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  • Dragon Inn

    Dragon Inn

    ★★★★

    I've heard that movies by director King Hu can be a slow burn, but that must refer to other works in his oeuvre because this one fucking kicks.

    Is Chu Huei (Polly Shang-Kuan Ling-Feng) a great character, or what? Naturally accepted as an equal among her male counterparts, she's smart, funny, loves her brother, and an excellent fighter. All without telegraphing to the back row that she's a strong female character. She's never an object of romance, and she has…

  • The Outlaw Josey Wales

    The Outlaw Josey Wales

    I liked the ensemble cast, but this could have used a tighter script. Its a criticism of many Eastwood directed flicks. Maybe I just wasn't paying close enough attention? The action was great.

    Interesting to see the depiction of Native Americans. Undoubtably better than earlier, John Ford style westerns, and also undoubtably not up to today's standards.

    Clint Eastwood has really nice hair?

  • The Tell-Tale Heart

    The Tell-Tale Heart

    ★★★★

    Great visual style. If you watch this online be sure to pick a version with high picture quality.

  • Dead Man

    Dead Man

    ★★★★½

    I lack the cinematic vocabulary to describe what seemed so different about Dead Man from the moment it started. Certainly the opening scene on the train has an ingenious, off-beat humor, but it goes deeper than content. Is it the naturalistic lighting? The aspect ratio? The narrow-angle lens? I don't even know if all of these are real terms, or if they apply to this movie. Part of me wants to be the kind of cinephile who can immediately label…

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    ★★★★½

    I can't even talk about this coherently because I loved it so much. It was incredible. It hit me on so many levels.

    Also, okay, the way they handle the message about "cops are good" and "people who don't like cops are bad" wasn't great. But everything around that fact is still incredible, and makes up for it?

    Jesus, those colors.

    I want to hug and kiss every single Spider-Man/Woman.

    P.S. I love that we start in the same continuity…

  • El Dorado

    El Dorado

    ★★★½

    A couple of days ago I praised Red River, another Hawks / Wayne production, for its fast, action-packed script. El Dorado is less deft, but only barely. We get tons of action, and none of the two hour runtime feels wasted. I would have liked to see more development from Robert Mitchum's sherif in detox. The performances are just so-so (John Wayne is really showing his age), but the characters are all fun. There's a lightness to the script that…

  • Alice's Wonderland

    Alice's Wonderland

    ★★★★

    Alice's Wonderland trucks in animation tropes that were popular at the time, but does so bigger and arguably better than its contemporaries. Many cartoons of the time liked to show real live animators at work, and since Windsor McCay, dreams have been used to frame animated fancies. This film also serves as a conceptual predecessor to later Disney projects like The Reluctant Dragon (a partially animated tour of Disney animation studios) and Mary Poppins (a blend of live-action and animation).

    The animators here show preference for movement and multiple characters over well-detailed environments. It's not my preference, but it's hard to argue with their results.

  • Silverado

    Silverado

    ★★½

    Silverado is a film with great character moments but absolutely no narrative thrust. We spend inordinate time rounding up the central quartet, only for them to disband almost immediately... and then get back together later. It's not until literally one hour in that any character get a clear motivation. Even then, I couldn't really follow the separate arcs or remember why particular characters were drawn together. The script clearly needed some work.

    On the other hand, we get a lively…

  • Rhythm 21

    Rhythm 21

    Movie: ◻️

    Me: ok.

    Movie: ⬛

    Me: 🤯

  • The Red Turtle

    The Red Turtle

    ★★★★★

    Is this an immigrant story, a refugee story? A dark-skinned man in a small boat is shipwrecked. He washed up, barely alive, on the shores of a strange land. It seems that reading is there if you want it.

    The Red Turtle is told with a greater sense of physical scale than any other animated film I can think of. Composed almost entirely in long shots, the nameless protagonist is constantly dwarfed by his environment. And what a beautiful environment…

  • The X from Outer Space

    The X from Outer Space

    ★★★

    A silly, fun sci-fi monster movie told with color and music. The miniature work is charming beyond belief. The first half might be a little dull, but the swinging 60s style is helps it go down easy. The second half has great long sequences of a rubber-suit kaiju destroying cities and contending with military vehicles. I could have spaced out and watched those forever.

  • Wonder Woman

    Wonder Woman

    ★★★

    I think I need to accept that these DC Animated films are never going to be as good as other movies. Characterization, for example, does not seem to be a priority of the studio. Characters are often broad archetypes, and their large moments are unbelievably rushed. You get that here too.

    If I just accept that, Wonder Woman is actually decent, and possibly better than any of the DC animated Batman movies I've seen so far. The fight scenes are…