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      Rating Title | Year Author Quote
      Ulysses (1967) Pauline Kael Perhaps the best thing about the movie is its total inadequacy: it shouldn’t result in any damage to our feelings about the book because the images in the movie aren’t strong enough to supplant our own.
      Posted Sep 20, 2023
      Night Games (1966) Pauline Kael A Gothic tale about decadence and impotence, combining the worst of Fellini with the worst of Bergman, and featuring the kind of depraved upper-class partying at which the question “Don’t you wish you were dead?” is answered by “I’m dead already.”
      Posted Sep 20, 2023
      The Way West (1967) Pauline Kael The Way West is about as bad an epic Western as I’ve ever seen.
      Posted Sep 20, 2023
      The War Wagon (1967) Pauline Kael When it’s the tired comic spectacle of rich old men degrading themselves for more money and fame and power, does it much matter if it’s done poorly or with chic? In some ways the chic is more offensive.
      Posted Sep 20, 2023
      El Dorado (1967) Pauline Kael El Dorado combines Wayne and Mitchum, both looking exhausted. The director, Howard Hawks, is also tired.
      Posted Sep 19, 2023
      Accident (1967) Pauline Kael Accident is nasty fun -- a fascinating, rather preposterous movie, uneven, unsatisfying, but with virtuoso passages of calculated meanness.
      Posted Sep 19, 2023
      The Quiller Memorandum (1966) Pauline Kael Even the actors are too big for their purposes here: their talents are out of scale with their roles. Von Sydow is reduced to cracking his knuckles for “characterization.”
      Posted Sep 19, 2023
      Funeral in Berlin (1967) Pauline Kael About the only thing that made Palmer amusing [in The Ipcress File] was his shabby small-time “professional’s” indifference to the larger stakes: improve his character and you take away the only character he had.
      Posted Sep 19, 2023
      Grand Prix (1966) Pauline Kael There’s so much plain and fancy hard work involved in a production like Grand Prix that it begins to seem almost cruelly flippant to watch it for the same reasons we’d watch a lousy old movie on television.
      Posted Sep 19, 2023
      The Sand Pebbles (1966) Pauline Kael When a movie is this big (and over three hours long) we sit there thinking, “What’s it all for?”
      Posted Sep 19, 2023
      Hawaii (1966) Pauline Kael What I am describing sounds like a stinker. And by formal aesthetic standards it is. But it’s a surprisingly absorbing movie, just the same.
      Posted Sep 19, 2023
      Georgy Girl (1966) Pauline Kael Even that sense of discomfort, of puzzlement, evaporates, because it is all made trivial -- Georgy’s pain as well as her bright remarks.
      Posted Sep 19, 2023
      Morgan! (1966) Pauline Kael I think Morgan! is so appealing to college students because it shares their self-view: they accept this mess of cute infantilism and obsessions ‘and aberrations without expecting the writer and director to straighten it out or resolve it.
      Posted Sep 19, 2023
      Red Desert (1964) Pauline Kael I found the movie deadly: a hazy poetic illustration of emotional chaos -- which was made peculiarly attractive. If I’ve got to be driven up a wall, I'd rather do it at my own pace -- which is considerably faster than Antonioni’s.
      Posted Sep 19, 2023
      A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) Pauline Kael Lester’s short-term camera magic keeps cutting into and away from the comedians (Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Jack Gilford, Michael Hordern), who never get a chance to develop a routine or to bring off a number. What are we being distracted from?
      Posted Sep 19, 2023
      The Shameless Old Lady (1966) Pauline Kael After we’ve watched the director loading the dice, it’s not really much fun watching him roll them. The sentimental gratifications of the well-turned plot that fulfills our expectations belong to the old movies we don’t watch on TV.
      Posted Sep 19, 2023
      Holly (2023) Jennifer Wilson The show, and this season in particular, is a rousing defense of why art matters and why we cannot afford to lose the people who make it...
      Posted Sep 15, 2023
      Wild Cargo (1934) Otis Ferguson Some of its dramatic passages I suspect to be made out of whole cloth; but the absorbing part of such a piece of work lies not in the drama but in the authentic background, the movement of wild life.
      Posted Sep 11, 2023
      Tarzan and His Mate (1934) Otis Ferguson The picture is studded with high points (as witness a battle with a rubber crocodile lasting about five uproarious and thrashing minutes), is consistently hair-raising with ambuscades, tom-toms and near escapes, and lasts for something like twelve reels.
      Posted Sep 11, 2023
      It Happened One Night (1934) Otis Ferguson Considering its subject, it is better than it has any right to be -- better acted, better directed, better written.
      Posted Sep 11, 2023
      Tempest (1928) Edmund Wilson There is something false about the whole thing perhaps, because the story is false from beginning to end.
      Posted Sep 11, 2023
      The Patriot (1928) Edmund Wilson The sets and the photography of The Patriot are rather ugly, but the acting and the direction are wonderful, and seem to prove -- what has sometimes been denied -- that the movies are able to compete with the serious spoken drama in its own field.
      Posted Sep 11, 2023
      Traffic (2000) Stanley Kauffmann Benicio Del Toro... has the film actor's state of grace: he charms while he acts, not by trying to charm.
      Posted Sep 08, 2023
      Return to Seoul (2022) Jasmine Liu Return to Seoul revels in the possibilities of perpetual drift. Freddie’s relationships with her birth parents, her adoptive parents, and herself remain in flux.
      Posted Aug 07, 2023
      Afire (2023) Jasmine Liu Afire, Petzold revisits the question posed in Transit. Does the search for humanity in cataclysm—a pursuit that can take over one's life—make us, conversely, less human?
      Posted Aug 07, 2023
      Stephen Curry: Underrated (2023) Jennifer Wilson A spate of documentaries produced by athletes and leagues are more interested in settling scores than in the game.
      Posted Jul 31, 2023
      Oppenheimer (2023) David Klion Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster captures the scientific triumphs and monstrous sins of the Manhattan Project.
      Posted Jul 21, 2023
      Barbie (2023) Grace Segers Barbie is surprisingly spiritual, treating the messiness and contradictions of womanhood with reverence.
      Posted Jul 21, 2023
      Reality (2023) David Klion Reality is undeniably compelling cinema, and it raises some implicit questions about what qualities we do and don’t value in public servants.
      Posted Jun 08, 2023
      Master Gardener (2022) Ben Schwartz Paul Schrader’s portrait of an ex–white supremacist gang member is an unlikely feat of optimism.
      Posted May 24, 2023
      R.M.N. (2022) Lidija Haas Cristian Mungiu’s R.M.N. zooms in on the resentments and anxieties roiling Europe.
      Posted May 01, 2023
      Showing Up (2022) Vikram Murthi Showing Up’s unassuming canvas carries the weight of creation -- its difficulty and necessity in atomized times -- and though it never preaches, Reichardt maintains there’s worth to the work, even if the precarity never disappears.
      Posted Apr 13, 2023
      Close (2022) Daphne Merkin [It] not only invokes a common theme but represents an increasingly rare cinematic foray into the sort of complex and intentionally ambiguous material that may not play well at the box office but lingers with the viewer...
      Posted Mar 16, 2023
      Aftersun (2022) Daphne Merkin A subtlety—a nuanced exposition of storylines that might have easily been too simplified—that one doesn’t often find in larger films, particularly American ones...
      Posted Mar 16, 2023
      Saint Omer (2022) Jennifer Wilson Diop resists the temptation to let Laurence off the hook altogether, to attribute her actions and motivations solely to mistreatment. To do so would be to deprive her of her humanity...
      Posted Mar 09, 2023
      Infinity Pool (2023) John Semley Ultimately, Brandon Cronenberg’s new movie may not be very good. But at least he’s failing on his own terms.
      Posted Feb 02, 2023
      White Noise (2022) Jennifer Wilson Baumbach holds back from giving us anything truly bold. The film needed to be far more experimental and political to have something substantial to say about our viewing practices...
      Posted Jan 03, 2023
      The Lady Eve (1941) Otis Ferguson Some of it is slapstick; a little of it is impossible the wrong way; but in general its pleasures come from the characters as found.
      Posted Dec 29, 2022
      Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Otis Ferguson To say of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that it is among the genuine artistic achievements of this country takes no great daring.
      Posted Dec 21, 2022
      Nanny (2022) Lidija Haas Nikyatu Jusu's portrait of a nanny's breakdown fuses horror and social realism.
      Posted Nov 18, 2022
      Triangle of Sadness (2022) Andrew Marzoni In Ruben Östlund’s satire, the amusements of the moneyed elite belie a foundation of violence, cowardice, and shame.
      Posted Oct 10, 2022
      The Deer Hunter (1978) Stanley Kauffmann So many of the elements are so good that it all adds up to a pity. Someone, or more than one -- writer or producers or director or editor or all -- fogged up about why this picture was being made and whether it was on the rails.
      Posted Aug 30, 2022
      A Raisin in the Sun (1961) Stanley Kauffmann A film transcription... generally commonplace, and occasionally ludicrous.
      Posted Aug 23, 2022
      Nope (2022) Jonathan W. Gray Peele rejects the premise that lies at the heart of the idea of the frontier: an unspoiled landscape that offers rugged and determined white men the opportunity to make their fortune.
      Posted Jul 29, 2022
      Sharp Stick (2022) Lidija Haas Sharp Stick has all the hallmarks of a Dunham production. That’s the problem.
      Posted Jul 29, 2022
      How Green Was My Valley (1941) Otis Ferguson The deepest things in the picture are the incidental things, but they are thoroughly realized, they are vivid to us, and John Ford did not leave them there by chance.
      Posted Jul 26, 2022
      Persuasion (2022) Philippa Snow If there is any electricity in Persuasion, it is Johnson who is acting as the generator; it’s a pity the film fails to harness it effectively enough to be persuasive in its vision.
      Posted Jul 15, 2022
      Happening (2021) Lidija Haas Audrey Diwan’s film recreates a woman’s isolating, wrenching efforts to get an abortion in France in the 1960s.
      Posted May 12, 2022
      Navalny (2022) David Klion The film was made entirely before the invasion and hasn’t been updated to acknowledge it, but viewed at the present point, it serves not only as an international political thriller but as a kind of elegy to the era of Russian history that has just ended,
      Posted Apr 25, 2022
      In Which We Serve (1942) Manny Farber One is aware from the start of this movie that it is something new, not done before... The content of each shot was conceived in a film sense rather than any other, and no other picture this year has equaled it. Not even nearly.
      Posted Mar 25, 2022
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