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  • The Graduate

    The Graduate

    ★★★★

    The Graduate is a bit of an oddity to me. I have watched it a number of times over the years. And I love it. It makes me laugh. It has fun and inventive camera-work. It feels both of its time - a wonderful capsule of the 60's, but with themes that are of relevance to modern sensibilities. You could make the case that the lack of understanding between generations (certainly as depicted in the media) is wider than it…

  • Brexit: The Uncivil War

    Brexit: The Uncivil War

    ★★

    I admire James Graham’s ambition. It is extraordinarily difficult to construct compelling and insightful films about current events. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and perhaps for certain dramas it is a necessary thing. Turning real events into comprehensible narratives requires scenes to be invented, events to be selected, motivations guessed at, time compressed and characters amalgamated. When these real events are still in people's minds, these acts of selection and invention become a bone of contention. Reading reviews and articles…

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  • Swing Time

    Swing Time

    ★★★½

    There is much to admire in Swing Time. It is perhaps the best of the nine RKO Astaire-Rogers musicals. It is certainly a better picture than Top Hat. It is funnier, pacier and the song and dance routines are more dazzling and elegant. And the plot is less annoying – and more importantly so is Fred Astaire.

    You see I have always found the characters Astaire plays a little too smarmy. There is always an air of deception and mistrust…

  • On the Waterfront

    On the Waterfront

    ★★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Sam Spiegel wanted Frank Sinatra to play Terry Malloy. But Elia Kazan dug his heels in. He wanted someone else. And so in 1954, Marlon Brando was cast – and American cinematic acting took a great leap forward. Brando had been on screen before and the Method had been around since the 40’s. But in Streetcar Brando is so electrifying he throws the film off balance. It is after all meant to be Blanche’s story not Stanley’s. But here Kazan…