movie review

The Maltese Falcon

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No one hard-boils glamor like Humphrey Bogart. And here in the inauguration of his peremptory charm, first-time director John Huston gives film noir the slanted shadows to match the ones under Bogart’s eyes. Raymond Chandler slashed it with rain before sticking its romance in the cold corner pocket, like Dashiell Hammett (who pens the book Huston adapts), a man of mean streets and smoky rooms, of loose broads and heroes who charge by the hour. Huston gets it. He gives a hard-drinking city its cool hilarity, that crease-faced ire of Bogart turning whiskey glasses to dust in a fit of rage, storming out, and grinning in the hall, too pleased with himself. He gives it the broken bottle dreams that would pass to Rick Blaine. He’s no story, all character. If he doesn’t make the first noir, he makes the first that knows itself.

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Alice Through the Looking Glass

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The following can be found with a quick search.

won·der
noun
a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable

If Disney and director James Bobin will not remember the particular verses hiding within this one, indispensably childlike word, which can only be felt bouncing on a knee or lying under the stars, then at least you might. “Inexplicable” is the only one of those words that applies to “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” a film that rehashes Tim Burton’s rehash of Lewis Carroll to the point that the lack of wonder is actually discomfiting. Like the movie spread its sick into the hole your wonder used to live in. I can explain how it makes me feel, but not how it was made by thinking human beings.

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The Fountain

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Stars and planets constantly move, but even a thousand years ago they looked the same from earth, inspiring countless mythologies to adopt similar symbols for love, loss, life, and time. From the perspective of those stars, humans must appear quite cyclical folk, making the same mistakes and chasing the same dreams no matter the millennia. “The Fountain” is a story of love and loss as from the perspective of those stars. Unfortunately, it seems like the stars spent less time reading Joseph Campbell (author of the mythologist’s bible, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”) than they spent watching “The Notebook.” It’s as mystifyingly impersonal as you’d imagine of a rom-com (hold the com) from Icarus’ point of view. But where it really burns up is how discernible it all is once you sweep up the mythic pretension of a three thousand year story and put what’s left back on its cramped, 96-minute shelf.

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