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  • Sparrows Can't Sing

    Sparrows Can't Sing

    ★★★★

    A charming, slice-of-publife picture, set in London’s rollicking East End, with such richly drawn and likeable characters I’m surprised it didn’t spin off a full series (the stellar title sequence certainly plays like one). One of those rare watches, bursting with such life that you hope it’ll never end... and when it inevitably does, you feel as though you’ve lost a friend. Or in this case, a whole neighborhood’s worth.

    (Oh, and let me just say, if a young Johnny Cash…

  • This Sporting Life

    This Sporting Life

    ★★★★

    While it certainly merits candidacy, I’m not sure my vote would go to This Sporting Life as the “Greatest British Film of All Time.” Frankly, I wouldn’t even crown it as the “Greatest Lindsay Anderson Film of All Time.” 

    Despite a couple of tremendous central performances, I never really understood how Rachel Roberts could play such a commanding role in Marlon Bran... er... Richard Harris’s self-destructive impulses. I assume most viewers were satisfied with the subtextual cues, but I would’ve liked a scene…

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  • Bad Day at Black Rock

    Bad Day at Black Rock

    ★★★★

    I’ve always had trouble defining film noir. I once sat in on a friend’s university class on the subject during a screening of Red Rock West. I suppose it was my formal introduction to the genre and it must’ve made quite an impression on me because since then, I’ve subconsciously held John Dahl’s 1993 neo-noir thriller as the standard. Anytime I’m unsure of whether or not a film meets the nebulous criteria, I ask myself, “does it feel like Red Rock West?”…

  • Bad Boy Bubby

    Bad Boy Bubby

    ★★★★

    I’ve avoided this one for ages, as its reputation seems to emphasize the trashier elements, but don’t be fooled as I was, fellow snobs; Bad Boy Bubby is legitimate, thoughtfully crafted and performed cinema. While that first half hour will undoubtedly appeal to the schlock-hound set, it’s really only the staging ground for a much more expansive and sophisticated story.

    Bubby’s expulsion from what is essentially the womb into a world on the brink of anarchy makes for some of the…