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  • Swingtime in the Movies

    Swingtime in the Movies

    Musical comedy two-reeler with a few cameos by Warner contract players, and one of the few times John Garfield appeared in Technicolor. (Are all his feature films black-and-white?) The most amusing thing here is the movie director character seems to be a parody of Michael Curtiz.

  • The Cobweb

    The Cobweb

    ★★★★½

    Rich, underrated Minnelli with a masterful use of Cinemascope. His characteristic themes are here: reality/fantasy, bourgeois critique, the work(ing) of art. History enters the picture through Gish's presence and her association with Griffith and his version of the bygone America. It also seems like this might work as a coded Hollywood movie — Widmark as director, Boyer as producer, Kerr and Strasberg as young stars, Levant as jaded has-been, the institution as a stand-in for a studio. (Which puts it…

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  • The Lady Eve

    The Lady Eve

    ★★★★½

    Seeing a Preston Sturges film invariably makes me want to track down the screenplay and study it. This one especially. It’s a typical film of his in so many ways.

    But unlike most Sturges characters, Fonda’s Charles Pike isn’t the slightest bit irritable or anxious. He’s not really cynical or suspicious of anyone, least of all the bands of con artists who surround him.

    That adds to the humor, of course, but it makes for a trusting naive type that…

  • The Irishman

    The Irishman

    ★★★★★

    Uniquely moving within Scorsese’s body of work. It’s practically Fordian in its meditation on history and masculine power dynamics in America. 

    The references to Scorsese’s previous movies add layers and resonance to De Niro’s characterization, surely the greatest director-actor collaboration in American film.

    The last half hour seals the deal playing like a Catholic Ozu episode.