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Bryan has written 47 reviews for films rated ★★★★★ during 2015.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The End of St. Petersburg

    The End of St. Petersburg

    ★★★★★

    The spirit of revolution is powerful in Pudovkin's worker's strike-turned-rebellion recounting of the revolution. It's bitter and angry with the rich ultimately declaring war with Germany simply as a way to nullify the worker's revolt, and profiting massively from it. The Bolshevik/proletarian conflict is viciously and convincingly depicted and seems very relevant today. Apparently this film was commissioned, along with Eisenstein's October, to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the revolution. Eisenstein's film is a massive epic, but this movie…

  • Deliverance

    Deliverance

    ★★★★★

    One of the greatest man vs. nature films ever made, with mythic overtones that border on too much. The photography is outstanding in bluray. The movie has barely aged.

  • The Burmese Harp

    The Burmese Harp

    ★★★★★

    A touching story about a platoon of Japanese soldiers trying to find one of their comrades at the end of the war. It's great to see a war movie about the Japanese with sympathetic characters. In fact, there are no villains here except the war itself. The story is deeply affected by its setting in Burma - even though it was filmed in Japan (which means a few unconvincing rear screen shots). It's an anti-war film, but it's also a deeply felt human drama that has little to do with warfare.

  • Diabolique

    Diabolique

    ★★★★★

    Hitchcock has many imitators but no film comes as close to capturing Hitchcock's style as Clouzot's Diabolique, and yet the film never feels like an imitation. Between this and Wages of Fear he could have easily taken Hitchcock's "Master of Suspense" crown if he wanted to. According to IMDB: When director Henri-Georges Clouzot bought the film rights to the original novel, he reportedly beat Alfred Hitchcock by only a matter of hours.

  • Safety Last!

    Safety Last!

    ★★★★★

    Even without the astounding building-scaling climax, Safety Last is a masterpiece of simple comic storytelling.

  • Chinatown

    Chinatown

    ★★★★★

    Chinatown is one of many 70s films that tears down institutions and acknowledges corruption, greed, and even more vile things. It's interesting that where most 70s movies ended up is where most movies start out today. Of course the bad guys are rich businessmen, government officials, or basically anyone in power. Is it any wonder that my generation is pretty much known for its apathy? It will be interesting to see if we will ever regain our trust in authority. It's also interesting how much Chinatown tries to be a 50s noir film, but the music score and the modern acting betray the 70s.

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    ★★★★★

    I feared it couldn't live up to the hype, but it does, and now we have the best car chase movie ever made. It's not just the well-done action, but the abundance of colorful characters, inventiveness, humor, and richly detailed world that makes it work. If only the ending was as good as the Road Warrior (and if only Tom Hardy had Mel Gibson's innate charm).

  • Apollo 13

    Apollo 13

    ★★★★★

    Apollo 13 is a magnificent and stunning film and the reason I don't complain about Ron Howard too much.

  • Animals Are Beautiful People

    Animals Are Beautiful People

    ★★★★★

    One of the most entertaining and well-made nature docs I've ever seen, from the director of "The Gods Must Be Crazy" (which believe it or not has four sequels).

  • Treasures from American Film Archives

    Treasures from American Film Archives

    ★★★★★

    This review is just for the third part of a five part collection of preserved and restored early films from the American Film Archives. The restoration process alone makes them worthwhile - for some films a negative no longer remains. Each frame of film was originally printed onto paper, and the film has been recreated from these printed archives. Most of these films are shorts, newsreels, and even commercials that would otherwise never see the light of day. The third…