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      Joe Baltake

      Joe Baltake

      Tomatometer-approved critic

      Growing up, I wiled away my time at the movies. I'd sit through a movie two, three times and, at night, my dreams invariably would be about movies and the people in them. While other kids were out in the sun, I'd be committing movie dialogue to memory. A fair amount of time was spent either at the local theater (called the Liberty, which, in my case, was apt, as it liberated my mind) or reading about movies, talking about movies, analyzing them. Every school essay somehow was twisted into a movie review. Life, as far as I was concerned, was simply a grand excuse to go to the movies and then sit around and just think about them. When you're 10, no one bothers you if you stare at the ceiling all day, connecting the cracks. My personality was shaped largely on my parents' living room floor. Later, when I became a professional movie critic (for Gannett, Knight-Ridder and McClatchy Newspapers), I realized that making a living out of looking at movies in the afternoon is another way of connecting the cracks in the ceiling. Everyone does it and I've a hunch that the way a person connects the lines, the way he or she analyzes a movie, says a lot about them. My passion now is those films that have been neglected, overlooked, underrated, hastily dismissed, unfairly maligned and generally forgotten -- and that are just about impossible to see anymore. In short, definitely not the usual suspects. Check out for assorted observations, pronouncements and viewpoints on such films.


      Billy Wilder's The Apartment and Ave in a Hole, Mervyn LeRoy's Gypsy, Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, Sam Peckinpah's The Getaway, Jean Renoir's Le Grand Illusion/The Grand Illusion, Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, Vertigo and Marnie, Charles Chaplin's City Lights, Jean-Luc Godard's A Bout de Souffle/Breathless, Peter Bogdanovich's At Long Last Love, Richard Quine's Bell Book & Candle and The Notorious Landlady, Fritz Lang's Der Mude Tod/Destiny, Morton DaCosta's Auntie Mame, John Ford's The Searchers, Brian DePalma's Blow Out, Hal Ashby's The Landlord and Vincente Minnelli's Some Came Running

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