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  • Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze

    Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze

    ★★

    OK, I will give him credit for timing things to get an actual sneeze. But come on! This is a tiny sneeze! I want to see a real humdinger of a sneeze. I didn't get one here.

  • The Birth of a Nation

    The Birth of a Nation

    ★★★★

    Well, how the hell do you rate a movie like this? This contains some remarkable filmmaking, especially considering the advances over earlier movies. But HOLY SHIT, this movie was even more racist than I had expected, and I had expected it to be really racist. The first half, during the Civil War, was, I thought, more dramatically stilted than the second half, as is wont to happen when you're trying to drape a fictional story around a well-known historical framework.…

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  • Los Angeles Plays Itself

    Los Angeles Plays Itself

    ★★★½

    Excellently researched, this is a wonderfully compiled set of thematically-related clips about a subject I love dearly, the geography and history of Los Angeles. But it's really unfortunate that such a remarkable document is hamstrung by its pretentious narration that feels like it was put together by a crank who likes nothing better than expressing his derision about anybody who dares have a different perspective from his. I struggled to find a coherent thesis beyond "I'm going to gripe about…

  • Pather Panchali

    Pather Panchali

    ★★★★½

    This is one of those movies that has seemingly always been on my to-watch list, but I finally got around to seeing it, through Kanopy. Such a beautiful and true-to-life movie. When I catch up to a movie this great, I sometimes wonder why I hadn’t watched it before, I sometimes think that I’ve watched it at the perfect time in my life, and sometimes I get excited by the idea that there are masterpieces out there to watch for the rest of my life.