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  • Wall Street

    Wall Street

    ★★★★

    Oversimplified and heavy-handed, “Wall Street” is an allegory worthy of The Pilgrim’s Progress, only adapted for 1980s America. Like all allegories, the film is full of symbols, yet in the case of “Wall Street,” the allegory itself has become a symbol as a whole. Today, even those who’ve never seen the whole film, recognize it as representative of the corporate greed, immoral materialism, and overall superficiality which is supposed to have dominated the Reagan years. This is a testament to…

  • Shrek 2

    Shrek 2

    ★★½

    An adequate sequel to the first film. If you liked the original, you'll find this one pleasantly familiar. Same characters, same humor, same celebrity voices, same references to fairy tales, same feel-good morality.

    For myself, the best parts were the appearances of music by Tom Waits and Nick Cave in the soundtracks. Outside of that, it was an mildly entertaining film that could just as easily be ignored as watched. It did it's job, no more, no less.

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  • Captain Blood

    Captain Blood

    ★★★½

    Making impressive use of large scale sets, detailed miniatures, and explosive effects, director Michael Curtiz lets production values do their job in “Captain Blood.” Combined with Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s heroic, trumpet-blasting soundtrack, the visuals of this film must have provided terrific escapist pleasures for Depression-ravaged Americans. I can imagine the boys in the audience being thrilled by the surprising amount of violence, with guns going off, swords clashing, and ships exploding. One man even gets impaled on a grappling hook!…

  • Barren Lives

    Barren Lives

    ★★★

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

    If you’re ever feeling like things are going bad for you, go ahead and take a gander at “Barren Lives” and you’ll realize you’re pretty lucky. The movie basically plots one family’s move from absolute desperation to base poverty back to desperation. And the film’s visuals overall match the desolation of its plot. There is almost no musical soundtrack, outside of at an extended night-time festival scene and the occasional screeching drone of rusty cart wheels. The landscapes and interior…