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|25 32%||Chips of the Old Block (1928) - Jun 15, 2019
"A full complement of Foy siblings (six before the camera and one behind) reunite for a thoroughly vaudevillian short with nice Vitaphone sound. At his point, they were all in their 20s, but still remembered as the child stars of a family act that was a popular draw in the 1910s."
|90 98%||The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) - Jun 02, 2019
"A film about faces. The expressionist set is barely seen, as one of the style's other tools—the close-up—attains its extreme conclusion. The jeers and sneers of Joan's accusers read clearly—as does the beatific piety glowing upon the faces of her (notably less present) supporters. Joan herself shows no shortage of the tearful suffering that makes this a passion narrative—but her face, by turns wild eyed and pensive, suggests an inner struggle beyond her faithful defiance we'll never see."
|26 35%||Alice on the Farm (1926) - May 26, 2019
"More creative gags than average for this series so far. Also, chickens dancing the Charleston. Alice is barely in it, though they seem to have run out of ideas for things for her to do in these shorts a long time ago."
|86 96%||7th Heaven (1927) - May 26, 2019
"A picture with no lack of memorably impressing set pieces, but romance pictures live by the strength of their lead performances, and this one has a strong foundation indeed. Admittedly, the wartime section that makes up the last third or so feels a bit superfluous in part because we get less of said lead performances to appreciate—but the blockbusters of this year did seem to need their WWI sequences."
|65 83%||Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927) - May 26, 2019
"A well-composed if not phenomenally arresting depiction of an interesting milieu. Given the "symphony" title and Ruttman's clear preoccupation with pulsating rhythmic patterns in his earlier animation, perhaps the driving essence of the film as such is a study in rhythmic montage writ large, with its fast and slow movements in succession (proponents of montage were always obsessing over rhythm, really)."
|35 52%||Alice Rattled by Rats (1925) - May 18, 2019
"Some rats give Julius trouble, providing the pretense for a variety of disconnected sight gags. And of course, the obsession with self-disassembly continues. It's a more varied and creative batch of material than average for an Alice short, but nothing Felix hadn't done many times over."
|27 38%||Spiel der Wellen (1926) - May 08, 2019
"An animated ad for radio equipment. Ripples depict both sound and radio waves well enough. An unclothed cartoon of an African musician supplies the AEG logo/jingle envisioned as both musical notation and said radio waves beamed across the continents. Rumination may produce a deeper conclusion about this intersection of colonialism, technology, and commercial music than the intended message of "buy AEG". Oh well, at least the moon looks cute wearing headphones."
|38 57%||Das wiedergefundene Paradies (1925) - May 08, 2019
"Stylistically interesting more so than technically or thematically. Though there is something to be said for the fact that Adam and Eve's heads are never heavier nor more three dimensional than at the moment of original sin."
|18 15%||The Water Nymph (1912) - Apr 21, 2019
"Supposedly the first Keystone release to hit theaters. Like the whole first batch of shorts, it's just quick and unremarkable unscripted emoting. It does however feature Mabel Normand in a form-fitting but full-coverage bathing suit—the "skinny dipping" scene from Mickey it is not."
|70 87%||Wings (1927) - Apr 21, 2019
"The blockbuster of its year. It's hard not to read it as a response to "The Big Parade," with the "War is hell" message dialed back to more conventionally melodramatic levels. In the psychic space thus freed up, we receive instead the message "Flying is thrilling," delivered by copious amounts of aerial footage (and Army ordnance courtesy of the 2nd Division). The drama and romantic comedy are very old hat but carried by the cast; the ambition lies in the scale and conception of the battles."