A Free Soul (1931)

The Big Speech Some movies are theatrical in the sense that all their values and methods are derived from stage values. This is one. Some movies are in that sweet spot after talkies got going and before the code was enforced, so they have a vitality that is lacking for a few decades afterwards. This… Continue reading A Free Soul (1931)

20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932)

Graphic As I write this, “Shawshank Redemption” is IMDB’s number two top movie of all time. I find that absolutely fascinating. The prison movie isn’t quite a genre to itself because the story possibilities vary so. But there is a definite collection of cinematic devices that are used in nearly all of them, only “Silence… Continue reading 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932)

Home Alone 3 (1997)

The Fighting Child Is there a more interesting case study than John Hughes? He invented a new genre and incidentally opened a new strain of cinematic techniques. But writing is like other major enterprises in life. Each hit on the pool ball does three things; it attempts to score, it completely changes the environment and… Continue reading Home Alone 3 (1997)

Seven-Up! (1964)

This did not start as a folded adventure. It is a quite ordinary TV documentary. But it became so in later installments by Apted, where the interviews are largely about how the films affected their lives.

16 Blocks (2006)

Blockage Sometimes it is just the man. It is not a new thing that movies promote personality and that certain personalities find their time. One type is the everyman. James Stewart was of this variety. Not a great man or suave. Not a lover or hero. Bruce Willis mines this type. I have no idea… Continue reading 16 Blocks (2006)

Replay (2003)

21 Comments I saw this under the title of ’21 Eyes’. I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a movie good, or better, what makes it likeable. It seems there are all sorts of paths into likability. The emotional engagement, the world that surrounds it, the titillation, the challenge. Sometimes it is not the… Continue reading Replay (2003)

7 Plus Seven (1970)

We Discover The way I think of films is that every film is first about other films and incidentally about life. In referencing or extending our film experience — and at the same time providing tools for folding that experience into life — movies give us tools for life. Or for dreaming, which is much… Continue reading 7 Plus Seven (1970)

Flirting (1991)

A Caning for Love Heavens be thanked for how Australians and New Zealanders have revived the acting element of film. Everything in the country seems set up to produce performing artists, even talent writers that understand acting, where Brazil produces soccer players and the US lawyers. Here you have three your actresses in essentially their… Continue reading Flirting (1991)

I Cover the War! (1937)

Picture Snatcher Before ‘Stagecoach’ turned John Wayne into a celebrated wooden actor, he was a an ordinary uncelebrated one in a series of odd projects. Probably the most interesting of these odd deals is this movie. It doesn’t seem to be rentable. In terms of the actual production, it is the standard mess, made a… Continue reading I Cover the War! (1937)