Friday, January 12, 2018

Underworld


1927, US, directed by Josef von Sternberg

I loved every minute of this, shot and edited with tremendous verve, and providing the template for many of the gangland riches of the 1930s, most obviously under Hawks's baton. The film's brevity also gives a preview of the quickfire Warner Bros ripped-from-the-headlines style, while the set pieces are handled with exceptional skill and drama. 

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The Big City


1963, India, directed by Satyajit Ray (aka Mahanagar)

Ray's exceptional film is a warm, pragmatic depiction of the family dynamics that are cast into sharp relief when a young Calcutta woman elects to take a job in order to supplement her family's income. I had only previously seen Ray's Apu films, so this came as a welcome corrective to the idea that his focus is resolutely rural. Mahanangar provides a rich sense of life in early 1960s Calcutta -- the backdrop of economic precariousness is neatly summarized -- as well as a wonderful heroine (played with exceptional subtlety by Madhabi Mukherjee). 


Ray's particular skill here lies in sketching in each member of the family with a distinct and complex character; the refusal to over-simplify the characterizations creates moments of considerable emotional power (without ever leaving us in doubt who the centre of the story is). The film is also luminously beautiful -- there far too many striking and insightful shots to enumerate, though the effort would be a pleasure. 





(I was inspired to watch the film after it appeared in the Siren's end-of-year roundup of treasures). 

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

The Five-Year Engagement


2012, US, directed by Nicholas Stoller

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Downsizing


2017, US, directed by Alexander Payne

Monday, December 25, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2


2017, US, directed by James Gunn

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Churchill


2017, UK, directed by Jonathan Teplitzky

Going in Style


2017, US, directed by Zach Braff

So instantly forgettable it took me several weeks to remember that I had seen it.

Patti Cake$


2017, US, directed by Geremy Jasper

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Logan Lucky


2017, US, directed by Steven Soderbergh

Certainly fun, and exceptionally well constructed, but you feel that Soderbergh could do a great deal more than revisit the one-big-heist territory that he seems to be so enamored with.

Index

List of all movies

Most of the images here are either studio publicity stills or screen captures I've made myself; if I've taken your image without giving you credit, please let me know.

About Me

Boston, Massachusetts, United States