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  • Knight and Day

    Knight and Day

    ★★★

    The first act of this is just a delight. James Mangold films the romcom meet cute straight, and then slowly strips it away to reveal the action movie premise underneath. Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz really sell it, with Cruise giving a hilarious performance as the upbeat intelligence agent who has been framed in a very Ethan Hunt-esque manner. The car chase through Boston, with Cruise giving positive encouragement to Diaz as she directs the car through oncoming traffic, is…

  • Knock on Any Door

    Knock on Any Door

    ★★½

    Nicholas Ray’s second film was this labored legal drama about a lawyer (Humphrey Bogart) defending a juvenile delinquent accused of murder (John Derek). This premise makes it a precursor to Rebel Without a Cause, with Ray exploring the societal factors that drove Derek into a position where he could plausibly be compelled to commit such a crime, and paying careful attention to Derek’s adolescent emotional state. In a weird coincidence, This film is also the origin of the phrase, “Live…

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  • Public Enemies

    Public Enemies

    ★★★★½

    A film of big ideas. While the story is well-suited to the same cat-and-mouse thriller structure as Heat, Michael Mann sidesteps that for something more impressionistic and thoughtful, with action scenes that are never glamorous. Mann's previous explorations of the format were often beautiful, but the digital cinematography in Public Enemies is deliberately un-pretty. It strips away the artifice of film production to create a deeper form of immersion. The images have a striking immediacy to them, especially the moments…

  • A Canterbury Tale

    A Canterbury Tale

    ★★★★½

    A stunningly beautiful movie, about life during wartime, and regular people living in an astonishing world. Pastoral, sensitive, sweet. Filled with details and moments that I can't quite get out of my head, from the American soldier's absurd Oregon accent (and his intense cinephilia; "Whaaat? Go to a single feature? Not me!"), to the serene way they capture the feeling of laying in grass, to the overwhelming beauty of the medieval cathedral seen at the end. The entire film is…