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  • Volcano

    Volcano

    ★★★

    Anthropologically interesting as a glimpse into an unfamiliar culture, socially interesting in the way it portrays styles of female assertiveness as well as exploitation of women and the indigenous poor, and cinematically interesting both visually and in the way the story turns at the end. Ixcanul would pair nicely with Alfonso Cuarón's Alfonso Cuarón 2018 movie Roma.

  • The Draughtsman's Contract

    The Draughtsman's Contract

    ★★★½

    Peter Greenaway's first narrative feature, produced for British public television's Channel 4, establishes his brand of boroque formalist cinema focused on art and mystery and violations of social norms and customs.

    I first saw The Draughtsman’s Contract when it was released theatrically in the early 1980s and played a three or four day two-show-a-night engagement at the little converted-church indie cinema near the college I attended (and just a few doors down from my apartment). I went to the second…

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  • Passing Strange

    Passing Strange

    ★★★★½

    Filming a stage play is a fool's game; you can't capture the power, intimacy and intensity of a great live show. Spike Lee played that fool's game and won. This is an amazing film.

  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

    The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

    ★½

    Looks like we're just going through the motions at this stage. Move things around on the screen. Plop actors in front of green screen to recite their dialog and execute their choreography. Sorta-kinda integrate them with the animation and backgrounds.

    Martin Freeman is the only actor delivering any nuance. He's still great whenever his pull-on feet aren't visible to distract from his performance. And seriously, the stockings that gave him hairy hobbit legs were sagging at times. Couldn't that have…