes completely unimportant as things develop and Tatum's story takes the focus.…

  • Paddington

    Paddington

    ★★★★

    The rumors are true. Paddington is a delightful and charming and unbearably cute movie. Am I gaga over it like others seem to be? No. Despite its witty writing, overly British sentiments, and Wes Andersony production design, it's a little too glossy and easygoing to fully win me over, and the pratfall comedy isn't particularly innovative. But I'll watch the sequel.

  • Capitalism: A Love Story

    Capitalism: A Love Story

    ★★★

    I lost interest in Michael Moore after Sicko but thought I'd go back to see what he had to say in the last decade. With each movie, Moore broadens his scope, but the bigger he gets, the less effective he is. He's gone from trying to meet the CEO of a company in his hometown to tackling an entire economic system that luckily just happens to have fallen into recession thanks to the housing crisis. His ammo against capitalism is…

  • Faces Places

    Faces Places

    ★★★★

    88-year-old Agnes Varda is just a fun person to hang out with, and she has a great relationship with a sunglassed young artist named JR. Together they travel the French countryside bringing art and joy to the ordinary people they meet. That's really all it is, and it doesn't sound like much, but it's truly wonderful. I recommend.

  • Love in the Afternoon

    Love in the Afternoon

    ★★★★

    It's a great script - an unconventional romantic comedy with some really smart one-liners. The photography, which at times seems candle-lit, is sumptuous and alluring. Audrey Hepburn is radiant and a pleasure to watch. Maurice Chevalier is absolutely charming. It all comes down to Gary Cooper, and I know everyone is bothered by his age (only 56, but he looks 70), but I just have to ignore that and appreciate what works right with this movie. Although miscast, he still…