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  • Harakiri

    Harakiri

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    So many thoughts come to mind that I don’t know where to start. Well, for one thing, this is the kind of film where I could use the term “mise-en-scène” and actually feel like I’m using it correctly. The sets, the composition of actors in the frame, the choreography of the sword fighting sequences, and the lighting are all so palpable and really immerse you into these scenes that are totally gripping. Kobayashi’s style, with his zooms and dolly shots,…

  • The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek

    The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek

    ★★★★

    Doesn’t start firing on all cylinders until about halfway through but once it does, it’s hilarious. Eddie Bracken initially seemed to be doing his best Jimmy Stewart impression before finding his footing playing (another) unwitting participant in a huge town scandal. William Demarest is the MVP, though. An all-time great comedic bit inside a jail cell between him and Bracken that is the true highlight of the film. Oh, and there’s a punchline at the end involving Mussolini and Hitler. Sturges had some balls, huh?

    Watched on the Criterion Channel

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  • Da 5 Bloods

    Da 5 Bloods

    ★★★½

    A LOT of mixed feelings on this one. On one hand, it’s got a lot of great Spike Lee flourishes: poignant use of archival footage, love/hate characters, great soundtrack, and the notorious dolly shot! On the other though, it’s editing and pacing feel off, the writing isn’t great with too much stuff going on and not letting us breathe, and a mediocre second half. This is one of the best examples I can think of where the film has great…

  • Hail the Conquering Hero

    Hail the Conquering Hero

    ★★★★

    What’s unique about this movie is that it portrays an America coming out of a war where, almost unquestionably, anyone involved in the effort is considered a hero and rightfully so. Fascism had been defeated on a global scale and the return home from victory is a well-earned one. Since then, practically every war the United States has engaged in has done way more harm than good, so to watch this film is to witness a country that actually lived…