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  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    ★★★★★

    [97]

    [179-minute extended English cut]

    Calling the first entry in Sergio Leone's unofficial Eastwood trilogy, FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, an impressive debut into the world of spaghetti westerns would be putting it lightly—it was a benchmark of the genre and a fundamental assessment of his craftsmanship behind the lens. He laid his skills against the whetstone in every imaginable way merely one year later with FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE; it was longer, slower, more self-assured, grittier, and completely original. Leone…

  • Our Hospitality

    Our Hospitality

    ★★★★★

    [93]

    Not sure I could ever overstate how helplessly I fell in love with this film ; from the opening prologue to the tender closing moments, I was pretty much swooning uncontrollably at one thing or another. Starts off almost like a Chaplin feature, more narratively focused and less overtly comedic, but it's setting up something very special. Keaton's period evocation must've been cozy in 1920 -- watching it now is like a dream; there's something immensely comforting about "simpler"…

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  • Morocco

    Morocco

    ★★★★★

    [94]

    Watched this a little over two weeks ago (7/27 to be exact) and fully intended to revisit it right away, holding off a review for that inevitable second viewing. Time has eluded me, though, as it usually does, and while I do hope to watch this again soon, I need to post my initial thoughts before all these moments escape me. In short: spellbinding, grinding out a heavily impulsive response from me—rapturous without really having to try. Some notes:…

  • Mission: Impossible II

    Mission: Impossible II

    ★★½

    [43]

    Is to MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE what DIE HARDER was to DIE HARD—takes a relatively/modestly intelligent crime-drama-thriller and cakes it into a bloated, balls-out action bonanza, thrusting in a quasi-romantic storyline that feels ripped straight from the corniest nook in James Bond's sprawling repertoire. In fact, the whole thing is just a swollen pastiche of those espionage/action flick smatterings—daredevil car chases, implausible shootouts, an uncountable number of slow-motion frames, explosions for the hell of it, etc.; I guess if that's your…

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  • mother!

    mother!

    ★★★★½

    [84]

    Second viewing, no score change. This is the final post and then I’m done babbling about this movie (for a while, anyway).

    [Heavy spoilers ahead.]

    Second look confirmed that MOTHER! was every bit as good as my initial reaction signified, and it will surely wind up at the top of my “best of 2017” films. Saw it with my wife, who sometimes likes “different” stuff and as the movie ended, she turned to me and said, ”that might be…

  • Once Upon a Time in the West

    Once Upon a Time in the West

    ★★★★

    [80]

    Only my second viewing ever, surprisingly, up a hearty amount from 63, revisited in the wake of this article I wrote about Leone’s “Dollars” trilogy (which, ironically enough, has little-to-nothing to do with this film). THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY was a cinematic staple of my childhood, and my first revisit of it in several years was directly followed by my introduction to ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, and I’m afraid I unfairly tried to…