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  • The Gold Rush
  • City Lights
  • Modern Times
  • The Great Dictator

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  • Charlie's White Elephant

  • His Prehistoric Past

  • Getting Acquainted

  • The Rescue

    ★★★

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  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show

    Trans-Frankenstein
    (originally posted on IMDb 25 August 2018)

    There's no substitute for attending a theatrical screening of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," it's true, with the the rowdy audience participation that accompanies midnight showings of the campy rock-musical cult classic. I've done it, and it's a lot more fun than viewing it on home video. Yet, I suspect some write off this film for that reason as unworthy of serious appreciation. And some of the criticism is fair; for instance,…

  • Totally Under Control

    Totally Under Control

    ★★★★½

    Pandemic Irony

    I've seen a lot of disaster movies, especially since the pandemic uprooted our lives, and I've always been bemused that the first instinct of authorities is to avoid a panic. Always, this means lying to the public regarding the impending doom. The public's ignorance, then, leads to their being unprepared for the disaster, of which the only thing standing in the way is luck and competent governance. Leave it to Hollywood, I suppose, to think up something that…

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  • The Rescue

    The Rescue

    ★★★

    Climbing to Diving

    "The Rescue," about the 2018 evacuation of a children's football team from an underwater cave in Thailand during monsoon season, would seem to make for the more emotional, if not altogether stronger, documentary and is the bigger story and a fitting counter-narrative of international cooperation amid the isolationism of the subsequent pandemic. Indeed, there was competition for the rights to tell the story. Reportedly, Kevin Macdonald was set to direct at one point. The story of the…

  • Free Solo

    Free Solo

    ★★★★

    A Rock and a Hard Place

    The climactic event of "Free Solo," of rock climber Alex Honnold ascending without a rope, harness, or protective gear (i.e. a "free solo" climb) a vertical rock formation at Yosemite, is a thrilling cinematic experience in acrophobia--the most exhilarating I've seen since "The Walk" (2015) and all the more remarkable because here it's documentary footage--and extremely well-done vivid camerawork at that. The filmmakers, too, as led by co-director Jimmy Chin, by necessity are expert…

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  • Untold: Malice at the Palace

    Untold: Malice at the Palace

    Told, but Poorly

    When you begin a documentary program stating that footage of a past event wasn't made public back then and follow that up with interviewees suggesting we don't know the entire story, one expects the documentary to be informative--provide new footage and perspectives, tell the untold. So, it's egregious when this hour-and-some-change "Untold: Malice at the Palace" doesn't do that. There's hardly anything here that hadn't played live on television and repeatedly on ESPN and the rest of…

  • WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn

    WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn

    ★★

    "We" is Upside Down to Confuse You into Working for "Me"

    What a fluff documentary for a fluff company the laboriously-titled "WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn" is. All the financial summarization here--the stupid business plan of pretending boring interior decorating for businesses a transformational tech company, and, of course, the inevitable fraud that funnels the money up top--is less telling than The Economist articles I barely recall skimming through during WeWork's IPO fiasco. I…