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  • Payback

    Payback

    ★★½

    Big fan of Point Blank (1967) so it wasn’t too likely that I would love this remake (or, if you will, another film adaptation of Donald E. Westlake’s (as Richard Stark) Hunter). Yet - I do have to give it credit for one thing - even though it was made more than 20 years later - the double crossed and left for dead Porter (Mel Gibson) doesn’t relentless chase down the same $93,000 that the double crossed and left for…

  • The Graceful Brute

    The Graceful Brute

    ★★★★

    Shown as part of the Shohei Imamura career retrospective making the Cinemateque rounds. Director Yuzo Kawashima was one of Imamura's mentors and a central influence on the tone and style of his films. This is one of Kawashima's last features (he died prematurely at age 45), a rarely seen in North America claustrophobia inducing pitch black comedy. A sort of grifter chamber drama almost entirely set within the tight confines of the small apartment in a shabby tenement, where an…

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  • Journey into Fear

    Journey into Fear

    ★★★½

    The cinema of disorientation. An everyman (Joseph Cotten), the target of a pudgy depraved looking Nazi assassin, is unwittingly thrown into a bizarre environment of international intrigue. Strange, brief, teetering on incoherence – but fascinating. This Mercury production once slated to be helmed by Orson Welles (he gets a juicy supporting role and hams it up accordingly) fell into the lap of Welles' friend and colleague Norman Foster who ended up giving the film an extremely Wellsian look thereby fueling subsequent authorship debates. Ends with a thrilling rain soaked confrontation on a building ledge. Pretty shallow content wise, but there's lots of stylistic eye candy

  • Trouble in Mind

    Trouble in Mind

    ★★★½

    I rarely connect with Alan Rudolph films but will concede he delivers an inimitable style. This wacked only in the 80s item features a dragless Divine making like Kasper Gutman as a recurring character on Portlandia, Keith Carradine meeting the Brother from Another Planet and then transforming from impoverished yokel to the seemingly felonious leader of an Oingo Boingo cover band, Lori Singer suggesting a basic pleasure model Nexus-6 replicant, and Kris Kristofferson deciding whether to take the red pill…

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  • Mank

    Mank

    ★★★

    Was lead to believe this was all about the film buff authorship bun fight (this element is really only specifically and awkwardly shoehorned in at the end) but it felt more like both a partisan election year film (with a too late release date) and a belated apology by proxy to the talented Marion Davies (put me on team Amanda Seyfried for MVP). Uneven (the first portion expository dialogue is like bad Sorkin) but pretty impressive once it settles in.…

  • The Last Wagon

    The Last Wagon

    ★★★★

    If you watch enough CinemaScope films that were released by 20th Century-Fox during the mid-fifties you start to realize that the camera typically seemed imprisoned. While the pretty vistas became more awe inspiring as the result of the wide frame the filmmaking became more staid, with little but static shots and minimal cuts (an occasional pan, but few tracking shots). As the filmmakers technical tools became more cumbersome montage took a back seat, and even exotic location shot scenes could…