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Celluloid Junkie - 2702 Rankings

Member Since: Jun 13, 2008

Location: portland, oregon, USA

Bio: Unabridged reviews can be found here:

Recent Rankings
63 T7 Anatahan (1953) - Aug 23, 2016
"A strange and otherworldly film even by Sternberg's standards, appropriately enough it resembles some tropical jungle-induced fever dream as much as it does a realist narrative. This is at least in part due of course to the blatantly artificial sets and Sternberg's decision to narrate the film himself rather than subtitle or dub the actors' Japanese dialogue. The results are singular and unique, at once harkening back to the director's silent work yet oddly modern. It's uneven but fascinating."
80 T9 Shanghai Express (1932) - Aug 22, 2016
"Not my favorite Sternberg, but as always it's impossible for me not be won over by it's stylistic chutzpah, making up for what it otherwise may lack in convincing drama or humor. Whatever insufficiencies the human element of this film may suffer from are largely inconsequential compared to the exquisitely composed mis-en-scene. In this sense, Sternberg is virtually the diametric opposite of someone like Roberto Rossellini, which in and of itself almost ensures my admiration for this."
57 T6 Midnight Special (2016) - Aug 21, 2016
"I guess if you can only watch one unabashedly retro '80s Spielberg pastiche wherein government agents chase after a kid with telekinetic powers this year, you may as well make it the one with Michael Shannon and Adam Driver and without a CGI monster..."
48 T5 Stranger Things (2016) - Aug 20, 2016
"Well gee I sure am glad that someone decided to turn M83's "Midnight City" music video into an entire series..."
43 T5 Shoe Shine (1946) - Aug 19, 2016
"I'm probably sort of underrating this one slightly, it was actually fairly entertaining once the kids get sent to the detention center, albeit it slightly more conventional and plot-driven than De Sica's latter neorealist films. The ending was pretty heavy-handed though, and i think i'm just burned out on Italian neorealism (not that i ever took to it much to begin with)."
63 T7 Cartesius (1974) - Aug 18, 2016
"It was hard for me to be as engaged with this as i was with Blaise Pascal, especially after seeing Descartes getting his ass handed to him by Pascal in the aforementioned film. It probably doesn't help that the branches of philosophy that i'm the most savvy in are basically constructed around critiquing and debunking Descartes' assumptions. Other than that, it's virtually the same movie as Blaise Pascal (Rossellini even uses the same score from the previous film). It's not bad for what it is."
43 T5 The Age of the Medici (1973) - Aug 18, 2016
"Probably the most lavish and cinematic of Rossellini's later history films, but also one of even more limited interest to me. To an even greater extent than the others, it feels like something specifically designed for Italian history students. It probably doesn't help that the actors playing Cosimo Medici and Leon Battista Alberti looked almost identical and I kept getting confused about which one was which, not that I'm sure it mattered that much in the long run since none of it felt relevent."
73 T8 Blaise Pascal (1972) - Aug 18, 2016
"Going into Rossellini's history films, I knew their reputation for being overwhelmingly "dry" and didactic, but I guess I was sort of expecting (hoping?) for something more formally rigorous and austere, a la Bresson or even Straub/Huillet. What they are instead is more functionally bland than anything. Fortunately, Pascal is an interesting enough figure to somewhat make up for what this lacks in cinematic interest. It's basically a film of philosophical dialogue, but i often found it moving."
53 T6 La Prise de pouvoir par Louis XIV (1966) - Aug 18, 2016
"Ever-so-slightly more "cinematic" than Rossellini's later history films, but I didn't find it particularly engaging or memorable, even compared to Blaise Pascal or Cartesius, which at least explore interesting philosophical ideas. This one is more strictly historical and of limited interest to me. The lead actor does give a distinctive, almost Bressonian performance."
23 T3 Rome, Open City (1945) - Aug 18, 2016
"Even overlooking the cringe-worthy cartoonish gay villain stuff, this is just completely clunky and remarkably conventional melodramatic nonsense. What anyone sees in this is completely beyond me."