If you want the gravy…

…You've got to get the biscuits!


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The Films of 2017 in 150 Words or Less: Part II

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Like hell you did. Or if you did, the editing did a great job of hiding it.

Since I published the first batch of 2017 reviews, I’ve only seen an additional 14 films for the year, partially because of the limitations on my time and money, and partially because there have been fewer films I felt I truly had to see. I hope to catch up over the next four months (I will be pushing my film awards back to allow myself more time), but I will likely not come too near the 118 films I saw for last year – still a personal record.

Still, films I have seen, and films I will discuss.

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BLADE RUNNER 2049 Review – ****

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Orange and teal. Human and replicant. Real and unreal.

Coming out of Blade Runner 2049 a second time, I felt assured in saying what I had initially hesitated to claim: that this is a great film, a true epic, a sequel which can hold its own against a formidable forebear, and which stands on its own as a most impressive piece of entertainment, and one of the year’s best films.

As promised, I will echo my response to Mad Max: Fury Road and interweave my present thoughts on the film with my initial impressions. But I think there was a greater leap in my estimation of the film in question with Fury Road than with 2049; there, I hadn’t fully grasped that I was indeed dealing with a masterpiece, while here, I suspected – I wanted badly to believe – that I was, and the second viewing confirmed that.

As before, I will do my best to avoid spoilers, but if you wish to go into the film knowing as little as possible, and I strongly recommend you do, now is the time to leave.

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THE LIGHTSHIP Review – **

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“In a world of vagaries and inconstancy, Captain, it amuses me to set a course and to stick to it.” (Source)

The following review was originally written in 2011. Aside from some minor re-editing, it is presented in its original form.

The Lightship is another entry in the “foreign filmmaker goes Hollywood” cycle, mitigated somewhat by the fact that director Jerzy Skolimowski had worked in British cinema for about 15 years prior to this, and that the film was shot near the German island of Sylt (it’s meant to take place off Cape Hatteras)…but it nonetheless fits into the mold of such films frequently being pretentious duds. Not that The Lightship is without its flashes of interest, but for the most part it feels like a self-conscious attempt at profundity, made memorable largely by an intriguing central performance from Robert Duvall.

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THE FALLS Review – ****

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This review was originally written and posted on August 29, 2014. Save for some minor re-editing, it is presented here verbatim.

Imagine a cinematic dictionary in 92 parts, dealing with a fictitious (so far) event, full of absurdities and the driest humor you could imagine, about a Violent Unexplained Event which affected 19 million people. Imagine that these people began to mutate, began to dream of water, became obsessed with birds in a thousand different ways that no one–yet–has been obsessed with them. Imagine that somewhere in the middle of all this is Tulse Luper.

And who is Tulse Luper? Don’t ask if you don’t have the time to hear the answer.

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The Films of 2017 in 150 Words or Less: Part I

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“$7.50 an hour!” “But he has a million dollar heart!”

I’ve seen far fewer films this year than in previous years; tight finances are partially to blame, and a comparative lack of “must-see” films hasn’t helped. But for the most part, I’ve been pretty lucky with the films I have seen, and so I offer my thoughts on the 22 films I haven’t already reviewed…

I have already made my feelings about The Book of Henry very clear indeed.

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HAMLET (1948) Review – ***½

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“This is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind.” (Source)

The quintessential Shakespearean actor of his time, playing the quintessential Shakespearean character in the quintessential Shakespearean play—directing it as well, and adapting/heavily cutting the text? It’s hard to imagine a classier enterprise, and the Academy agreed, giving the film Best Picture and Olivier Best Actor, the only Shakespearean film and performance to be so honored.

But how does it hold up 70 years after the fact?

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THE BOOK OF HENRY Review – **

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If this isn’t the most misleading poster I’ve ever seen, it’s because the film itself is just as misleading.

The Book of Henry is certainly not a good film, but calling it a bad one doesn’t seem to fit; it falls short of the mark, but not in the way a truly bad film does. Rather, it fails to answer two vital questions—who is it for, and what is it about?—and it’s hard to imagine anyone being satisfied with the end result.

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