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  • The Lighthouse

    The Lighthouse

    ½

    THE LIGHTHOUSE (Robert Eggars, USA, 2019) 1

    Calm the eff down, Bob. Try. I know you can. THE WITCH was cold and elegant. This is ... something else.

    Everything about THE LIGHTHOUSE — the Direction, the Acting, the Dialogue, the Sound Effects, the Editing (capital letters positively very very necessary) — is trying way the heck too hard. There’s also lengthy actors-workshop scenes of “now, play a drunk” that got under my skin like early Cassavettes. Everything in this movie…

  • Forbidden Paradise

    Forbidden Paradise

    ★★★½

    FORBIDDEN PARADISE (Ernst Lubitsch, USA, 1924) 7

    I probably resisted this for as long as I did simply because it specified that it was about Catherine the Great, whose reign as czarina overlapped the American and French Revolutions. Then I might’ve overlooked the automobile, the smoking, the belly dancers, the hair bobs, the pseudo-Bolsheviks, the “American bank” and the Romanticist attitude toward sexual dalliance. Set it in Flaussenberg or in a later era — THE STUDENT PRINCESS OF OLD ST.…

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  • Leave No Trace

    Leave No Trace

    ★★★★★

    ‪LEAVE NO TRACE (Granik, USA, 2018, 10, was 9)

    This is gonna sound more back-handed than I mean it but a significant part of this film’s greatness is in what it DOESN’T do. There is no war flashback; Foster’s reaction to diegetic helicopter sounds is enough. There is no real father-daughter “confrontation” talk before the last scene, because that isn’t these people. There is no VA-related politicking because people don’t live like issues. There is no elaborate long-term plan. And…

  • 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…