Céline and Julie Go Boating (1974)

Jacques Rivette’s tribute to Frank Tashlin, Hollywood musicals, and Alfred Hitchcock, Céline and Julie Go Boating is a plethora of comic raucousness, a surreal, uproarious three-hour farce that celebrates exuberance and the human spirit. Continue reading “Céline and Julie Go Boating (1974)”

Phenomena (1985)

I’ve often struggled with the films of Dario Argento; like Brian De Palma, Argento is a technically proficient director with a knack for Hitchcockian visuals and self-conscious camp often at the expense of character nuance and depth, downplaying story in favor of sheer and empty spectacle Continue reading “Phenomena (1985)”

Chinese Roulette (1976)

This drama by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, featuring the late Anna Karina, centers on a wealthy Munich husband and wife who simultaneously discover that their partner is having an affair.  Initially somewhat farcical before transitioning into a psychological thriller, Chinese Roulette is one of Fassbinder’s most stylish features; his camera frequently zooms and glides past his ensemble of tortured souls and his fascination with mirrors, doorways, and staircases is taken to its logical conclusion. Continue reading “Chinese Roulette (1976)”

Spite Marriage (1929)

This largely forgettable Buster Keaton vehicle was the second feature he produced for MGM and his final silent film (although produced with a synchronized soundtrack).  Centering on a hapless dry cleaner (Keaton) who weds the girl of his dreams, not realizing their marriage was a sham conducted to vex his spouse’s ex-boyfriend, Spite Marriage is one of Buster’s weakest and limpest efforts. Continue reading “Spite Marriage (1929)”

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