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  • In Night and Ice

    In Night and Ice

    ★★★

    Pretty slow but really special historically to see a dramatization of the sinking from the same year.

    Focuses on specific groups within the ship: the captain and radio operators, the men in the engine room, and passengers in the Café Parisien. It advertises its truthfulness “based on authentic accounts” but gets several details wrong, including having the ship crash into the iceberg and stop dead, instead of scraping by it. 

    Also makes up a dramatic ending to Captain Smith.

    It was a lost film until a print was found in 1998.

  • Atlantic

    Atlantic

    ★★★½

    They wasted no time making a talkie version of the Titanic story at the advent of the new medium.

    ATLANTIC (1929) uses sound really well—for one, they included some nice (anachronistic) jazz music. Outside, you hear crashing waves against the ship. During the crash, the alarm and crowd panic sounds are effective and eerie. 

    The story focuses on class distinctions and the duties of the men: first, in deciding to stay on the ship, and second, in how they face death. Do you get drunk or die with dignity?

    Worth seeking out.

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  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

    ★★★★½

    From everything I’d heard about MASTER AND COMMANDER, I expected it to be great. But it surprised me in many ways. Mostly, its maturity and quietness.

    There’re fewer naval battles than I expected and more time getting to know the crew and the period details of life on the ship.

    The sound design is masterful. The score only comes in at key moments, so you’re mostly hearing the waves crack and the ship’s creaks.

    Visually, the staging and cinematography make…

  • No Country for Old Men

    No Country for Old Men

    ★★★★★

    With the context of hindsight on our side, it’s safe to say that this is one of the best films of the 2000s.

    It’s startlingly effective in every sense—from the Coen brothers’ evocative writing and directing, to Roger Deakins’s cinematography, to the pacing, to the perfect casting, to the nuanced way that timeless themes of good vs. evil are explored.

    It’s a neowestern with a noir sensibility. Josh Brolin’s Llewelyn Moss is remiscent of a John Wayne-like character from a…