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2014: The Year in Reviews (Part II)

It’s been another third of the year, so let’s check in with the films of 2014 that I’ve watched since April.

What I do over the course of each year is, every January, I do my Film Release Calendar. And then, over the course of the year, I watch everything that comes out. (Basically everything. Last year I was running something like 92%.) And then, in December, I recap everything I saw and didn’t see. However, over the course of the year, once in April, once in August and once in December, I throw up quick reviews articles that contain my reaction to watching the films shortly after I saw them. The idea being that I can use these reviews against what I think about the films in December to come up with a true rating for them.

The April article contained all of the films I watched over the first four months of the year, and this article will contain everything I’ve watched between May and August. This does not necessarily include all the films that came out during this time. It’s just what I’ve watched. I will first list (and rate and review) everything I watched during that time, then I will tell you what films I have, but have yet to watch, and then which films I’ve yet to see and haven’t been able to obtain a copy of. This is merely making my life easier come December, that’s all.

And then, just like last time (I won’t be doing this in the next article, just now), I’ll put up a list of what films are most likely to end up in my Top Ten article (either in the top ten, or 11-20, or tiers 2 or 3), or my Unforgivables article. Oh, and I’ll continue to inform you about which films I have deliberately skipped from the year and have no intention of ever watching.

So there we are. Here’s all the stuff from 2014 I watched between May and now: Read the rest of this page »

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A Pictorial History of the Movies: 1925 – The Battleship Potemkin

What? Was that not the only way I could have started this article?

Clearly the choice for 1925, Battleship Potemkin is one of those movies that will be on the lists of most important films ever made, best films ever made, all of that stuff. And so far, we’ve been pretty American and European in our selections, even though Russia (Soviet or not) has a very long history of important filmmaking. How do I know? I took a class on it. They have a lot of great shit throughout the years. Some of it’s really, really great. Others, really only important in the context of their history, but still good.

And then you have the important filmmakers that came out of there. But still, an overlooked nation of cinema. Especially when some of the most important names came out of there. Eisenstein, who was and is so important in film theory, and Vertov, and Pudovkin, and Kuleshov, whose eponymous effect explains essentially what editing does.

But this film, speaking only in the context of itself, since you have to, otherwise I’d be going on forever, is a real masterpiece, and I’m not even sure where to begin with it. Read the rest of this page »

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The Battleship Potemkin - 124

A Pictorial History of the Movies: 1924 – Greed

I mean, for lack of a better word…

We’re in for a fun article today. Greed is one of the holy grails of early cinema. The uncut version of this is on par with Abel Gance’s Napoleon. People seek this out. It’s generally regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, certainly of the silent era, if not of all time.

And, the film is also kind of the first example of a Heaven’s Gate. Which is to say – the auteur making his film wildly over schedule and over budget, and turning it into, at-the-time, what was considered a huge disaster. I know Metropolis was also one of those scenarios, and Metropolis actually bankrupted a studio, but I feel like this was more the first one. Maybe this is the Ishtar to Metropolis’s Heaven’s Gate.

Either way, this will be fun. Read the rest of this page »

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Greed - 11

A Pictorial History of the Movies: 1923 – Safety Last!

It’s the image. Pure and simple. If you boiled down silent cinema into a collection of images, this would probably be… number two, maybe. Behind the moon with the rocket in the eye. I’m sure there are others right there, but you get my point.

When talking about some of the most iconic images in film, this one will always be mentioned. Which is strange, since most people haven’t even seen the film it’s from. (Hell, I barely even remember the film.)

Harold Lloyd is one of those comedians who, while he has his share of fans, isn’t really remembered as well as Chaplin and Keaton and others are from the silent era. Older folks may cite him as an influence, but you don’t really get too many people being introduced to his stuff nowadays. Though at the time, his name was as big as Chaplin and Keaton. In fact, his film actually made more money than Chaplin’s films did. Read the rest of this page »

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Safety Last!

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