Tim Brayton

UW-Madison PhD student, and film critic at AlternateEnding.com

Favorite films

  • Casablanca
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • His Girl Friday
  • Suspiria

Recent activity

All
  • Cruel, Cruel Love

    ★★½

  • His Favorite Pastime

    ★★★

  • Tango Tangles

    ★★★

  • Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

    ★★★

Recent reviews

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  • Cruel, Cruel Love

    Cruel, Cruel Love

    ★★½

    It's interesting to see Chaplin get a chance to do something completely outside of his wheelhouse - in this case, hammily over-act the emotional anguish and later the psychosomatic death throes of a damp upper-class midwit in the middle of a broad parody of melodramas. But it also demonstrates the reason that people have wheelhouses to begin with. And not only does Cruel, Cruel Love fail to showcase any of Chaplin's particular strengths, it's also a pretty odd and uncomfortable…

  • His Favorite Pastime

    His Favorite Pastime

    ★★★

    Chaplin's initial rise to success on stage was in large part thanks to his gift for drunk scenes, and it's fun to be able to see it on film - this was, after Kid Auto Races at Venice, only his second proper "belligerent drunk" role, and this is focused much more on that than the earlier film. He's pretty great at it, moving with a precisely imprecise waver and getting his whole body going in a kind of constant state…

Popular reviews

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  • Judas and the Black Messiah

    Judas and the Black Messiah

    ★★★

    In retrospect, of course Warner Bros. wasn't going to put out a movie that genuinely grappled with Fred Hampton's revolutionary politics, and it's on me that I was idiot enough to wonder if they might. Instead, despite a couple quotes from Marxist literature, and one appearance each by the words "socialism" (at the start) and "proletariat" (at the end; also, I might have missed a "proletariat" in there, I wasn't really thinking to count it), this mostly turns Hampton into…

  • Detainment

    Detainment

    So first, I can't imagine how damn stupid you'd have to be to think you could get away with telling this story this way without getting life rights from the survivors, or heavily anonymising the details, or ideally both.

    Let's say you've decided not to care about any of that. That still leaves the question of what reason there is to tell this story. What is the viewer supposed to get from this? Is it just to grind our faces…