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All reviews - Movies (34) - TV Shows (1)

Masochistic Melodies

Posted : 7 years, 6 months ago on 26 October 2013 05:10 (A review of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?)

You know how they say incest causes deformed children? If "Sunset Blvd." and "Misery" were siblings that had sex, they might create this hideous mutant. An unholy amalgamation of high camp and sickening emotional abuse, it's a symphony of clashing tones, yet works. A fearlessly grotesque Bette Davis performance makes masochists out of everyone watching - appalled, yet enthralled.

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Mr. Freeze and Mrs. Heat

Posted : 7 years, 8 months ago on 14 September 2013 06:07 (A review of Journey to Italy)

Here's a movie about a couple on vacation that made me feel like I was with them, learning about places, cultures, and people. The husband and wife clash when together, then obsess about one another when apart. This implies that a deep marriage is an ironic catch 22, often mercilessly taxing, without ever being completely hopeless...just like life itself.

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MacMurray Meets Mama Marlene

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 7 August 2013 05:07 (A review of The Lady Is Willing (1942))

The usually stern and authoritative Marlene Dietrich reveals previously unexplored reserves of warmth and vulnerability playing a new mother with an infant co-star. Until bad late plot contrivances force her to go over-the-top, she is delightful. Her affectionate and anxious performance believably thaws out an initially cold Fred MacMurray. I felt increasingly fond of her right along with him.

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I Laughed Too

Posted : 7 years, 10 months ago on 12 July 2013 10:28 (A review of They All Laughed)

I'm so glad I saw Quentin Tarantino's recommendation of this overlooked '80s comedy. In her last major role (written for her), Audrey Hepburn gives one of my favourites of her romantic dreamer performances, with a more mature edge. The ensemble cast of big personalities gets into many funny situations and after not speaking until an hour into the picture, Hepburn makes every word count.

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There But For The Grace Goes She

Posted : 7 years, 10 months ago on 21 June 2013 03:57 (A review of Stella Dallas)

I've seen many movies about parents and children struggling with separation. None broke my heart quite like this one. It starts out pleasant - a story of little consequence. The central conflict emerges slowly and subtly. When the full measure of its buried implications emerges, Barbara Stanwyck's performance comes into focus as a beautiful acting achievement of both the 1930s and her career.

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This is Life

Posted : 7 years, 11 months ago on 6 June 2013 12:03 (A review of Before Sunrise)

In a potential relationship, my highest hope is to discover the deepest emotional/philosophical/intellectual connection possible between people. This movie's characters spend most of its running time doing just that via conversation. With extraordinarily natural writing, directing, and acting, "Before Sunrise" conveys the joy and urgency of such an experience better than any other movie I've seen.

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Laugh and Learn

Posted : 7 years, 11 months ago on 2 June 2013 09:42 (A review of The Odd Couple)

Rarely have I seen a picture use cringe humour so effectively. The impeccable rhythm of its writing and performances sneaks a surprising amount of emotion, truth, and insight between laughs. Like many of my favourite comedies, it has substance, lovably/believably flawed characters, and best of all, an ability to make me laugh harder and more often than most things in life!

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What Was Old Is New Again

Posted : 8 years ago on 4 May 2013 07:15 (A review of Farewell, My Lovely)

Robert Mitchum plays Philip Marlowe as the quintessential great character of his career: perpetually exhausted, yet always dogged and dangerous.

Film noir's endless exposition often bores me. This picture charges it up by using electric Raymond Chandler verbosity and crossing a raw, unmistakably '70s look and feel with the restrained storytelling of '30s/'40s classics.

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Beatty's Touchdown

Posted : 8 years ago on 26 April 2013 09:15 (A review of Heaven Can Wait)

The premise of a man killed prematurely, then resurrected in a different body has been used in several movies. This one exploits its comedic and dramatic potential best.

Warren Beatty plays the lead as an absolute darling of a man. His character befuddles a superlatively funny supporting cast, all clearly empowered by a script that's equally rich in hilarity, eloquence, and heart.

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The Blue Angel Rises

Posted : 8 years ago on 20 April 2013 10:02 (A review of The Scarlet Empress)

This fast-paced historical drama feels like an origin story for Marlene Dietrich's screen persona. In it, she evolves plausibly from wide-eyed innocent to the self-assured stately presence of her later films. The extravagant costumes, sets, and direction compliment fun broad performances from a brash and flirtatious John Lodge and Sam Jaffe, seething with resentment behind his Cheshire cat grin.

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