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  • Swallows and Amazons

    Swallows and Amazons

    ★★★

    In the innocent era of 1930s England, a mom (Kelly Macdonald) whose husband is away at sea for the summer, vacations to the Lake Country with her brood of five cute-as-the-dickens kids. The older four of the children are allowed to go on a boating excursion by themselves to a small island in the middle of the local lake, where they encounter a couple of local girls with which they enjoy a mock pirate battle (their boat "Swallow" vs. the…

  • Person to Person

    Person to Person

    ★★★½

    Four stories of contemporary New York city life are intercut to good effect in this sprawling, mumblecore-ish film. In the main story, an insecure NY News reporter (Michael Cera) is following a possible murder story with his female intern (Abbi Jacobson). In the course of their investigation they encounter an elderly watch repairer (Philip Baker Hall), whose friends serve as an observing chorus of sorts. In parallel stories, which never quite intersect, a record collector is ripped off trying to…

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  • El Topo

    El Topo

    ★★★★★

    The New York Times contacted me today for background about my review of El Topo that was published in the L.A. Free Press on April 23, 1971. They provided me with a scan of the article, and I'm reposting it here. Maybe 43 years later its verbiage is a little embarrassing; but I stand by what I wrote back then. How often do we get an opportunity to view what we thought about films through the prism of the far…

  • Joy

    Joy

    ★½

    David O. Russell's popularity and reputation for enlightened whimsy eludes me. I can't blame the actors in what has become his "stock company" for my dislike of this film. Rather it must be Russell's mechanistic, by-the-numbers script filled with neurotic characters acting nonsensically. I know I'm out of step with audiences here; so forget that I ever tried to review this film.