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Classic Movie Review: Night Moves (1975)
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Night Moves (1975) movie review

Night Moves (1975)
Blu-ray | DVD | Digital HD
Directed by Arthur Penn
Starring: Gene Hackman, Melanie Griffith, Janet Ward, James Woods, Harris Yulin, Anthony Costello, Susan Clark, Edward Binns, and Jennifer Warren
Theatrical Release Date: June 11, 1975

– Who’s winning?
– Nobody. One side is just losing slower than the other.

By the time this dialogue occurs you begin to wonder why it took so long for it to be uttered. In 1975 America was striving to overcome the Vietnam War and still reeling from the pungent behavior of those corrupt individuals involved in the deceitful doings of Watergate. The influence of these events were inescapable, thus creating turbulent times all around, especially in cinema.

Night Moves, where the aforementioned quote is from, in particular, directed by Arthur Penn and scripted by Alan Sharp, is a feverish noir that was fully aware of the incessant confusion and mournful distress swallowing up our world at that time, rendering the population hopeless. It’s this kind of cinema, so inextricably tied to its era, that still manages to achieve a sense of timelessness. That’s because of its inquisitive nature to discern truth even if it means losing every now and then.

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Classic Movie Review: A Woman Under The Influence
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A Woman Under the Influence

A Woman Under the Influence
Directed by John Cassavetes
Starring: Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Katherine Cassavetes, Lady Rowlands, Fred Draper, Eddie Shaw
Theatrical Release Date: November 18, 1974
Criterion Collection Release Date: November 4, 2008

American director John Cassavetes once stated that “marriage isn’t a romance totally. Very sparse moments do you have to be romantic in a marriage.” His 1974 film A Woman Under the Influence beautifully reiterates his philosophy tremendously. The idea of love and relationships always had an enormous impact on all of Cassavetes’ pictures. While watching A Woman Under the Influence while being familiar with the aforementioned quote you realize how little romance is shown in the quintessential romantic way.

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Movie Review: You Were Never Really Here
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You Were Never Really Here review

You Were Never Really Here
Written & directed by Lynne Ramsay
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov, John Doman, Alex Manette
Amazon Studios
Release Date: April 6, 2018

It seems like he is merely existing. His beard, unkempt with tinges of gray in it, is slowly beginning to swallow his face. He looks drastically out of shape. We see him prowling around at night with no oomph in his step. He’s simply there, probably wishing he wasn’t. More than likely he’s been faltering for a long time now just waiting to fade away, overwhelmed by a past that has crippled him mentally and sucked a good chunk of life out of him physically. His name is Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) and he’s a gun…or should I say hammer for hire.

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Classic Movie Review: Taipei Story
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Taipei Story

Taipei Story
Directed by Edward Yang
Starring: Hsiao-Hsien Hou, Chen Tsai, Su-Yun Ko
Theatrical Release Date: April 22nd, 1985
Criterion Collection Release Date: May 30th, 2017

There is such an abundance of longing lingering within each frame of Edward Yang’s 1985 film Taipei Story. It is impossible to neglect since each scene that passes tends to be more sorrowful than the last.

The Taiwanese nights, filmed impeccably and beautifully by Wei-Han Yang, tend to be grieving and pulsating with life. Still, nothing seems to truly satisfy the city (it always wanting more on its way to modernity and being globalized) or the characters (who are not pleased with the present). Hence, their infinite longing. There is always going to be a particular something, be it the past, a career, or an ex-lover, that will be in the way of not only happiness but of contentment as well.

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Classic Movie Review: Only Angels Have Wings (The Criterion Collection)
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Only Angels Have Wings review

Only Angels Have Wings
Blu-ray | DVD
Directed by Howard Hawks
Starring: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, and Richard Barthelmess
Criterion Collection Release Date: April 12, 2016

The treacherous landscape of a South American village is where our adventure takes off. Nothing new here. Chameleonic director Howard Hawks has an unmatched affinity with environments that have such an immediate influence on his characters. Sometimes rendering them helpless and other times it influences his characters to rise to the occasion. Think of the ruthless wild west evidenced in Rio Bravo, the unforgiving terrains in Red River, the extraordinarily corrupt neighborhood in The Big Sleep, or the abundance of violence running amuck everywhere in Scarface. All of his films are completely disparate when it comes to genres and themes. The one commonality all of them abide by is the ferociousness of their landscape. 1939’s Only Angels Have Wings is no different.

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Classic Movie Review: Sweet Smell Of Success
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Sweet Smell of Success

Sweet Smell of Success
Blu-ray l DVD
Directed by: Alexander Mackendrick
Written by: Clifford Odets
Starring: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison, Martin Milner, Jeff Donnell, and Sam Levene
Release Date: July 4, 1957

They live by night. It is odd to see Sydney Falco or J.J. Hunsecker out during broad daylight. They do the bulk of their work when the moon comes up. It would be an apt comparison placing their names in the same sentence as Dracula. They prowl the city streets confidently, with an abundance of swag and an overwhelming sense of determination guiding them towards their blood – the one thing that keeps them alive: gossip, which evidently leads to crushed souls all around.

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Three-D’s Top 30 Movies of 2017
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Top 30 Films Of 2017 Movies of 2017

The best of cinema this year dwelled on loss. It isn’t a subject many flock to the theaters for, but it proves to be a subject worthy of many good films and a few great ones this year. Loss can be overused and melodramatic. Loss can also be depressing. There is a niche of films, though, that use this subject with an exact purpose: to overwhelm its audience with emotion and to cause us to ruminate on what we just watched.

The loss of a father in Columbus provokes a relationship that could last a lifetime. The loss of a sibling in Personal Shopper could impact a soul for a lifetime. A ghost in A Ghost Story has lost his life and has the misfortune of seeing life zoom by others, witnessing them losing what they love. And in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri a mother’s loss ignites a strand of violence that cannot be altered. Below are more films dealing with loss.

Here are my Top 30 Movies of 2017

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Best Movies Of 2017 … So Far — Three D’s Picks
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Wind River Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner Movies of 2017

We are more than half way through the year and we haven’t been exposed to many great films. Naturally, at this point of the year, there may have been a handful of pictures that would have had a profound influence on its viewers initially. One or two have had such an impact (A Ghost Story and Wind River), while others could replicate that same feeling with multiple viewings (the majority of the films on this list). But the majority of the year’s pickings are lacking distinction. We’ll be looking forward to the next few months. Until then, here are my picks for the best movies of 2017 so far.

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Blu-ray Review: The Red Shoes (The Criterion Collection)
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The Red Shoes, The Criterion Collection Blu-ray

The Red Shoes
The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray Edition
Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Starring Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Leonide Massine, Robert Helpmann
Theatrical Release Date: September 6, 1948

How would you define ballet, Miss Neston?
Well, one might call it the poetry of motion perhaps, or…
One might. But for me it is a great deal more. For me it is a religion. And one doesn’t really care to see one’s religion practiced in an atmosphere…such as this.

In what seems to be a film paying the highest tribute possible to the world of ballet, we are taken aback when the film ends when we realize what it really has been about the entire time. The Red Shoes is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale about a girl who finds a pair of red slippers, puts them on, and cannot stop dancing. The film’s narrative approaches that subject and then ventures away from it.

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Three-D’s Top 30 Movies Of 2016
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Top 30 Movies Of 2016

Regret and “what if” scenarios consumed many of the narratives on this list of my Top 30 Movies of 2016. Grief isn’t so much a novelty in cinema. It has been confronted thousands of times before, but the way it was handled this year was remarkably beautiful. The year’s best films didn’t hide the fact that their specific characters were going to face mighty obstacles that threatened to suffocate them. It seemed very intimate and personal watching how these films perceived their characters confronting grief and confusion. It’s as if the directors of these films know us so well. They capture what it is to be human.

The two brothers in Hell or Hight Water are beaten down by our financial institutions…what if they robbed them back? Regret and confusion follow a young boy around until he is a grown man in Moonlight, and still no signs of either ever leaving. What if Captain Sullenberger obeyed protocol and turned the airplane around instead of landing it safely on the Hudson River? We probably wouldn’t have the movie Sully. And what if O.J Simpson willingly admitted to murdering his wife we wouldn’t have the sprawling eight-hour documentary O.J.: Made in America. And an overwhelming amount of regret is the central theme in Right Now, Wrong Then.

Here are my Top 30 Movies of 2016

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