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  • Metallica: A Year and a Half in the Life Of...

    Metallica: A Year and a Half in the Life Of...

    ★★★★★

    Metallica is aptly named for so many reasons besides the obvious one of being the same name as the band who birthed it over a difficult period, and resulting in the one thing which has defined their legacy in rock music above everything that came before, and certainly after. That someone was there to film it all being done is one of those dumb luck things documentaries sometimes are, capturing history the moment it happens.

    It's also an appropriate title…

  • Ad Astra

    Ad Astra

    ★★★★

    I usually make a point of it not to talk about other films in a review unless absolutely necessary. But sometimes it is absolutely necessary and here it certainly is. I read a quote from James Gray before it's release of how he saw it as a cross between 2001: A Space Odyssey and Apocalypse Now. While this certainly makes obvious homages to 2001 (frankly it's better when movies like this steer towards instead of away from it's influence), I…

  • Steve Hackett: Genesis Revisited Band & Orchestra: Live at the Royal Festival Hall

    Steve Hackett: Genesis Revisited Band & Orchestra: Live at the Royal Festival Hall

    ★★★★

    One of the more interesting splintering paradoxes of popular music is the history of Genesis. In the mid-80's you were hard-pressed not to hear the influence of some of it's individual members on the radio and on MTV, and the band itself enjoyed what was it's biggest international success while it's former frontman was himself now a pop star. Even former guitarist Steve Hackett, whose own solo career never quite hit the same peaks, was involved with a minor hit…

  • Where the Money Is

    Where the Money Is

    ★★

    Producers Ridley and Tony Scott's names only appear when Paul Newman is on screen during the opening credits, a shrewdly smart move on their part in maybe making this look better than what it is. Fortunately they got much better at producing, but the fact this is Newman's last starring role is a bit sad. An incredibly stale attempt at a breezy comedy caper, utterly of it's time. It's kind of weird seeing it in such high definition as it is on Netflix, as I'm guessing it's only been on non-anamorphic DVD this whole time.

  • David Crosby: Remember My Name

    David Crosby: Remember My Name

    ★★★★

    I'm a big fan of his recent renaissance. Starting with his 2014 album Croz he revitalized his reputation apart from just being part of another band that, as he puts it, turns on the smoke machine and plays the hits. His presence on social media, Twitter especially has helped. In my eyes, he's perhaps the most real "celebrity" on there. I've had a few interactions with him myself, and found him as honest, sharp and concise as the director and…

  • Heat

    Heat

    ★★★★★

    Putting aside the broadest notions of what people can consider a Western, this is the closest film Al Pacino and Robert De Niro could ever have come to doing one. At least doing so while remaining so close to the mannerisms and approaches to dialogue and emotions they have been known for, for careers collectively coming up on their 6th decade. I've heard this loosely described as a gangster film, and find that to be erroneous for obvious reasons but…

  • The Grand Tour Presents: Seamen

    The Grand Tour Presents: Seamen

    ★★★½

    Watching them take the high tides is the most uncomfortable I ever felt watching them. The mess in Argentina, handling the death roads and super high altitudes in South America, driving away from the angry rednecks and into a biblical rainstorm on an Alabama highway (with faulty windscreen wipers), even all of the times Richard Hammond crashed don't come close to the palpable fear you saw in their eyes.

  • The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story

    The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story

    ★★★½

    The meta event of Syd showing up at the Wish You Were Here recording session, as fully different a person from who he was several years before as one could be in such time, is something honestly stranger than fiction and could never be as properly dramatized as the way the members of Pink Floyd and those who were there remember the event. It was the event of his initial absence that was the initial thread upon which Roger Waters…

  • No Country for Old Men

    No Country for Old Men

    ★★★★★

    My first reaction was that it felt like a thunderstorm with no rain. Mainly referring to the sound, which echoes it's barren setting. The majority of it is done with no score, and within that it made the silence more menacing and moments of violence more affecting. Tension is ratcheted up in more intimate ways, and the focus on what the main characters do with the slightest body language is more in focus.

  • The Big Lebowski

    The Big Lebowski

    ★★★★★

    The greatest thing I can say about this is that I once used it to combat a growing depression from watching too much cable news and it worked. I laughed harder at it than I did years before when I first watched it with my brother when we were teens when it was first on premium cable. All the cache it has now wasn't there in 1999, a year after it came and went at the box office and confounded critics and audiences. A major curveball for them after the success of Fargo, but a pleasant channel-surfing discovery for me.

  • The Irishman

    The Irishman

    ★★★★★

    A dirge.

    Sergio Leone's final film Once Upon A Time In America features a sequence with a dirge for the upcoming prohibition. It also features Robert De Niro as a man both young and old, carrying the regret that only comes with the wisdom of his years. It's one of his finest performances, and one that is not as remembered as well as his more well-known work. Someone who did take obvious note is Martin Scorsese, who would make obvious…

  • The Friends of Eddie Coyle

    The Friends of Eddie Coyle

    ★★★★★

    70's cool slathered with the grimy New England working class criminal aesthetic. An old dog learning new tricks in Robert Mitchum, as he would shortly after in The Yakuza and Farewell, My Lovely. With a sickly sweet Dave Grusin score that feels like the cherry on top. It's deep influence on crime films of later generations can be felt, and the kind of career reinvention this was for Mitchum would be similarly echoed as well.