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  • Tonka of the Gallows

    Tonka of the Gallows

    ★★★★

    TONKA OF THE GALLOWS (Anton, Czechoslovakia, 1930, 8)

    So superbly directed and with such a star-actress performance that it’s hard to believe that neither Karel Anton nor actress Ita Rina meant anything to me before today (and looking up their careers, nothing but her earlier EROTIKON even rings a bell). Had to look up Matthew 21:31 (which this French print of a basically silent film didn’t subtitle), but yeah ... the whores and tax collectors will enter the Kingdom before…

  • Darkest Hour

    Darkest Hour

    ★★

    DARKEST HOUR (Wright, Britain, 2017, 4)

    More like DARKEST 2 HOURS ... amirite?? But without Kristin Scott Thomas classing up da joint as an actual human being, that 4 would be lower. While I didn’t spot “that’s Gary Oldman,” his performance is still abominable, cranking all of Churchill’s real-life personality tics up to 11, basically giving us WC Fields with a toff accent. People, mostly on the right, who complained about DUNKIRK not giving enough credit to The Great Churchill…

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  • Everybody Wants Some!!

    Everybody Wants Some!!

    ★★★★½

    EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! (Linklater, USA, 2016, 9)

    What I want to say sounds oxymoronic, but … Linklater has succeeded in making an uncritical critique of nostalgia. On one level this film is 200-proof, capital-N Nostalgia, completely self-absorbed in its era, in the filmmaker's own biography, and in the hanging-out vibe it encourages (there is no plot, per se; with a couple of thereby-significant caveats, below). It's an easy life to view through rose-tinted glasses -- the last weekend before classes…

  • A Quiet Passion

    A Quiet Passion

    ★★★★½

    A QUIET PASSION (Terence Davies, Britain, 2017) 9 R

    On second view, A QUIET PASSION (a title that could not unreasonably be paraphrased A LOVE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK) transparently became what I inchoately inferred on first view — Terence Davies’s spiritual autobiography regarding his own deeply conflicted homosexuality, through a felt kinship with Emily Dickinson on that score.

    Davies is openly gay but has said often that he’d rather it weren’t so — he is celibate and it “ruined…