• Forever a Woman

    Forever a Woman

    ★★★

    Closer to 'classical Hollywood narrative" than the medirtative tataii-mat masters, and it covers some subject matter -- drug addiction, breast cancer/mastectomies, etc -- that you didn't often see in the canonical J classics.

    Maybe I'm dense, but I didn't know or intit this was directed by a woman. Apparent in retrospect, though.

    If anyone goes looking for this, they'll want the former title "The Eternal Breasts."

  • Balloons

    Balloons

    ★★★½

    Extravagant and wack, just what I'm looking for from Fleischers -- tese earlier ones I've been focusing on are a little undercooked in terms of what came later, but this is the most elaborate of the 1923 Koko cartoons I've seen lately. Max and his pen guide Koko through some gentle adventures, but everything gets out of hand. You know how that goes. The boundary between Max's universe and Koko's is way more permeable than you usually get in these training-wheels early ones, and that's always a good thing.

  • The Tale of John and Marie

    The Tale of John and Marie

    ★★½

    Elegant and... nice... with echoes of Arthur Rackham and that other guy... but it's hard for me to imagine many children today having the patience for something so low-key. Times sure have changed...

  • Trilby

    Trilby

    Badly fragmented, a few random scraps remaining,, and I didn't exactly see any "Tourneur pictorialism" like he's most famous for. It never occurred to me before watching this, though, that G. Du Maurier's book and everything that came after are embedded in that wonky Charcotian "psychology" that dominated la Belle Epoque.

    Wait a minute, other B reviews tell me there's a complete version available, and not just the 12 minutes I watched. So fuck me.

  • Tomorrow's Sun

    Tomorrow's Sun

    ★★★½

    Six minutes long; it's like a coming-attractions trailer promoting young actors soon to debut in Shokichu productions. Maybe fake, but I took it at face-value, even when Oshima's irrepressible snark turned it into a satirical critique of Japanese pop-culture. Dee-licious in its brevity.

  • Run for Cover

    Run for Cover

    Kinda restored my belief in the poetics of the Hollywwood western. It's the forgotten one from NickRay's 'crisis of masculinity' trilogy, alongside Revel and Bigger Than Life. The only rel'p Ray can envision for two adult males is surrogate father/surrogate son, and those turn out badly for everyone involved, probably because they're a vehicle for perpetuating destructive ideologies. America America is killing its youth.

  • The Rats

    The Rats

    ★★★

    One of very few movies I can think of that foregrounds the partition of Berlin as a plot element, and it's noir-looking AF, because Siodmak.

  • Rififi

    Rififi

    ★★★

    It's an uber-stylish non-USA noir-oid, but I'm not sure what to do with the self-aggrandizing Apache romance mythology of thugs that slap and floozies that grovel -- wasn't that kinda retro as of 1955? And Act Three was kinda superfluous, the movie had shot its wad by that point. It disappointed me that a French movie would uphold HaysOffice ethics, but yeah, every one of the bad hats got punished by the end.

  • The Third Name

    The Third Name

    Suspense thriller with no suspense and no thrills. Felt like an unusually bad Netflix original.

  • The Trial

    The Trial

    ★★★★

    Probably not much good as an adaptation of Kafka, but it's a phenomenal piece of Wellesism. The 'dream-logic,' so called, is purer and more convincing than any other I can think of, but the most obvious way Welles generates those qualities is through some radical decoupage, with a completely new environment hitting the screen every third shot, often with contrasting tones of lightness and dark between one and the next.

    Should I knock this don to 3.5? Naaah, I'll let it slide.

  • The Headless Horseman

    The Headless Horseman

    ★★½

    Surprisingly faithful to Washington Irving's orig. story, but -- ya know -- Will Rogers' gifts as a performer aren't qualities that played meaningfully in silent film.

  • Sleep Is for Sissies

    Sleep Is for Sissies

    ★★★

    It's clearly a student film, the seams are showing in every possible sense, but Alex Cox' satirical razor is already as sharp and exact as it ever got. "I paint, I draw, I do printmaking, I sculpt, I do macrame, I bake bread. Next week I'm moving to an artist's colony because I can't handle the ugliness and stress of urban life. My father's ex-chauffeur? He's a mime? And he invited me to this commune up in the hills. Seriously, you *like* living downtown? What are you, political?"