Stook's 2005 Movie Suppository
Submitted by stooky on Sun, 01/02/2005 - 11:38
***** = Mammoth Greatness
29 Palms (2002)*1/2
- Tepid, Tarantino-light with pointless technique from an untalented director, proverbiably shooting every scene in the foot by overloading it with crap composition and pointless, jumbled cutting. Any sense of tension is lost in the jumbled mess, leaving the actors to flail at each other, hoping something will happen. Nothing happens however and the film drags on for an interminable 98 minutes then thankfully fades into credits.
A Nouse La Liberte (1931)*****
Aguirre, The Wrath Of God (1974)****1/2
- Aguirre is a minor player on a Spanish expedition of the Brazilian rainforest, an intelligent hunchback obsessed with power and holding the firm belief that he is the only person who can possibly find the lost cities of gold. He and a small group are sent ahead to find water, food or anything else that could help the failing traverses. It is certainly true that he seems the only person equipped to make any actual progress, but his unabashed bloodthirstiness doesn’t endear him to his companions. Aguirre on the other hand uses this chance to vie for power and eventually kill the party general, a dim but gallant individual who simply cannot lead these men. Herzog as usual creates definitive cinematic images, introducing us to breathtaking, claustrophobic jungle that no other filmmaker can, bustling with kaleidoscopic colours. This is matched by Kinski who blazes with insanity (he was a complete nut) his contorted face and grotesque body movements are simply mesmerizing. The rapturous beauty is butted against a maddening pace, heaving with bloody violence and then instantly shifting into lethargic scenes of the party crumbling without a consistent leader. The constantly shifting atmosphere has a person at the edge of their seat, fascinated by the internal destruction and constantly wondering what will happen next. The film is an enigma that fuses grotesque brutality with monumental poetic imagery. This is probably Herzog’s best film, encapsulating all of the director’s contradictions in a marvellous whole, and a terrifically entertaining assault on the senses.
Ali: Fear Eats The Soul (1974)****1/2
All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001)*****
Allegro Non Troppo (1976)****1/2
- Godard invests this goofy sci-fi with so much imaginative invention he totally spurns the need for special effects, you just “feel” like the city is extremely remote, located in another universe. He cinematically slams together several styles: noir, cheesy 50’s sci-fi and paranoia thriller then stirs them around until it produces a wickedly absurd film you realise is wonderful the next day when you can't get it out of your mind. The basic gist is a spy (with the wonderful name REMMY CAUTION) goes to Alphaville to capture a mad scientist (there’s always a mad scientist) before he can take over the world using his ultra-computer whose speeches sound suspiciously like a gravely voiced person. In Godard’s hands the simplicity gives way to the usual discussions of cinema, sex and authoritarian control with characters travelling about discussing the meaning of life and how it got slowly siphoned out of the present society. Yet none of the usual cynicism is present, the story seems preoccupied with romantic notions; humanity can be saved by love instead of drowning inside it. The positively upbeat tone is a revelation, reinvigorating the complex filmmaking with a vibrant emotionality, not to mention endearing humor, missing since “Breathless”. Godard has never been one of my favorites, I usually find his movies soggy marathons of cinematic thumb twiddling but Alphaville is invigorating enough to change anyone into a believer.
Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgandy ***
- A mixture of highbrow film concept and lowbrow execution that's damn funny, somewhat enjoyable and way too long at 90 minutes. The same joke hammered at for that time frame can get a tad repetetive and dull. Luckily Will Ferrel is a magnificent comic actor in his glory as Ron Burgandy, an overconfident fool boasting dull insights that you can't help but feel endeared and repulsed by at the same time. Although the funniest scene comes not from him but via Jack Black punting a small dog off a bridge; stuff like that generally doesn't get included in films, not in the hilariously explicit manner in this film for sure, it's outrageous. As for everything else, I liked "Anchorman" with it's infantile humor, wickedly overipe violence and random weirdness that makes for a good vacation from the brain cells.
Ashes And Diamonds (1956)***
- Hokey, political Wannabe Rebel Without A Cause that put me to sleep, boring.
Ashes Of Time (1994)*****
- A bizarrely existential chop-socky flick containing very little fighting and much discussion of what it means to live, die, live while dying, die while living and basically just have a tough time with the whole hired killer racket. All inside a sublimely textured visual package containing several awe-inspiring action scenes shot in stunning slow motion. The camera following the characters in close-up as they stream through lines of attackers, never bothering to identify impact, more interested in the reaction in his/her face. An unusual tact that goes against basic movie theory of cause and effect but manages to be far more effective, how I’m not sure. Scenes of bloodletting are also curiously rare, the action intended as part of the mood rather than dramatics, keeping pace with the introspective pacing. Visual beauty above all emanates from every scene, obsessed with people isolated into landscapes and the way they merge, the camera becoming a dominating force in the story telling. Wong Kar-Wai loves his actors and shows that in the way he films them, in turn they provide uniformly strong performances. The only problem is lucidity of the story, which contains a large group of characters and interchanges them with hardly a cut (which the director is prone to do) leaving the viewer drowning in incoherence for several scenes. I needed another viewing to clarify several points in the story and sort out which character is which. It didn’t help that the DVD has horrible subtitles that begin before and after characters speak, leaving you wondering who said what to whom. An irritating foible that kept the film from being one of my favourites, I can only hope a re-release of this film that will fix this problem. Still, do not mistake my attitude, this is an exceptional piece of cinema and you should watch it now if you already have not had the pleasure.
The Atomic Cafe (1982)****1/2
- Hilarious in an extremely satirical way, the film splices together clips of early government films about the Atom Bomb and the way they tend to clash with 1) Common sense 2) Propriety 3) Reality In General. Duck and cover being on of my personal favorites along with the military planning what they call an "Atomic manoeuvre" in which troops should trample through an area just obliterated by an Atom Bomb. Wow.
- The beginning is all abstracted tension, a series of obscure, low-angle static shots of people doing the dishes or sitting in restaurants that hover and peep in a disturbing way. Nothing happens that could seriously be considered even mildly horrible, yet the tension mounts without any such qualms and simply insinuates something is very wrong. When his friend announces his distrust of this woman you can understand, something about her just isn’t right. Tiny fragmented scenes of Asami in her apartment make a person incredibly uneasy and seem to justify these feelings. Yet the films interest in family activity leave some doubt as to what exactly, if anything, is going on. The film introduces to Aoyama in a scene typical of a romance, he sits at his wife’s death-bed wrapped in misery, as she dies their son enters the room with a bouquet for his mother, and upon realizing her death he consoles his father. This relationship punctuates the entire film, and indeed his son is much wiser that him in many ways, the father relying greatly on his son for stability. Director Miike is adept at juggling the lethargic unease without actually establishing his film as horror, romance and bizarre drama by making scenes of familial inconsequence compelling by serializing the hero’s life while hinting at his descent into estragon hell. Then creates an extended scene that is truly astonishing, working as the cornerstone for the everything, capping the unrelenting atmosphere with a catharsis so extreme it’ll have you squirming and horrified at the edge of your seat. If it’s true that horror films are all about the end then “Audition” ranks among the best.
The Bad And The Beautiful (1952)****1/2
Bad Education (2004)****
The Balloonatic (1920)***1/2
- Funny but eratic early Keaton.
Batman Begins (2005)***
The Battle Of Algiers (1966)*****
- Realistic reenactment of the fight for Algerian liberation that was really quite violent and tawdry for a psuedo biodrama. Mostly a bashing of French political motives and the way a dominating force attempts to dominate the subserviant country. Choices to cut retaliatory actions together create much suspense and the masterful camerawork (a wildly rotating shoulder camera creates a sense of visual drama, swirling into stairwells or quickly panning upwards giving locations a spacial concept and distinct geography in a short time) gives these scenes of violence a riveting dominance, creating focus upon the characters and their motivations. Brilliant.
La Belle Noiseuse (1991)*****
- The artistic process, or more precisely the art of painting, is a bashing out of ideas in an attempt to find the truth. The truth of course if different to many people, in this case the subject is a painter of portraits sunk into a long dry spell by happiness and complacency trying to finish his epochal work La Belle Noiseuse. This process takes an interminable amount of time and much deep thought, preferably quiet, about ideas, figures, spatial concepts, drawings, weight, shape, etc. The movie process in comparison is a flashy form that bashes out a subject, usually in 2 hours, and seeks to entertain with melodrama, laughter or horror, whatever the case the feelings must be huge and attained quickly. In the face of this uphill battle Jacques Rivette completely avoids the subject (as he is prone to do) and creates a miraculous drifting document of the seething battle between artist, model and the indefinable artistic process, the only drama available in a mental tête-à-tête. The film functions in a series of scenes (that can be seen as acts if you like) comprising the levels of their ever-deepening relationship that coincides with the creation of the painting. The film first introduces them separately, her young, sly and full of naiveté towards herself and her environment, him aged, bored and completely happy in his artistic suffering. Obviously Rivette is showing us a combination for upheaval in both, spiritually as well as sexually. The next meeting involves the loft, in which he pays very little attention to her almost not looking her in the eye, avoiding the subject of a nude portrait that is obviously what he wants. The scene is a prolonged battle of wills, he is obviously attracted to her and at this point would welcome any sexual contact, she knows it and scowls at him like a petulant child judging him for being such a lecherous old man and determined to retain her clothing. Inter cut between this brilliant, subtle interplay is a beautiful (sometimes awkward) series of sketches, done by an artists hands of his model, sculpting lines of black onto the blank pages. The pens haven’t been cleaned in months and take very little ink, the scratching of the pen on the pages showing the artists obvious aggravation at his tools and an inability to portray his new subject effectively. In subsequent meetings her clothes are relinquished and his once sexual fire is replaced by an obsession with his artwork. In fact everything in the film is a service to the art of painting and creation in general, Frenhofer & Marianne’s time is filled in heated discussion of that very artistic process, ranging from his need to discover her true self to the very sexual nature the painter/model ebbing dominant/submissive relationship. He pushes her naked body into obscure positions to sketch her, each of these sketches being perused and judged later for becoming the eventual outcome of La Belle Noiseuse. Portrait painting is an extremely debilitating process if one seeks the level of gratification show in this film, you begin to feel as mentally numb as your model, ever molecule of your body just wanting to take one of the easy ways out, make love and settle for that or simply abandon the project altogether (this too is shown in the film in the form of his wife). This is insular drama, the horrendous, draining, joyful melodrama of mental creation in which ideas are discarded, revitalized and discard in an ever-changing process, an internal battle if you will. A fabulously gorgeous film created through Rivette’s gentle rhythms and luxurious style that interprets an internal drama for film through the inter cutting of the encompassing emotional drama outside the studio, emotional battles in the studio and documentary footage (the beautiful creations of the artist on paper). This is the epitome of drama, “Platoon” for people who like their wars to be internal instead of external.
Black Orpheus (1959)*****
- A grand, almost maniacal energy pervades through every element of Black Orpheus. The film invariably finds its centre in music and dancing, the entire culture surrounding Carnival garnering a beautiful magic through a Jobim/Bonfa soundtrack and incredibly complex, elegant storytelling. Creating scene after scene full of incredible exuberance and enthusiasm that in the back of your mind you believe can’t last; yet it does maintain that stunning perfection without faltering. Shifting gears during a finale, juxtaposing Orpheus’ descent into the land of the dead with metaphorical bureaucracy that stills holds weight today, in which Orpheus returns with his beloved Eurydice in a stellar, heartbreaking finale. The fact that the film contains nary a misstep is exceptional, but to keep such invigorating pace until the finale is the sign of a truly great movie, in my estimation this is easily one of the 100 best films ever made.
The Blood Of A Poet (1931)***
Le Boucher/The Butcher (1969)***
Bound For Glory (1976)****
Broadway Danny Rose (1984)****
Broken Wings (2002)***1/2
Buffet Froid (1979)**
- Avoid this crap.
Bus 174 (2002)***1/2
Calle 54 (1996)****
The Captive Heart (1948)****
The Cat Returns (2002)***
- A stilted animated film about finding yourself, being yourself and all that feel-good stuff, which stretches about 30 minutes of worthwhile film into 80 minutes making for a boring, if mildly interesting, night on the couch.
Charlie Chan At The Opera (1937)***1/2
A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)****
Chloe In The Afternoon (1974)***
Code 46 (2004)*****
- Michael Winterbottom’s wonderful romantic mystery attains nirvana about 30 minutes into it’s running time. Maria (Samantha Morton) has just invited empath William (Tim Robbins) into her tiny apartment. Earlier this day William has lied knowing full fell Maria is responsible for a crime, yet has no idea why, he simply felt compelled. An elegant scene follows culminating when they embrace on her bed as they start peeling away clothing and caressing. What follows is a glorious close-up of Morton’s face; we see what Matthew sees, her exceptionally erotic movements, open mouth and those beautiful eyes. At that very moment the movie fades away and you can understand, even though this is a movie and neither of these people exist, why Matthew is in love with Maria. Just remembering it causes my brain to float on a tide of synapse butterflies. After such a scene I was left bereft, wondering if the filmmakers could possibly attain such perfection again. Scenes followed, excellent scenes, but nothing that could compare and just as hope was drifting away they managed it again. The very end of this film is simply mesmerizing, Coldplay floating under the surface; Maria bathed in golden light as the camera focuses on her for the last time. I realized after the film had ended several things, the cinematography was among the best I’ve ever seen, Morton is fantastic in an almost life-altering way and I absolutely adored this film. I’m sure it’ll be in my thoughts for a long time, my mind fumbling over it until it becomes part of my unconscious.
- **Companeros finest achievement happens to be Ennio Morricone's obnoxiously catchy title track that sounds something like a crazed group of mariachis playing for their lives while a choir shouts "comp-comp-comp-comp-companeros" until your sanity starts to faulter. The film itself is an over ripe spaghetti western loaded with gratuitous violence (one main character takes to swinging about a gattling gun) and silly crosses and double crosses and double double crosses. Which makes a person think, does 5+ doublecrosses in the same movie make it a quintuplecross? Regardless of the answer to that question there seems to always be one character in peril while several others haggle over getting said character out of trouble.
Control Room (2004)****
The Corporation (2004)****
Coup de Torchon (1981)*****
- A brilliant modern film noir, laced with the nastiest form of black humour possible, that is a treat of unstructured elegance. Lucien is a lazy, lacivious constable of a small African township in the twenties, married to a woman who hates him and the constant recipient of negative attention. One day he asks another constable for help and finds the strangest kind of liberation from the answer. Unforced, unhurried, and simply uninterested moral pretentions Coup De Torchon creates a spell with idiosyncratic story, adeptly creating something unique with it's careful, entrancing technique and pace.
The Crowd (1928)****
Cutter's Way (1977)**
The Day After (1979)***1/2
Day Of Wrath (1943)****1/2
- A passionate rendering of an elderly priest and the corruption of his adoring wife when faced with the knowledge of her incredible power is probably more about consequence than any other subject. The priest has used his position to marry a beautiful young woman by reprieving her mother from accusations of witchcraft. She finds herself trapped into a life of servitude under the watchful iron of the priest iron willed mother, devoid of love, sex and any inkling of happiness. The parsons grown son arrives the same day an aged witch seeks refuge in their house, both having a defining effect on the young woman’s life and eventual fate. The resulting film is incredibly complicated, mixing paranormal with societal issues, plumbing through each character’s motives, revealing the depths of lies, deception and sin that define their lives. The parson seeks to keep his young wife in an attempt to rekindle his youth but remains unable to perform his duties as it were so she turns to his son for satisfaction. This of course reeks havoc on the household, giving her a newfoud assurance and injecting sexuality and defiance into the pious, sombre household. The viewer realizes that she is indeed a powerful witch whose power is unleashed on her suroundings because of the parson and his morbid mother. What a person comes to realize is that these people are irrevocably linked through their actions, the son is not against the idea of their adulterous affair but seems compliant to let the blame rest wholly on her while his grandmother’s brimming hate drives the young wife towards her eventual fate. The ramifications of the interactions of people have rarely been plumbed so effectively and it makes for powerful if hardly upbeat cinema.
Desert Bloom (1986)***1/2
The Deserter (1932)*
- Deadly boring communist/strike/coming of age/bull malarky manifesto that you want to end after 30 minutes but drags (and drags is the operative word) on for a soul depleting 105 minutes of unbearable mental lashing akin to the Chinese water torture with orchestra crescendos working as the drops of water.
Don's Party (1971)****1/2
- Brilliant, bawdy black comedy about a party celebrating a pivitol nascent Australian election.
The Dreamers (2002)***1/2
Early Summer (1951)****1/2
The End Of St. Petersburg (1927)***1/2
- Enthusiastically phobic film that rarely reaches its full potential but creates a powerful feeling of repulsion (intentional) in spite of its failings. Very weird.
Europa Europa (1991)****
- 125 minutes of grim realism and staged excess about the facades people put on for other people and vice versa that drains every loose morsel of energy from your body as you are confined like a rat to the couch while endless minutes of human tragedy flog you about the brain. In all of this gruesome stew some astounding scenes take place, including a brilliant moment when a couple argue while laughing hysterically, it seems completely staged and utterly spontaneous at the same time, a transcendent moment bookended by yelling and ugly closeups, sometimes together that limit it’s power but don’t snuff it altogether. Cassavetes seems to revel in his fast paced whirling dirvish as characters laugh and yell and jump about as he whips around corners with his camera causing actors to lurch about in an attempt to get out of the way while spouting gruesome dialogue (probably unscripted given the confusing, infantile nature of some of it) and invariably whipping his actors into an overzealous uneasiness. The high pitched nature of this material can get on a person’s nerves, but the filmmaking bravado seems to temper the agony as it’s filled with astounding photography and brilliantly crafted set pieces. I must admit that it keeps your attention, but at what a cost, I for one feel very sorry for Gena Rowlands as an actress in this role. I sometimes get the feeling that her confused, angry, sad look is not entirely acting and she’s being pestered by her hyper director, I hope I’m wrong about that.
Fat City (1972)**
- Football and boxing movies hold a special place on my list of things I cannot stand. John Huston has now made his, about a loser and a younger loser and the way their lives run parallel. I couldn't stand this film, it grated on every one of my nerves.
Fiend Without A Face (1958)****
- Attack of the invisible vampire brains, hilarious.
Five Corners (1988)***
Five Fingers (1952)***1/2
Floating Weeds (1954)****1/2
The Four Musketeers (1975)****1/2
Funny Face (1956)****
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)*****
- Marylin Monroe, Jane Russell, same movie.
The Go-Between (1972)****1/2
The Golem (1921)**1/2
Goodbye Dragon Inn (2003) ***1/2
- I have no actual way to know whether I enjoyed this film since I was irritated at every moment I watched it. Phone calls, rampaging dogs, people wanting attention, conversations while I watched it, the DVD remote died and above all the last 20 minutes were filled by someone cracking walnuts and eating them as loud as possible. I've now effectively seen the entire film 3 times and at no point was I left to watch it, I dare not venture into it again for fear of what else will happen. Sheesh.
The Grudge (2004)*1/2
The Harder They Fall (1953)***1/2
Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle (2004)****
Hobson's Choice (1954)*****
I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang (1932)*****
- A great example of film as social protest, startlingly realistic for it’s time, that chucks in some romance to elevate this from powerful entertainment to one of cinema’s great tragedies. Paul Muni is emphatically great as Allen James, fugitive from the chain gang, delivering his lines with a “make the audience feel it” zeal that’s downright zesty. Of course he’s aided by a story so wild it would have to be true that offers him plenty of chances to mug outrageously. The studio obviously thought the material a tad harsh and a conniving blonde and understanding redhead are thrown in to balance the grittier parts of the film. Mervin LeRoy is obviously in full control, creating a tight, fast paced and damned entertaining feature at the same time he wags his cinematic finger about. Sadly his supporting cast sometimes lets their director down, most obvious is the horribly stilted father at the beginning of the film, apparently mistaking the material for low-rent Shakespeare, who weirdly pops up later as his brother. Thankfully this and other badly acted roles are relegated to the periphery and don’t really affect the tension. Plus the excellent black & white cinematography and intelligent script more than make up for the minor faults in this wonderful film.
I Am Curious Yellow/I Am Curious Blue (1966/1967)***/**
- As a voice tells you at the beginning "this is one film that is actually two" meaning same characters, same story, different content. Yet, using the word story would be a tad misleading, there was no script, the entire project was director and cast improvisation; a technique not unusual today but in 1967 it probably blew filmic appreciators collective minds and influenced a new generation of filmmakers to make experimental cinema. A precise definition of this film goes far beyond experimental however, it’s cinema without boundaries where several movies coexist and constantly butt up against and influence each other. One dimension of the film involves actress/activist Lena Nyman playing herself, interviewing people on the class system of Sweden while she gets her sexual liberation freak on having sex with several men and actively pursuing her married leading man. Which in case you’re wondering is another part of the movie, in which she cuckold’s the director (played by the director) for a thinner, better looking actor, who in turn gets to have sex with her in the other story. Integrated in between these two stories are her mother and father (fake) and her search for her mother (real) played by an actress in the film. If you are confused by now, don’t worry; it didn’t make much more sense watching it. The story of how such a film could be made is far more interesting, in 1966-67 director Vilgot Sjöman (with dorky Swedish beard) got 100,000 meters of black-and-white film and complete freedom to make a film (every director’s wet dream) and he came back to the studio with complete nonsense that he split into two films so each part would have half the nonsense. The outcome, no matter how great the intentions, is an incredibly influential, very average film. The best parts play with the audience, asking us to join in the nonsense, which gives those scenes some kind of humanity and intimacy that is lacking from so much of this material laden with unflinching sexuality, full frontal male nudity and pointed political discussion. Yet in the end, the fact that the film has no restrictions hinders rather than helps, and the eventual failure is mostly due to an inability for the content to justify not only the length, but also it’s being made at all. I Am Curious is influential but dull.
I Heart Huckabees (2004)***1/2
I Know Where I'm Going! (1945)****1/2
I Robot (2004)*
- Dishearteningly dumb and ghoulish goulash, nothing like a good verbal pun, that left me wondering why such a movie would be attempted. Since: Obviously paring down so many stories is going to leave a disturbingly fluctuating film experience, Will Smith is the “Most Likely To Mug Onscreen” star of the 21st century, you can’t be hard-edged without getting realistic and a little nasty, the ideal way for the movie to play out involves centring the middle sequence at the beginning, dissolving the beginning and adding explanations towards the end to add a little more confusion and film the closing sequence in less light. I hate it when people direct movies without following the main rule of action/adventure cinema; keep the audience in a state of tantalized confusion, because when they realize what’s going on is when you lose their full attention. Of course I would also re-write the script, introducing more exposition on Smith’s character and possibly dragging a sub-plot to the 1:10 mark then hit em with the funk so fast and hard the audience would collectively s**t their pants. But there’s the little problem of me not being a director and no one is going to invest 100 million in my film presentation. The film does however prove one thing; I was right about Alex Proyas needing time to grow as a director.
- Boring, silly, idiotic and pretentious muck that manages a story that goes something like this: Iceman is discovered, Timothy Hutton from Ordinary People tries to communicate, Iceman & Tim bond, Iceman makes funny noises and gallops about, Tim brings his hottie to meet Iceman and she almost gets raped, modern world intercedes, . Egad.Spoiler: Highlight to viewIceman does a half gainer from a helicopter plunging to his death with a big smile
The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952)****1/2
In A Year Of 13 Moons (1979)*****
Irma Vep (1996)***1/2
La Jetee (1961)****1/2
Joe Vs. The Volcano (1990)****1/2
- Whimsy is an almost impossible mood to assemble onscreen through the moviemaking process, people spend no little amount of time trying to evoke such things (this means you George Lucas) and failing so miserably their movies become cynical and lifeless through their attempts. Or they become the opposite, comical bouts of idiocy that seek their irreverence to be taken seriously. Joe Versus The Volcano on the other hand creates a feeling of whimsy with what seems like very little effort, exposing itself so naively as to create a gauntlet of enjoyable silliness which the viewer has to traverse. Ultimately that means that some scenes come off as comedic toss-offs, but in an endearing way. The happiness with which this film flings itself forward into the next life-affirming debacle is liberating, for me at least. Finding no bounds in the general order of things the film seems content to flow out like a dream drummed up from the director’s unconscious, equal parts cinema and personal experience. The opening scene sets up the feeling of the entire film, creating a parallel world that closely mimics ours but has slightly altered layers of reality. Joe steps from his car on the way to work to find his foot ankle deep in a puddle, then stumbles like a zombie with many other faceless people to his hideous job, then to a doctor who tells him he has a brain cloud that gives him 6 months to live. Tom Hanks is incredibly likeable as Joe, neurotic turned danger seeker with the simple knowledge of his imminent death. That knowledge sets in motion a series of miraculous events as scatterbrained as they are imaginative, making sense only in hindsight. Meg Ryan is Hanks’ perfect foil (the two generate sparks on the level of Bogie & Bacall) playing three different women in what could be the finest performance of her career. Yet what truly matters is the emotional honesty this film manages to purvey while having incredible charm and child-like wonder. Halfway through the film one of Ryan’s characters says, “My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.” It’s something to write such a thing into a script but it’s certainly another to make a film intrinsically linked with that simple but profound statement. Joe Vs The Volcano is a great film because you get the feeling that the director believes that tenet whole-heartedly, and manages to make you a willing compatriot in such a glorious ideal.
Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)***1/2
King Of Hearts (1967)****1/2
The Knack (1965)*****
- This film is creepy and dirty, it made want to shower after watching it and later when I thought about the scenes I couldn’t help feeling disgusted certain scenes and Liam Neeson is just plain disturbing in this film, exuding a distinct perverse quality that just made me slightly embarrassed watching him. The problem, for me anyways, can be stated like this: Half the movie was Mr. Holland’s Opus, all gooey and filled with birds tweeting and an air of peppiness that makes my skin crawl, mixed with the Ken Russell movie of your choice. The amalgum is so disconcerting as to make the film very disturbing and as I said before, very creepy.
Lady Snowblood (1973)***
L'Age D'Or (1930)**1/2
Land Of The Dead (2005)*****
The Last Laugh (1924)*****
Lassie Come Home (1952)****
The Last Metro (1980)****1/2
The Libelled Lady (1936)****1/2
The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1958)*****
Little Dorrit (TVM, 1988)*****
- Funny, dramatic, sad, satirical, intellectual and incredibly entertaining Little Dorrit is surely the single best television presentation I've ever had the pleasure to see. Split into two 3 hour sections which comprise the same story told from different viewpoints this seems like a mammoth enterprise to undertake until you've gotten 30 minutes in and can't stop watching. Both a technical marvel, in the sense that the costumes, sets, language and overall atmosphere are completely matched to the time-line of the material, and a masterpiece of pure entertainment the filmmakers manage this exquisite balancing act and produce a six hour film which is far too short for my taste. Yes it is that good.
Lola Montes (1955)*****
Lone Wolf & Cub: Baby Cart On The River Styx (1974)****1/2
The Lost World (1925)***
- Enjoyable lightweight action-adventure that seems pretty standard today because it most likely invented every cliche in the adventure genre. A lot of fun, but damn long. A shorter film would have suited me better and bizarrely enough there are several 70 minute prints of this film hovering about. I may have to check them out and see if I enjoy those versions better.
Louisiana Story (1948)***
- "Daddy, that gator killed my 'coon" "We'll get im son". Whatever.
The Lower Depths (1953)****
- Startlingly beautiful yet emotionally hesitant story that works sporadically, and drifts in a pleasing way the rest of the time.
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)****
- An excellent remodelling of a classic film which produces the same intensity if not the skill, which suprised the hell out of me. The intensity comes via Denzel's uniformly great performance and some interesting queeks of the old plot. Meryl Streep is no match for Angela Lansbury's bad assed momma, Meryl simply oozes an offensive quality while Lansbury seemed to embody everything wickedly evil. Granted these are different films, but in a cat fight I'd bet on angela. Other than that all I can say is that this was a effective, enjoyable thriller finely crafted by a talented director (demme) aided by his talented cast.
Male And Female (1919)****
- Both sadly contrived and actually affecting this film is a sloppy triumph detailing the reversal of societal roles when a family and their butler are shipwrecked. Muddled by an inability to contain the directors aspirations into the storyline the movie eventually intigrates footage of Babylon by revealing that it's characters are actually star-crossed lovers from thousands of years before who've been cursed to constantly be together. The fact that they remember this puts a damper on any hopes of any normalicy coming out of the picture, yet at that precise moment reality makes a valliant return and effectively tries to dismiss this earlier discourse. I can only see Male And Female as a lark, and taken as such it's damned entertaining, full of manly deeds and feminine whims. The overall dumbness and narrative idiosyncracies just add flavour to this pulpy gumbo.
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky & The Media (1987)*****
The Man Who Loved Women (1977)***1/2
Mean Creek (2004)***1/2
Medium Cool (1969)***
Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster (2004)****
- The high/low point of this film is hard to discern, but I’m going to suggest Dave Mustaine’s heartfelt speech about the torture his life has been since he was ousted from Metallica. There is a certain morbid curiosity to seeing a grown man talk about his abhorrent recurring mockery by indignant Metallica fans and his constant wish he would have gotten rehab instead of the boot. Apparently Megadeth is second best to Metallica and it has plagued his life with insecurities only an infantile heavy mettler can truly harness. The brilliance of this scene as well as most of the other material is the silly heights these people manage to achieve by simply being who they are. Brooding, slamming doors, throwing all sorts of hissy fits and eventually learning the true power of psycho babble lies in the ability to start every sentence with “I feel”, and to actually garner some attention with those two words. Which means they wander about telling each other what they feel, how they’re feeling it and sometimes what the feeling is. During all this proactive gushing they manage to write the insanely bad lyrics that pepper “St. Anger”. Phil, an entertainment psychoanalyst who guides Metallica through various pitfalls such as, not yelling at one another, it’s pointless to call each other names and sometimes you need time alone, makes all these breakthroughs possible. He hangs around the periphery giving sage advice and pulling 40,000 dollars a month for the better part of 2 years and in a quirky twist becomes something of a cloying groupie. This is the material Rob Reiner could only hope to convey with This Is Spinal Tap, the ultimate mockumentary because these are real people. The documenters are smart enough to sit back and let this soap opera play out, starting every new scene with a title stating “day 248, day 304, etc.”, as if they were filming a horrible disaster befalling a group of men marooned in the Amazon forest. Of course they are filming a disaster, but of a much different type, you have to watch this movie.
- Midnight (1939)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1934)***1/2
- An early Shakespeare adaptation done in a strictly hollywood vein, the big budget allowing for marvellous sets and major actors. The results are quite good with Mickey Rooney providing a truly great performance as Puck, the mischevious fairie. Suprisingly the actors handle the material well, even James Cagney whose bluster remains but tongue seems able to wrap around the complicated words. This version was a lot of fun.
Le Million (1931)****
- A fun, funny and whimsical musical comedy by Rene Clair bristling with various forms of innovations. The last 20 minutes are a hilarious blend of slap-stick, physical and I guess you'd call it metaphorical comedy that outstrips the first hour. An enjoyable whole that was considered one of the ten best movies ever made (during the 50's), and although it's not THAT good, it's still damn fine entertainment.
Million Dollar Baby (2005)*****
- Million Dollar Baby is one of those rare, exceptional films that insinuate themselves with a false, yet completely compelling visage before revealing incredible layers of complexity and emotionality which are completely unexpected. This has nothing to do with a shock twist at the end, or an about turn in the fortunes of a character (although that is present as well), the revelation was there all the time but you fail to see until Eastwood is ready. This is obviously made possible by Clint’s incredible direction which is the apex of 30 years work and which will undoubtedly assuage any question of whether he is one of the finest auteur of the late 20th/21st century. Yet like all masters of cinema he allows the scenes to exist without visual fiddling, the emotionality is so pure it lacerates you to the core.
- Frankie (Eastwood) is a guilt ridden cut man cum boxing trainer whose single minded love of the sport is exceptional but emotionally limited. He passes his days with Eddie (Freeman), his best friend, a former title contender whom he feels responsible for crippling whether that is true or not until Maggie (Swank), an indomitable middle aged woman blows into their lives and coerces Frankie into coaching her. That summation would be a standard boxing film with a female twist if the characters weren’t so excellently drawn, Maggie is dirt-poor and understands this is her last, desperate chance to make something of herself before she becomes a welfare case. Appropriately Frankie has used up his last chance, confining himself to his business, looking for no more bumps in the road. The complexity behind their frail friendship hardens into something quite exceptional by the centre of the film as the story swings into a marvellous apex of boxing entertainment, triumphant spectacle whose agile filmmaking that rivals Rocky in its brutal entertainment. Probably the best 90-minute red herring ever foisted upon a willing audience because the film is not about boxing.
- Million Dollar Baby, after hustling up so much vigorous entertainment, creates something truly astounding with the last 20 minutes. In these final, paralysing scenes you realize what seemed to be movie about fighting, will power and strength is revealed to be a movie about dreams, love, forgiveness and the power of friendship. This reveal is also true of life, what seemed to one thing when you were young slowly becomes something else, and the fact that Clint managed to make a film that contains that is as glorious as it is unexpected.
Les Miserbles (1935)****1/2
- An absolutely fabulous film until the final 20 seconds which takes absurdity to new levels.
Mona Lisa (1986)*****
- Mona Lisa has been one of my favourite films for 10 years, while others have been lost to age or film knowledge, this one I still find compelling for completely personal reasons. The Dante like traversal of the London underworld by an impish criminal recovering his life and finding it shaken by a woman who invariably changes him is general movie fodder but the characters are quite unusual, as is the storytelling. They appeal to my romantic sensibilities, and I find more than a little of myself in George (considering the arc of the character I would presume that true of most men) and the mad obsession with an unattainable wounded person is such a wonderful way to wallow in male fantasy that I still love every second. This is the epitome of male romantic fantasy (of us wounded romantics anyway) full of sex, emotional confusion and devotion to romantic idolatry, attaining the same satisfaction women get from An Affair To Remember.
- Grim realism of incredible economy and power, blessed with a marvellous performance by Jeremy Irons. Four Polish construction workers fly to England to illegally work on a mysterious, wealthy man's flat. The crux of the story however lays in Nowak (Irons) keeping a secret that Poland has been undergone a political coup and severed ties from the outside world. How Nowak keeps this secret increasingly shows signs of an allegory for the actual event by a filmmaker unable to make such a film in his own country. Indeed this is a sobering film about the intrinsic link between good intentions and sordid cruelty on a social level. Yet the director knows how to entertain as well, focussing on dramatic minutia that is always interesting and spurning the"foreign movie" penchant for drawn out conversations and stoicism. In fact the film merges on being a great piece of entertainment, the fact that the filmmakers wrapped intelligent metaphor in a sugary coating is probably not responsible for its quality, but it makes a heck of a lot easier to watch.
Mother Teresa (1986)****
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)****1/2
- A coming of age tale about "Che" Guevara's youthful journey across a continent and forming the initial beliefs that made him an important leader of his generation is a powerful tale that inverts usual coming of age storylines and inserts something real in its place. The tightly paced direction creates an episodic style, introducing events by kilometers, which is a tad irritating but easily forgiven, and selecting what seems to be the minimum amount of information to give each piece the maximum effect, something like minimal style given a complicated presentation. The result is quite exhilerating and gives the film a much needed momentum, relaying the events, which are almost always minor, with a directness that gives the story honesty and importance. Bernal (who should have won best actor for his performance) is exceptional as Guevara, creating a picture of morality, charisma and strength onscreen without ever resorting to mimicry. He gives the film the extra punch, not to mention star power, needed the raise Motorcycle Diaries above the recent glut of biopics and reveal itself to be the best of the lot.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)***1/2
- Good looking, entertaining rose scented crap that glorifies violence and death whilst force feeding you brand names and misogony. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
My Architect (2002)**1/2
My Life To Live (1962)****
My Night At Maud's (1968)****1/2
The Naked Killer (1992)*
- Incredibly silly Hong Kong actioner concerning a group of man-hating, limb severing, obsesively castrating female hitpersons and an impitent, gun shy cop. Everything happens fast; the cop and a hit woman fall in love almost instantly after she mutilates a girl-friend beaters' genitalia, seemingly forgetting that stabbing a person in the penis is illegal and goes straight for hot and heavy land. Things get stranger and characters are introduced so quickly I got confused for a while as to which hottie was which. The problem solved itself as these women's defining charactaristics do tend to seperate them; one keeps serial rapists chained in her basement, another is madly in love and the third enjoys cutting of men's penises. Definately a diverse group of ladies. At no point could I take this film seriously and I didn't think it was any good either. Yet while I flipped through a book of Toulouse Lautrec paintings I got a few laughs out of the horendous schlock that they call a script, the acting and the sheer vapidness of the direction. My favorite scene involves the heroes partner guzzling down a severed penis while saying "you can't have any of this!". What's with the spate of penile influenced material I've been watching lately, it's starting to make me paranoid.
Naked Prey (1960)***1/2
- Dramatically poignant survival flick with an incredibly small amount of dialogue, the characters react to their environment rather than each other, and scenes are generally restricted to people running and trying to survive. The brilliant first hour is stunningly orchestrated minimalism concerning a white man running for his life from an African tribe he’s offended. After that point however, signs of dramatic confusion and political mugging start to crop up leaving in their wake several enormously silly scenes that waylay everything. They don’t ruin the film but they limit its effectiveness, which is a shame because things start of with such promise. The eventual conclusion is cliché and I found myself fond of the film but disappointed by several glaring failures.
Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind (1984)****1/2
The Neighbors (1921)****
Nobody Knows (2005)*****
- Exceptional, heartbreaking film telling the story of four children abandoned by their mother and their struggles to live. Directed by the man who made "Afterlife" (one of my favorite films) this one could probably garner a top 200 placing.
The Old Dark House (1932)****1/2
- Cocteau has an ability to bore me like no other director of his generation and it seems that this film is no different. However, the ending is excellent, but that in no way makes up for the proceeding 60 minutes. The beginning is all very beautiful and dramatically poetic to be sure, but I couldn't care less.
Pauline At The Beach (1984)****1/2
- Finally, a Rhomer film that entertained me as much as I've been wishing one of his films would, if that makes sense. An intrigueing film about a young girl surrounded by good looking but shallow people that, over the space of a week, tries to teach how to love. An excellent concept brought to fruition through an unhurried and inviting directorial style.
- Never have I watched an Ingmar Bergman film and had this thought, “Did I just see an erect penis?” Regardless of the answer to that question it gives the viewer some idea of the following film. Crammed full with dialogue and subtle shifts in emotion caught by a roving, insatiable camera the film literally stalks the actresses like some kind of “Wild Kingdom For Unhappy Women”. Technically Persona is outstanding, acting, direction, script (probably mostly improvised), camerawork; it’s truly a defining moment in Bergman’s catalogue. With cinematic perfection comes a resolutely austere atmosphere that’s impenetrable for the average viewer (myself) which leaves the incredibly complex conversation(s) decipherable but emotionless. To be honest I suppose after the 20 minute mark you’re either interested or picking your toes, sadly I was the latter. I say that sadly because Bergman is one of my favourites for doing the exact same things he does in this film, but this time I just didn’t care.
Porco Rosso (1992)****1/2
Il Posto (1961)***1/2
Rachel, Rachel (1968)***1/2
- Because Ray garnered a best picture nomination, and because my feelings about the film haven’t changed in the last week, if anything they have deepened, I’m rewriting my review. The original review went something like this “Ray Charles was a brilliant musician, without dispute one of the most important of his generation, and the movie Ray reaches it's lively peak during a rapturous rendition of What'd I Say. Any subsequent peaks in this monotonous filmmaking visage usually entail the writing or playing of his music. Unfortunately that leaves the rest of this syrupy mess dragging along with the "personal" facts of Ray's life, done in the most hammy, manipulative ways possible by director/hack Taylor Hackford. Violins, slow motion, corny dialogue and the ever present dishevelled junky make their odious appearances only to be outdone by leaps and bounds in a crappy ending that slouches into the closing credits with a crass whimper. Hackford seems to labour under the impression that Charles’ life wasn’t interesting enough to carry the film without buttering up every scene with a gooey shittiness. Listen to the music and spare yourself this dreck.“ but I have much more to say, so here it goes. Any movie which begins with the main characters mother standing in blowing sheets encapsulated in a slow-motion zoom shot is bound to be ridiculously clichéd. I cringed upon seeing this scene because although I hoped different I had an inkling what I was in for. The fact that he cut frames to add a slight shock when she delivers her line “don’t let no one make you a cripple” is a nice touch but a little like licking a wound you’ve already made. And so begins the “good part” of the film, or should we call it the first 40 minutes, in which Ray’s evolution from “street-savvy blind man who baffles a bus driver with bull-crap” to “disappointed reject of a juke band” is shown in a series of showcases. This is the part where you are wowed by Jamie Foxx ability to turn a smile upside down and do a little less bobbing of the head to convey Ray’s diminishing happiness. The tone of the film is kept light however, and the vignettes are compact which is a blessing since the storytelling is a travesty, showing no more “harsh reality” than I Want To Live!. Corrupted obviously by an inability to understand Ray’s reasons for anything the movie simply implies that he wanted to be hip, he wanted to belong, he wanted to shoot heroine. Nothing in life is ever this simple, there are reasons for any action but Jamie Foxx’s superficial performance and Hackford’s inability to understand his subject don’t even attempt to delve into such things. Apparently it’s alright to show the nastier side of an icon just as long as no one understands the reason behind the actions, which I suppose is closer to reality than 50’s biographies that simply altered the truth but lacking the emotional depth which those 50’s films managed to plum with their altered facts. I will surely admit that these are small quibbles but I actually enjoyed this part of the film. These scenes apex in his tour for Atlantic, which brings into focus what Ray the entertainer, in these fleeting scenes Foxx nails his performance, he’s full of bravado, skill and charisma. Then the film takes an about turn, jettisoning any of the good sense shown at the beginning by slowing the film and obsessively detailing his slide into heroine abuse. I don’t care about the subject matter, if Hackford wants to portray that certain element more power to him; the man however is not talented enough to juggle the dramatic downslide with all the other aspects he’s seeking to include, his crumbling marriage, philandering, etc. He somehow throws the pacing off, making the last hour of the film a muddled downer, sprinkling little bits of his classic hits to show the man hasn’t lost his musical skill and then sinking into a maudlin portrayal of heroine abuse. I am so tired of seeing the couch-ridden junkie answering a phone I could spit, but that’s probably just me. At this point the woefully underused female actresses get their chance to yell a lot and try to eke out some piece of the movie for their anaemic parts. The fact that every character in the film other than Ray is given the shaft is slightly aggravating, but these two women blow Foxx off the screen. To limit their parts is a major mistake by the filmmakers. At this point the film seems to revert to some horrible parody of its earlier scenes, replacing the sharp storytelling with bloated drama purloined from a cheesy TV movie. Then abruptly ends with a completely implausible, new agey scene implying that Ray kicked his heroine habit because he finally battled his inner demon, something akin to the scene at the end of Good Will Hunting in which 10 years of abuse is settled by a doctor saying “it wasn’t your fault” like a mantra, only about a 100 times worse. Seemingly so embarrassed that they just did that the filmmakers do a photomontage of the real Ray and roll the credits. This is the closest I’ve seen a film come to abusing an audience, attempting to portray reality without seeking any, attempting heartfelt emotion by eliciting tawdry drama. If that weren’t enough, Foxx is okay in his part, he looks a lot like Charles which certainly helps, and the man can certainly weave his head about but he simply looks like an actor impersonating a musician. I always thought the idea was to become the character you portray, but apparently I was wrong since he’s a lock for a best actor Oscar, read what you like into that choice.
Safety Last (1923)*****
Saint Jack (1976)****1/2
Samurai 1: Musashi Mijamoto (1954)*****
Samurai 2: Duel At Ichijoji Temple (1955)*****
Samurai 3: Duel At Gonryu Island (1955)*****
- Banal attempt to make Se7en without any of the poignant moral questions, adept direction or anything else that could cause a lasting sense of fear. Diabolical serial ringmaster rigs up elaborate ways for people to kill themselves and others while staying too many steps ahead of anyone else for them to notice anything and always having the perplexing ability to know exactly what will happen even when the events are completely out of his reach or influence. I have heard that this film was incredibly gory (it isn't) and a brutal assault on the senses (only if they meant a shear lack of attention) and that the acting was good (it isn't) so it fails on most levels including a twist ending so twisty as to make the viewer sigh and say "I really don't care". Horror films should frighten, Saw just makes you wish the plot weren't so ludicrously complicated and so ridiculously dramatic.
The Scarlet Empress (1934)****
Secret Ballot (2003)****
The Seduction Of Mimi (1974)*
- Lina Wertmuller is a famous Italian director, responsible for Swept Away, Seven Beauties and a few other sexually provocative sleazefests, that I must admit I liked much more than this one. I think it's an abstraction of the Italian political climate, but to give a film that much thought, I would first have to believe it more than a complete waste of time. A film not laden with bulging eyeballs, dialogue laden with heaving breasts and extremely uncomfortable sex that always turns out badly. The comedy got lost inside the absurdity, for me at least leaving only the right side of my brain to deconstruct her precocious but tepid directorial stylings.
Seven Chances (1925)****1/2
Sherman's March (1986)*****
Shock Corridor (1963)***
Silverlake Life: The View From Here (1988)****1/2
Sin City (2005)*****
- A brilliant blast of anarchic and incredibly violent pessimism, serving perpetual gloom and death in such a wildly entertaining way that us sickos who’ll enjoy this type of stuff will love this film, in all its raunchy glory. Roderiguez makes the most of Frank Miller’s amazing style creating awe-inspiring visual panache from computer manipulated cut-outs part vivacious animation and part moving comic frame, masterful camera angles and hyperactive editing. Taking the time to throw many scantily clad women, such as a very hot Jessica Alba who finally gets a role the fully utilizes her many talents, for extra measure. The movie itself expands and contracts with such quick and violent momentum, introducing a barrage of seedy characters giving the great cast ample opportunity to spout the tawdry dialogue, half of which comes straight from the comic pages, that no time is left to reflect on what you’ve seen. Mickey Rourke of course gets almost all of the best lines and the seminal character in Marv, a hulking psychopath given purpose by a gentle woman, and lavishes an incredible performance on his role. Of course those people with weaker constitutions, moral qualms, kids, nagging worries about violence or concerns about movies revelling in gratuity will hate this film. In fact the woman sitting just behind us at the theatre considered Sin City arguably the most atrocious film she’d ever seen, but she seemed pretty high strung to me so perhaps she didn’t expect such a violent whopper of a film. I did however and I had a blast, Sin City is a great movie.
Sky Captain & The World Of Tomorrow (2004)*****
- Majestic, incredible entertainment that creates a new level for imaginative filmmaking, from its sterling special effects to the great camp performances and ff that weren’t enough to endear anyone the film is rated PG, complete with no swear words, bloody deaths or raving sexual metaphor, that naiveté is certainly welcome in a major Hollywood release. Sky Captain, a fabulous smirking Jude Law radiating charm, is asked to save the world from a scientist bent on destruction, with the help of Polly Perkins of course, a luminous Gwenith Paltrow. Even Jolie manages to evoke a power without resorting to tawdry sexuality. There seems to be a fantastic wide-eyed element that few movies attain, akin to Raiders Of The Lost Ark or Fantastic Planet, but emanating something completely unique. Unique is probably the best word to describe such a movie, the sheer weight of its invention and unfettered imagination goes beyond anything your wildest dreams. Simply put this is the best piece of pure entertainment I’ve seen in years, gratifying, elegant and precociously enthusiastic.
The Spiral Staircase (1953)*****
Springtime In A Small Town (2002)***
- Good, standard Chinese cinema that is so ubiquitous it doesn't make much impact at all. The story never fills out and seems to reverse momentum halfway through. With so many options open to them I have no idea why the filmmakers chose the path they did?
The Story Of The Weeping Camel (2004)***1/2
- Sweet natured, semi-boring documentary that is both interesting on a superficial level and yet so emotionally austere as to make the ending the only part that makes much impact.
A Summer's Tale (1989)**
Sweeney Todd (1982)****
Sweet Sweetback's Badasssss Song (1971)****
Sword Of Doom (1955)***
La Terra Trema (1947)***1/2
The Testament Of Orpheus (1959)***
Things Change (1988)****
This Man Must Die (1968)****
Tick: The Complete Series(2000)*****
Topper Returns (1940)***1/2
The Tree Of Wooden Clogs (1978)****1/2
- Brilliant slice of life.
Triumph Of The Will (1936)***
Twentieth Century (1933)*****
Two English Girls (1972)****
The Twilight Samurai (2002)****1/2
Vera Drake (2004)****
A Very Long Engagement (2004)****
I Vitelloni (1953)*****
War Of The Worlds (2005)****1/2
The Wild Child (1973)***1/2
A Woman Is A Woman (1962)*****
- Fabulous Godard entertainment that makes up for his long winded earlier expositions.
***** = Mammoth Greatness
****1/2 = Petit Greatness
**** = A Fine Film
***1/2 = Good
*** = Average
**1/2 = Whatever
** and below = Crap