Favorite films

  • The Gold Rush
  • City Lights
  • Modern Times
  • The Great Dictator

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  • Bo Burnham: Inside

  • Jimmy Carr: His Dark Material

  • Through a Glass Darkly

    ★★★★½

  • Bergman Island

    ★★★

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  • The March

    The March

    ★★★★★

    "History Was Written Today"

    I decided to see this short documentary on the 28 August 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in anticipation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Obviously, the climactic moment of the film, as it was for the demonstration, as well as a defining moment of the civil rights movement and one of greatest pieces of oratory ever, was King's "I Have a Dream" speech. The significance of the march is well known, I suppose,…

  • King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis

    King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis

    ★★★★★

    Monumental Record of King and the Civil Rights Movement

    What an impressive, monumental document. "King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis" must be the definitive documentary on Martin Luther King Jr.'s involvement in the civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s. Editing together grainy archival footage--then-recent newsreel and TV reports, for the most part, it seems--in chronological order makes for a great mostly observational approach, covering the marches and protests, unabridged speeches, as well as some interviews conducted within…

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  • The First Wave

    The First Wave

    ★★★

    Can't Breathe and Don't Breathe

    "The First Wave" is one of the two pandemic documentaries shortlisted for an Oscar this year--the other and the one that deserves to be nominated being "In the Same Breath" (2021). This one has its merits, too, but it's entirely less challenging. It's like a more honest, as befitting American democratic freedoms of speech and press, version of last year's and also Oscar shortlisted Chinese-American coproduction "76 Days" (2020) and as opposed to the more…

  • The Last Cruise

    The Last Cruise

    ★★★

    Seasick

    About 20% of people aboard getting infected with a novel contagion and about 2% of them dying, staff forced to share rooms with the sick, some idiot on the idiot box yacks about his ignorance of a virus spreading through air, as passengers and crew are quarantined for a month on a death trap, which is named "Diamond Princess," just so you feel like a stupid debutante, to boot, as you're turned into a lab rat for scientists to…

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  • Untold: Malice at the Palace

    Untold: Malice at the Palace

    Told, but Poorly

    When you begin a documentary program stating that footage of a past event wasn't made public back then and follow that up with interviewees suggesting we don't know the entire story, one expects the documentary to be informative--provide new footage and perspectives, tell the untold. So, it's egregious when this hour-and-some-change "Untold: Malice at the Palace" doesn't do that. There's hardly anything here that hadn't played live on television and repeatedly on ESPN and the rest of…

  • WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn

    WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn

    ★★

    "We" is Upside Down to Confuse You into Working for "Me"

    What a fluff documentary for a fluff company the laboriously-titled "WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn" is. All the financial summarization here--the stupid business plan of pretending boring interior decorating for businesses a transformational tech company, and, of course, the inevitable fraud that funnels the money up top--is less telling than The Economist articles I barely recall skimming through during WeWork's IPO fiasco. I…