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Krull (1983)
A world light-years beyond your imagination.
Director: Peter Yates
Action
Adventure
Fantasy
Science Fiction

A prince and a fellowship of companions set out to rescue his bride from a fortress of alien invaders who have arrived on their home planet.

Organic There may still be people who watch projects like this for adventure. Heck, there are even people who get their theology from such stuff, currently “Rings” and “Matrix.” But for me, the allure is a matter of style. This film was conceived in the shadow of 1979s...


Published February 26, 2023
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All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
They left for war as boys never to return as men.
Director: Lewis Milestone
Drama
War

A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I. Together with several other young German soldiers, he experiences the horrors of war, such evil of which he had not conceived of when signing up to fight. They eventually become sad, tormented, and confused of their purpose.

The March These things fascinate me: films that are about something but are presented in a way that contradicts that something. Often it is a film whose message is to strive for the extraordinary, but the film itself is strictly formulaic. Here we have something much more...


Published February 14, 2023
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About Schmidt (2002)
Schmidt Happens.
Director: Alexander Payne
Drama
Comedy

A recently retired man embarks on a journey to his estranged daughter's wedding, only to discover more about himself and life than he ever expected.

Which Film? Brando invented the modern acting technique of giving you two films: the one in which the characters exist, and another in which the actors exist. Nicholson has developed that into something rather clever. The basic job is the same, to inhabit a character and...


Published February 12, 2023
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A Real Young Girl (1976)
A surreal voyage into adolescent sexuality.
Director: Catherine Breillat
Drama

Bored and restless, Alice spends much of her time lusting after Jim, a local sawmill worker. When not lusting after him, Alice fills the hours with such pursuits as writing her name on a mirror with vaginal secretions and wandering the fields with her underwear around her ankles. And, in true teenaged tradition, she spends a lot of time writing in her diary.

Another Alice Although blunt and clumsy, this film transports one — especially a male — to a place never visited. That's in part because of the unflinching honesty of the narrative stance; never wavering from the girl’s perspective. It it were more familiar territory, like Jane...


Published December 24, 2022
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A Girl in Black (1956)
Director: Mihalis Kakogiannis
Romance
Drama

Against the backdrop of a cloudless summer, love's unforeseen complications will entwine an Athenian writer, a morosely beautiful daughter, and a scorned local suitor. And then, calamity strikes. Can love redeem the sad girl in black?

Do Greek Villagers Deserve Ice Cream? A small drama, lots of contrasts. Cruel jokes, innocent deaths. The story told by the filmmaker of the writer; the implied story told by the writer, and the stories confabulated by the villagers and imposed on their peers. These three...


Published December 24, 2022
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From Here to Eternity (1953)
Pouring out of impassioned pages...brawling their way to greatness on the screen!
Director: Fred Zinnemann
War
Romance
Drama

In 1941 Hawaii, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second in command are falling in love.

The Rule of Threes My own estimation is that this is a pretty poor movie cinematically, with the exeption of the then-shocking juicy exuberance of the beach scene. But it is crackling good storytelling and that overcomes the wooden direction and uninspired acting. I’m a believer in the...


Published December 24, 2022
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1984 (1984)
George Orwell's terrifying vision comes to the screen.
Director: Michael Radford
Drama
Science Fiction
Romance

George Orwell's novel of a totalitarian future society in which a man whose daily work is rewriting history tries to rebel by falling in love.

Is What It Shows It is a pet peeve of mine to discover films whose point is undermined by its container. Most of these are the trivial case of movies about taking chances and being unique, but the form of the movie is the complete opposite. What...


Published December 15, 2022
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102 Dalmatians (2000)
Meet Two Unlikely Heroes With A Bone To Pick.
Director: Kevin Lima
Family
Comedy

Get ready for a howling good time as an all new assortment of irresistible animal heroes are unleashed in this great family tail! In an unlikely alliance, the outrageous Waddlesworth - a parrot who thinks he's a Rottweiler - teams up with Oddball - an un-marked Dalmatian puppy eager to earn her spots! Together they embark on a laugh-packed quest to outwit the ever-scheming Cruella De Vil.

Character Engineering Disney has the world’s most advanced character lab. That’s what these kinds of movies depend on. What we see are the broad strokes, but what’s more interesting are all the little touches that are added based on the science of discovery through tests. It all...


Published December 15, 2022
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Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple: 4:50 from Paddington (1987)
Director: Martyn Friend
Crime
Mystery
TV Movie

Travelling on the 4.50 from Paddington, Mrs McGillicuddy witnesses a murder on a passing train - but where is the body?

Missed Train The Marple stories — many of them — are lessons in narrative placement. We start with the basic notion of the mystery narrator shuffling through multiple created realities looking for what makes sense. Marple turns that into the clever notion of detection as gossip:...


Published December 12, 2022
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36 Fillette (1988)
Director: Catherine Breillat
Drama
Romance

Lili, a pouty and voluptuous 14-year-old, is caravan camping with her family in Biarritz. She's self-aware and holds her own in a café conversation with a concert pianist she meets, but she has a wild streak and she's testing her powers over men, finding that she doesn't always control her moods or actions, and she's impatient with being a virgin. She sets off with her brother to a disco, latching onto an aging playboy who is himself hot and cold to her. She is ambivalent about losing her virginity that night, willing the next, and determined by the third.

Evenings of Cabiria In the late seventies, actress/writer Breillat made a film (“Young Girl”) about the nearly suicidal angst of female sexual discovery/fantasy. It is worth watching for the raw honesty, but it misses being a whole film. Five years later, she wrote a Fellini film,...


Published December 6, 2022
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