PTAbro has written 84 reviews for films rated ★★★★ .

  • Captain America: Civil War

    Captain America: Civil War

    ★★★★

    Assemble, if you will, the humor and charm of The First Avenger, the action and intrigue of The Winter Soldier, and a cast list that makes me wonder how many of Chris Evans' future lives he had to sell to the devil to get top billing on the real Avengers 3. What you come up with is Marvel's best film yet, finally beating Johnston's classic origin story and Whedon's winking homage to golden age gusto. I'm still scratching my head…

  • Rushmore

    Rushmore

    ★★★★

    Max Fischer is a nasty little shit. Good thing he's a funny little shit, too.

    A few thoughts: For some reason I didn't have this marked as watched - maybe because I was actually smart enough to realize I hadn't offered it my full attention the first time around. Huge mistake (the not-paying-attention part). Murray, as funny as he and his character are, feels a bit wobbly here, as if he's still attuning himself with Anderson's sense of humor (or…

  • The American Friend

    The American Friend

    ★★★★

    Plays much more like The German French Connection than The Talented Herr Ripley, but that's more than alright under Wenders' moody, atmospheric direction. Hopper's Tom Ripley is jarringly distinct from Delon's and especially Damon's, but the verdict is still out on whether that's a good or bad thing. It doesn't make much of a difference, as this is Bruno Ganz' picture all the way; with Ripley essential a caricatured support role. The film takes a while to get going, but…

  • Solaris

    Solaris

    ★★★★

    An alien of unknowable intention, indefensible power, and indefinable reach. An invasion story without a single Stan Winston creature, annihilated city-center, or large-caliber gun. I'd happily place Lem's tale up there with Odyssey and Alien as top-tier sci-fi stories, without even having read the source material and based only on the adaptations. Solaris is one of the few examples of truly 'alien' aliens I can think of, and as stated previously, any depiction of intelligent life which eschews an anthropic…

  • You Only Live Once

    You Only Live Once

    ★★★★

    What a marvelous surprise. You Only Live Once feels almost like Lang satirizing the predictability of Hollywood genres by mashing so many into one film, and yet allowing them all to work with and off each other. What starts as a romantic melodrama turns into a gangster picture and ends up as a road movie before turning back around into a romance. As mentioned with Raw Deal, the plot seems unbelievably efficient, cycling through what less talented scripters would balloon…

  • Witchhammer

    Witchhammer

    ★★★★

    I am consistently amazed that humanity has lasted for thousands of years when it seems like every century or so some vile cause or group succeeds in specifically targeting, and then thinning, the herd of good, just, or innocent people. Perhaps it's the cynic in me or the disgust in the potential and severity for evil in man aroused - this time - by Otakar Vávra, but it appears that the course of history has long been simply trimming the…

  • The Browning Version

    The Browning Version

    ★★★★

    The Browning Version presents a fascinating proposition: to elicit emotion for a stodgy, unpleasant old man less through his own actions, but more through the relative vileness of his own closest companions towards him. Andrew Crocker-Harris is, for all intents and purposes, a leader who has lost his way - the most dangerous kind of teacher - and that Rattigan and Asquith ask us to become emotionally invested in a man initially emotionless dares the audience to act first and…

  • Z

    Z

    ★★★★

    Impossible to pigeonhole within a single genre, Z dips its quill into the wells of ideological soapboxing, conspiratorial thriller, and crime drama, using a nearly inexhaustible supply of actors to weave a complex portrait of a country on the front-lines of the (cold) war and peace movement. So varied are director Costa-Gavras' approaches to his message that it reminds me of City of God in the way that it feels ripe for adaptation into a much longer serialized television drama;…

  • Citizen Kane

    Citizen Kane

    ★★★★

    [Redundant praise]
    [Joke about sleds]
    [Regurgitated and bastardized interpretations of technical feats of skill on display]
    [Insincere complaint about waiting so long to watch]
    [Unnecessary recommendation for anyone who hasn't seen it to finally do so]

    10/100

  • L'Atalante

    L'Atalante

    ★★★★

    Endlessly charming, Vigo's only feature-length film is more remarkable for how balanced it feels; with scenes of humor, sadness, romance, and jealousy all given equal weight. L'Atalante covers them all while doing each well, with Michel Simon's Père Jules handling most of the humor while the heavier stuff sits in Dita Parlo and Jean Dasté's lap. So good, in fact, is the chemistry between Parlo and Dasté that I had to double-check afterwards that they were not a couple in…

  • Red Beard

    Red Beard

    ★★★★

    It's now clearly a given that any Kurosawa/Mifune outing will end up being loved; the only question each time is 'how much?' Red Beard does not disappoint even if, for their last pairing, Mifune (though titular) is more of a second billing to Yūzō Kayama's Yasumoto. However, Kayama does such a fine job with his transformation from petulant intern to rightful successor to Niide's practice that Mifune's absence for long stretches was barely noticeable.

    Again, Kurosawa impresses with the way…

  • The Human Condition I: No Greater Love

    The Human Condition I: No Greater Love

    ★★★★

    Note: I made the mistake of not recording my thoughts between each film and instead waited until all 9+hours were complete, so I apologize if characterizations from later movies bleed through to earlier musings.

    Everything about The Human Condition, on paper, sounds like an endurance test: 6 volumes over three films, each over 3 hours long, dealing with one man and his reduction through suffering into a singular essence, with nary a laugh or even a chuckle throughout. In reality,…