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  • Black Legion

    Black Legion

    ★½

    Too naive and simplified for any actual merit of quality. The narrative arc is full of dumbed-down stereotypes that give The Black Legion no depth whatsoever. There is an ignorance and a lack of development to the story. You don’t really understand why Bogart becomes bad, he just does; the amount of build up to any major plot point in the film is next to none. Not to mention it’s slow and boring too. Put boring with bare-bones, Neanderthal storytelling, you’ve got yourself a forgettable movie. That is all.

  • The Friends of Eddie Coyle

    The Friends of Eddie Coyle

    ★★★★

    It’s a very apt title for the film. It’s not necessarily about Eddie Coyle as it is about the criminally underbelly that surrounds him, whether that be following the antics of his connections, etc.

    What makes this film so fascinating to watch is how different from the norm it feels. It’s not like the crime dramas from Scorsese or Coppola. The Friends of Eddie Coyle displays the realm of crime less shown: the finks, the arms dealers, and the ex-felons trying…

  • The Band Wagon

    The Band Wagon

    ★★

    Minelli's sardonic and pessimistic reaction film to Singin' in the Rain. I think it's sad, the film has a lot of potential but wastes pretty much all of it. The Band Wagon is choppy and inconsistent, not really sure what it's trying to be. The story is underdeveloped and rushed, the characters become bipolar and contradicting as a result. Not to mention the musical numbers -- only about a third of them are actually good. Half the time it's too…

  • Harriet

    Harriet

    ★★

    You could try to argue that Harriet has an importance as a film to bring attention to the heroic life of Harriet Tubman, but the truth is, a majority of Americans already know who she is and what she did. In short, this is just dull Oscar bait. The pacing is all over the place; it starts off slow and then rushes through the plot before forgetting to have a resolution. And the score is just awful. It's full of generic emotional swells and lazy background dramatics. There is no life in the music, and nothing to this film. That is all.

  • For All Mankind

    For All Mankind

    ★★★★

    An absolutely stunning collage of the Apollo missions; how they are combined to fit seamlessly together. The thoughts and admirations expressed in the awe of their mission, it's truly touching. It seems so unreal, and yet Al Reinert unfolds it all within 80 minutes of jaw-dropping history and revelation. There is sight: the raw beauty of celestial travel; and there is sound: the memory trail left by the men who went. A fascinating document of man's achievements. That is all.

  • The Rules of the Game

    The Rules of the Game

    ★★★★½

    Every time I finish watching The Rules of the Game, immediately I feel the sudden urge to go back to the start and watch it all over again. Its qualities are so distinctive yet so indescribable.

    All the characters are amusing and engaging in the most pathetic way. The one non-hyperbolic character, Octave, plays a master of ceremonies to the farcical comedy of manners. The third act becomes such a farce that the serious yet bizarre conclusion is ever so…

  • The Mule

    The Mule

    ★★★½

    What's most impressive about The Mule is how a 88 year old can direct, produce, and star in a 2 hour film and make it wildly entertaining. Think about it: when Clint Eastwood was born, FW Murnau was still alive, the pre-code era was just kicking into gear... fascinating.

    This is quality cinematic content, not in a masterpiece context, but as a casual mainstream popcorn context. It's simple and direct, Eastwood does his best to show that old-people are out of touch. Yada yada yada, good flick to watch with my Eastwood-loving parents. That is all.

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    ★★½

    Watching Portrait of a Lady on Fire was a time of reflection, looking back on all the films so similar to it (e.g. Persona, Blue is the Warmest Color, etc), and how they ultimately were better executed than this.

    Not that this is an inherently bad film -- it isn't. I was never bored and there are aspects which are done really well. The lighting and composition work really well, and the film's sparse use of music heightens the power…

  • The Story of a Cheat

    The Story of a Cheat

    ★★★½

    It's more radio production than movie, but all the better for it. You can see how Orson Welles would be inspired by this. Sacha Guitry created his own style of cinematic storytelling: a film not of sight and sound but of sound with sight.

    Like, 95% of the film's dialogue is pure narration, told in a flashback. It allows for a lighthearted, humorous experience, full of bias and egotism. It's wonderfully French, wonderfully 30s, wonderfully Sacha Guitry. That is all.

  • Street of Crocodiles

    Street of Crocodiles

    ★★★★

    "Obviously, we were unable to afford any better"

    I really wish this film was talked about more. There's an existential hopelessness running through the film's apocalyptic confines. A puppet is freed from his chains, but finds nowhere else to go. It's enigmatic and thought-provoking, still trying to fully wrap my head around it. The stop-motion imagery is gorgeous. That is all.

  • The Earrings of Madame de...

    The Earrings of Madame de...

    ★★★½

    So originally i had this at a half-star when i saw this 4-5 years ago. Not really sure why... I remember finding super boring and hating all the characters. As you can probably guess, neither is it boring nor are the characters annoying. Madame de... really shines in its thematic quality, exploring fate and chance through the lens of the 19th century bourgeois. Ophuls can pull off that era better than anybody. That is all.

  • Pépé le Moko

    Pépé le Moko

    ★★★★

    For anyone interested in the style and flair of 30s cinema, Pepe le Moko is a prime watch. The camerawork is agile and modern, the story feels original and alive. Yet the lighting and atmosphere is nostalgically 30s. It's a piece of cinema meant for those who cherish the old, now lost.

    Jean Gabin is excellent here. But what's most worthy of praise is the depiction of our antagonist: Inspector Slimane. His character represents a cinema of no true evil…