★★★★★ - Masterful (A+)
★★★★ - Excellent (A-)
★★★ - Very Good (B)
★★ - Solid (C)
★ - Poor/Below Average (D or F)
Sandor Szavost: "Did you ever read the Latin poet Ovid on THE ART OF LOVE?"
Alice: "Didn't he wind up all by himself, crying his eyes out in some place with a very bad climate?"
Sandor Szavost: "But he also had a good time first... A very good time."
The lines quoted above tend to go overlooked, even by the most attentive Kubrick aficionados, but I assure you: they are anything but insignificant.
Are you ready to go to where…
Sucks. Takes a European story and denies it its European hero, while also going out of its way to sever the story's Christian roots. Don't mistake this for an adaptation that fails to understand the source material--because it's something infinitely worse: an adaptation that maliciously subverts and undermines the work that inspired it, tearing down something beautiful and replacing it with a grotesque substitute. To make matters even worse, it's also a dreary, ponderous slog that's completely full of itself…
Based on its lofty 4.4 average user rating, it appears that Portrait of a Lady on Fire now occupies the position of a sacred cow. Is the hype warranted? No, not in the slightest. From top to bottom, Portrait comes off as cinema at its most affected and pandering, featuring nearly every trope and cliché that "trendy" cinephiles have come to expect with their NEON/A24-produced "Indie darlings": everything from self-conscious formalism to forced representation to stilted pacing to predictable plotting. What a lifeless bore—hope it enjoys its Criterion sticker.
From an ideological standpoint, worthy of the utmost contempt. For the longest time, there has been an effort to undermine Orson Welles' legacy, mostly on the part of Pauline Kael, the "brains" behind the slanderous bucket of lies known as "Raising Kane," and now David Fincher, with Mank, is the latest to jump on the dog-pile, putting forth the argument (a debunked one, mind you) that screenwriter Joseph L. Mankiewicz was the real genius behind Citizen Kane and that wonderkid…