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  • Falkenau, the Impossible

    Falkenau, the Impossible

    ★★★★

    I discussed the origins of this footage in my new podcast with Fuller expert Marsha Gordon, but this is really something else. While the footage itself is haunting, I'm consumed with the image of Fuller sitting in his chair while narrating these past events. His clear and terse voice gives a no-nonsense characterization of what occurred there, talking about the need to witness and the role of visual testimony. This proto-director's commentary is an essential document of not just a filmmaker but more importantly a moment in when questions of history are debated when visual evidence remains so essential.

  • The Steel Helmet

    The Steel Helmet

    ★★★★

    Discussed with Marsha Gordon on the latest podcast, and a textbook example of how a writer-director can make a war movie about a contemporary moment that is political without having a stated politics. Both the DOD and the communist papers interpreted Fuller's politics as against their own position. It's of course humanizing (or enraging?) to think that even 60 years ago, the confusion between depiction and endorsement has been brewing. But what's most important is how Fuller could even make this film work neither as a diatribe nor as propaganda, but simply and brutally showing the life of a soldier.

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  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    ★★

    For years, Hollywood and the surrounding Culture Wars have asked a question: Do Critics Matter? It's a frankly boring question, but the main anxiety has developed out of a growing disconnect between Rotten Tomatoes Favorites and the American Box Office. But Disney and their expanding intellectual properties have put a new spin on this story: critics don't matter, but studios deliberately position / design films to harness their words in order to enter The Cultural Conversation. Their movies are no…

  • Moonrise Kingdom

    Moonrise Kingdom

    ★★★★★

    I could talk about how this film's structure finally achieves the blissful melancholy that has been at the heart of all of Wes Anderson's films. I could talk about the precision of his framing and tracking shots, and how often he finds visual comedy through a perfect edit, or the slight entrance of new material into the frame. I could talk about how depressing the film is, the hints of both a traumatizing past, and that in a way, Sam…