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  • Reto a la vida

    Reto a la vida

    ★★½

    Lesser Bracho, but it gains a little cogency from an allegorical level to the narrative that suggests (contrary to the mainstream of opinion in those years) that the logical-positivism of the neoliberal Social Welfare agenda isn't adequate to the task of addressing the corruption and imbalances embedded in Mexico's legal code.

    (I'll give J B a pass on the Incurable Movie Illness if it turns out that this can be read as commenting on the ideology of Rio Escondido... next week when I watch Rio Escondido.)

  • The Man with Wax Faces

    The Man with Wax Faces

    ★★★

    One of the cluster of very early Maurice Tourneur two-reelers made before he went to Hollywood; the 'pictorial' grace he's noted for isn't in evidence, but it's a strong, tightly-made narrative that navigates a limited space in interesting ways.

    The film's most valuable to me for providing a relatively direct, almost-unmediated look at the kind of material that was being offered at Le Grand Guignol during its heyday. The man with the knife! The bulging eyes, the electric hair!

    Possibly the first film to put forward wax museums as a site of horror? (Leni's Waxworks was six years later...)

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  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona

    Vicky Cristina Barcelona

    Glib and carelessly-imagined ode to privilege. I tried to ignore my distaste for the superficial artsiness of the characters, but after the scene where the blonde girl decided it would be kicks to go to a slummy-looking neighborhood and photograph sex-workers I just couldn't. Esp. when the SW were all "Hello, American Lady Woman! We love you! Come taste the wines and cheeses of my village!"

    Art is one thing, lifestyle-pimping is another.

  • Out 1

    Out 1

    ★★★★

    It's got a gun and it's got a girl, so it's cinema. I think the only thing I can do right now is transcribe the notes I made to myself while I was watching it. Sustained thought? It's usually beyond me... and I want to read up on secondary materials before I commit to anything.

    Episode 1:

    It's absolutely a sequel to L'Amour Fou -- in that one, the characters were struggling against the collapse of meaning, and in this…