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  • The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat

    The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat


    A train arrives at the same angle it would if you were standing on the platform awaiting its arrival. And yet the legends tell us that the first audiences who saw this screamed and cowered for their seats or ran for their lives to the exits. I always wonder how apocryphal many of these stories about early cinema are, by writers eager to exploit the perceived naivete of early audiences for dramatic effect. Maybe it did happen that way. Who knows?

  • Music Makes a City: A Louisville Orchestra Story

    Music Makes a City: A Louisville Orchestra Story


    On the tail end of the Great Depression, Louisville, Kentucky -- a thriving industrial metropolis on the Ohio River -- was inundated by its greatest natural disaster, the Flood of 1937. As the waters cleared and the massive cleanup proceeded the citizens and the elites of the town took stock of what they had and didn't have, and what it might accomplish in the wake of recovery. Despite a varied and robust arts scene the city lacked a proper symphony…

Popular reviews

  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood


    I went into this movie cold. No reading of any reviews in advance. Nor will this review adhere to any kind of rigor. I don't see any great value in commenting to any deep degree on a new film that is already generating voluminous comment and which would require more time to pass to allow more thoughtful and considered assessment. First reactions are inherently suspect.

    First of all, bravo to Quentin Tarantino for making a movie that got me back…

  • Won Ton Ton: the Dog Who Saved Hollywood

    Won Ton Ton: the Dog Who Saved Hollywood

    (Reviewed as part of a "joke challenge" with Letterboxd user, Trolleyfreak; prompted by discussion of the works of Michael Winner...)

    It's debatable as to when Old Hollywood decisively died, but the infamous 1970 MGM auction -- when the company decided to concentrate on Las Vegas gambling -- took a lot of the soul as well as the wind out of Tinseltown's sails. When Dorothy's ruby slippers went on the block, it was like Hollywood selling off its magic.

    Hollywood in…