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  • Stalker

    Stalker

    ★★★★★

    Stalker has long seemed to me the quintessential entry point to Tarkovsky. Thanks to the starting point of the Strugatsky Brothers’ sci-fi novella Roadside Picnic, on which it is based, it’s a less explicitly personal and esoteric work compared to much else Tarkovsky made in the same time period – even its cousin in sci-fi adaptation, Solaris, is far more up the creek in its willingness to indulge auteurial asides. By comparison, Stalker is a fleet and disciplined narrative, with…

  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service

    On Her Majesty's Secret Service

    ★★★★½

    "The only saving grace of slogging through James Bond in order is that when things really shake up, they register with much greater immediacy and urgency than if isolated. Thus, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, in a flurry of ideas and images, explodes with a furiousness unrivalled in the rest of the series. It took seven films and the departure of its originating superstar, but the Bond series finally made a consciously thoughtful and heartfelt contribution to pop cinema."

    Threw down some notes and accompanying image analysis over at Seattle Screen Scene: seattlescreenscene.com/2017/09/11/on-her-majestys-secret-service-peter-r-hunt-1969/

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  • Knight of Cups

    Knight of Cups

    ★★★★½

    So simple, and yet it almost totally eluded me on last viewing: Malick's main musical motifs here - Grieg's "Ases dod," Kilar's "Exodus," Part's "Silouan's Song" and Vaughn Williams' "Fantasia" - all naturally build to ecstatic resolutions through repetition and release; undulating waves of emotion that emerge not so much as a climaxes but as walls of sheer catharsis. Encountering each of these pieces in the context of a late Malick work invites eager anticipation - who couldn't after the…

  • Godzilla

    Godzilla

    ★★★½

    An experience of abject terror; almost certainly the most horrifying blockbuster since Spielberg's WAR OF THE WORLDS (with none too few Spielbergian touches here, too, spiced quite well). Clunky story and character elements abound but matter little, so thoroughly does Edwards succeed in grounding the mayhem, always glimpsed from afar through human eyes. Even the anonymous "star" casting of Aaron Taylor-Johnson (surrounded by a who's who of character actors) works in subversive fashion against his own script's Hero's Journey, opposed…