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  • Millie

    Millie

    ★★½

    A review somewhere called this a "salacious melodrama," and that is just about perfect.

    Highly missable, but watchable from a historical standpoint: if you want to see the lengths that "Pre-code" Hollywood sometimes went to. Its raciness in depicting the life and many loves of its wounded heroine, who sinks into degradation can be refreshing when one keeps in mind how the Hays Code clamped down on even innuendo just a few years later. The wonderful Joan Blondell appears in…

  • The Violent Men

    The Violent Men

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Big Western themes played out hugely, monumentally, downright operatically, in this Technicolor and Cinemascope Western from 1955. The sweeping, stirring Max Steiner score adds a lot as well!

    I liked the film's unexpectedly complex characters. The first 15 minutes of the film mention the villainous rancher Wilkison over and over, to where we know that it will all erupt into a big battle between peace-loving Civil War veteran Glenn Ford and the mysterious, not-yet-seen Wilkison (who turns out to be…

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  • Youth of the Beast

    Youth of the Beast

    ★★★★

    This tough and lurid 1963 Japanese crime thriller has entered my consciousness like a drug, and, like one of the crime bosses' mistresses, I might find myself screaming, crawling on the floor and falling off an impossibly ornate stairway until I can get more. More of the films of this new find for me, director Seijun Suzuki, that is.

    You are not really certain who the unsmiling thug at the center of the film is, but you're immediately caught by…

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    ★★★★★

    A masterpiece. McDonough's heart is capacious and courageous to take us to such places of brutality and love. Frances McDormand's face as implacable as the billboards her character erects outside of town, decrying the police incompetence in dealing with her daughter's murder. McDormand's portrait of a woman's grief is searing. unforgettable. A great, great film.