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  • The River

    The River

    ★★★★★

    [91]

    After being highly receptive of every Tsai film I’ve seen thus far, I figured it was about time I tried to dive more in-depth about the essence of his very style, and why I find his particular brand of stoicism fundamentally more alluring and captivating than many others’. THE RIVER completely knocked my socks off, and not only does it contain some of the most painfully lingering sequences in Tsai’s canon (and I say that as a good thing),…

  • Raging Bull

    Raging Bull

    ★★★★★

    [100]

    Often misnomered as a "boxing movie," unfairly circumventing the poignant core of RAGING BULL that is Jake's severe sexual inferiority complex, the genesis from which his violent persona is manifested. That he happens to box is not a coincidence, but it's also not the point -- this is certainly not ROCKY -- rather it's an outlet for his rage, a once-sufficient ventilation for his brutality, and a place where such barbarity is not only acceptable but necessary and encouraged.…

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  • The 39 Steps

    The 39 Steps

    ★★★★½

    [82]

    Second viewing ever, though I hardly remember the first as it was an assignment back in my single film-related college class. I did hold it fondly in my memory, though, maybe even surprisingly so, as I wasn’t nearly as keen on “old” movies a decade ago. There’s one pretty glaring oversight that’s lodged like a thorn in the side of THE 39 STEPS : the ol’ “knife in the back” routine, which is a fine if somewhat fractional way…

  • An American in Paris

    An American in Paris

    ★★½

    [48]

    Another entry in the recent saga of "disappointing Jordan Smith," only a matter of time before he unfollows me (or at the very least, begins disregarding my opinions, which I'm sure he does to some degree already). Then again maybe I am just getting too old and curmudgeony and allergic to things that would generally be considered "fun" by most people. Like this. I'm far from what you'd call a musical connoisseur, but my main issue here doesn't even…

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  • Oldboy

    Oldboy

    ★★½

    [49]

    Not trying to dissent; after all, I enjoyed THE HANDMAIDEN for its shlocky, grubby fun, and having heard nothing but praise for OLDBOY, I expected something similar(ish), but also something more. But maybe that was my problem -- the modus operandi here is “shock value,” usually in the form of either [1] torturous, gruesome violence (teeth-related stuff always makes me squirm; this was brutal), or [2] overplotted, harrowing revelations. Reminds me of KILL BILL (funny this should come out…

  • 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…