Favorite films

  • La Dolce Vita
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • The Godfather
  • Once Upon a Time in the West

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  • Electra Glide in Blue

    ★★★★

  • American Pop

    ★★★★

  • Seems Like Old Times

    ★★★

  • The Man with Two Faces

    ★★

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  • Woman of the Year

    Woman of the Year

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Criterion Challenge 2022: boxd.it/e444c

    39. Hollywood Classics

    George Stevens' 1942 film Woman of the Year is likely mischaracterized as a romantic comedy. The first half of the film certainly is. The early portions of Woman of the Year pit a pair of opposites - a sportswriter (Tracy) and a politically sophisticated columnist (Hepburn) - who are drawn together because of their opinionated sensibilities. They fall hard for each other, even though the multilingual Tess Harding barely grasps the rules of…

  • Shadow of a Doubt

    Shadow of a Doubt

    ★★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    When we first meet fresh-faced teenage Charlie (an excellent Teresa Wright), we find her lying on her bed, resenting the apparent boredom of life in an average American home in her small California town. Her father (Travers) is a mid-level banker whose form of relaxation is to discuss murders with his mousy neighbour (Cronyn). Her mother (Collinge) is a typical 1940s cinematic middle-class housewife: a pleasant homemaker who frets over public perception.

    Despite a war raging overseas, you'd hardly know…

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  • The Man with Two Faces

    The Man with Two Faces

    ★★

    Aside from a solid cast (Robinson, Astor, Calhern), Mayo's film is dry, stagy and uneven. Robinson seems to be enjoying himself, but the lifeless material isn't strong enough. Considering the Kaufman and Woollcott play (The Dark Tower) this was adapted from was a flop, it probably wasn't the best choice of source material without additional upgrades.

  • American Pop

    American Pop

    ★★★★

    Right off the bat, American Pop is a flawed film. The narrative, which filters the American Dream through four generations of a Jewish family and pop music, is woozy and lacks clarity. Also the use of Night Moves seems to a false note in a film that routinely makes solid musical choices long before they had been stale, expected reference points.

    However, the vibrant rotoscoped animation is bold and blends well with the soundtrack. How a major studio ended up…

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  • Where the Sidewalk Ends

    Where the Sidewalk Ends

    ★★★★

    A lean, mean gritty noir painted in great huge dollops of grey and black and straggling out of the gutter dishevelled, disgruntled and confused. Dana Andrews plays Dixon a cop tortured by the stain of his father being a criminal and fuelled by his own anger issues. It's a combustible mix, particularly when he oversteps his bounds.

    The meeting of Ben Hecht's cynical tone and Preminger's visual flourishes produces a film that is positively sinister and morally opaque. Tierney's underwritten…

  • Scarface

    Scarface

    ★★★★½

    Out of the 1930s cycle of gangster films that has to rank in the top three in level of influence and importance. Paul Muni wasn't an iconic archetype for the genre like Edward G. Robinson or James Cagney were, but he imbues Tony Camonte with an aura that is unlike Little Caesar's Rico or The Public Enemy's Tom Powers.

    Despite what the censors thought Muni's Chicagoan gangster isn't someone to aspire to be. He's imbecilic, charmless, perverse and gullible. He's…