Director John Huston was ailing and could barely see as he was directing his last film The Dead, but you couldn’t tell from looking at its rich compositions and masterful blocking.
All Quiet on the Western Front 2022
In an interview with Francois Truffaut for the Chicago Tribune, the discussion of violence and death in movies steered towards war films, for which Truffaut offered his now famous thoughts on the genre. “Some films claim to be antiwar, but I don’t think I’ve really seen an antiwar film. Every film about war ends up being pro-war.” In that discussion, Siskel offered Paths of Glory as a counterexample, but Truffaut asserted that Kubrick loved violence very much.
Twilight's Last Gleaming 1977
The pace of this thriller seems glacial compared to modern standards but the material is still compelling. Burt Lancaster proves that he is as good a postmodern leading man as he is a leading man, with his cynicism and disaffectedness coloring his actions. It's a really compelling performance because he looks like a war hero even though he's acting exactly the opposite of one. I don't know how daring this particular film was considering Nixon pulled out the last of…
*Susannah Grant series
It's a tad long, but Drew Barrymore is really charming. The film also looks gorgeous with what seems to be real locations and, of course, fantastic costumes and production design. Dougray Scott looks way too old for her but their chemistry is pretty good. Still don't know what Susannah Grant is really responsible for, but this is a film rich with interesting female characters so perhaps she was responsible for fleshing out those characters.
Freedom Writers 2007
I saw this movie way before my experience with social justice teaching. It's pandering in a way that is supposed to make privileged audiences feel good about themselves. Instead of addressing the systemic flaws that created the harsh world these students live in, it falls into the trap of white woman savior saving the poor illiterate kids of color, which is condescending at best, straight up racist at its worst. I don't think Hollywood will ever get a movie about teachers right if this kind of crap passes as verisimilitude.
Black Panther 2018
I kind of forgot I was watching a Marvel movie and that was so welcome. It's an incredible, beautiful vision of Black empowerment and influence, but it's also complex and influenced by current knowledge and issues. It also manages not to be didactic and gives us some of the best staged action scenes in any Marvel movie. A big studio like Disney should not be afraid to let artists have their voices heard, and this is proof.
Edit: Just heard…