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  • First Cow

    First Cow

    ★★★½

    Frontier life in Oregon in the 1820s. Two men bond in a commercial enterprise providing baked goods to the local trappers and explorers using an illicit supply chain. As with other Kelly Reichardt films (and I love her films, don't get me wrong), we're treated to a subtle and slowly developing examination of the human condition under the various stresses of their contemporary lives with none of the extravagances of a large Hollywood film production. This film was particularly dark...both…

  • Onward

    Onward

    ★★★½

    Pixar's "other" animated feature in 2020 was an old fashioned coming-of-age quest film. It's not nearly as woke as "Soul;" but it is a better movie. Missing is the misguided, human centered after-life world of the latter film, replaced by a more relatable fairy-tale world of magic practicing elves. Admittedly, there's nothing here as intellectually transporting as the jazz performing in "Soul". But nothing in that film affected me emotionally the way that a kid's growing respect for his older brother and miraculous contact with his dead father did.

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  • El Topo

    El Topo

    ★★★★★

    The New York Times contacted me today for background about my review of El Topo that was published in the L.A. Free Press on April 23, 1971. They provided me with a scan of the article, and I'm reposting it here. Maybe 43 years later its verbiage is a little embarrassing; but I stand by what I wrote back then. How often do we get an opportunity to view what we thought about films through the prism of the far…

  • Joy

    Joy

    ★½

    David O. Russell's popularity and reputation for enlightened whimsy eludes me. I can't blame the actors in what has become his "stock company" for my dislike of this film. Rather it must be Russell's mechanistic, by-the-numbers script filled with neurotic characters acting nonsensically. I know I'm out of step with audiences here; so forget that I ever tried to review this film.