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V’s Ten for Ten: #3 – “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” (1949)

“Never apologize, Mister!  It’s a sign of weakness.” – Captain Nathan Brittles If I had to sum up the basic differences between films before vs. films after 1972, it’s that films before practiced the art of subtle non-subtlety, while films after it tend to practice non-subtle subtlety. The difference looks a bit like this: acting […]

V’s Ten for Ten: #2 – “Battle Royale” (2000)

Most controversial movies get that way because of the things they do.  Yet so much about this movie works because of the things it doesn’t do. It seems ironic that apart from the United States, the country that arguably produced the greatest filmmakers in the twentieth century was its greatest enemy in World War II.  […]

V’s Ten for Ten: #1 – “48 Hrs.” (1982)

Welcome to Ten for Ten – the segment I promised late last year where yours truly would write ten essays on ten films, and the only thing they have in common is that I love the films but have never written about them before. Additional rules are as follows: no more than two films from […]

The Twenty-One Best Films of the 21st Century

I probably should have written this list at the very beginning of the year.  2021 wasn’t a great year in cinema, nor was the year before it.  In fact, the last couple of decades have not been particularly great for cinema as an art medium nor a positive force for shaping popular culture. But since […]

“Nightmare Alley” (2021): Get Him to the Geek (Review)

★★★½ This movie references both of the two things that scare Austin Powers: (1) nuclear war, and (2) carnies. Every Guillermo del Toro movie has at least two monsters.  There’s the movie monster, and there’s the “real” monster.  The movie monster is usually a victim or a misunderstood friend, or, perhaps, if it’s still something […]

“The Matrix Resurrections” (2021): The Metatrix

★★ The end credits replay the Rage Against the Machine song that had famously closed The Matrix. While Rage was always only ever good for its guitar, the new version is a kidz-bop style shallow cover. Ironic that a song called “Wake Up” can put you to sleep; but credit where due – this is […]

“The Lord of the Rings” (2001-03): V’s Favorite Movie

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published on the Cinematic Katzenjammer in December, 2018. “You’re a critic?  What’s your favorite movie?” I’m asked this a lot, and I often suspect that people are looking for an obscurer answer than the one in my pocket.  But it also feels like asking “what’s my favorite dream.” Although […]

“West Side Story” (2021): Who Wants to Live in America (Review)

★★ Steven Spielberg (without Tony Kushner) already made a musical.  It was called Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  In that film, anything went.  In West Side Story (2021), nothing did. When the two leads aren’t there, the picture is occasionally tolerable.  Like the original, the two leads are the least interesting pieces of […]

The Trial of the Citizen

High-tech and low-tech lynchings in America still happen. It is imperative to the interests of justice, racial harmony, and the rule of law in America that Kyle Rittenhouse be acquitted of all homicide charges, and that Travis and Gregory McMichael (and Roddie Bryan) be convicted of all respective charges for what they did to Ahmaud […]