I’ve recently been engrossed in Roger Ebert’s published collection of essays entitled The Great Movies. He was not a fan of lists, and this essay collection—along with his entries into the Sight and Sound poll—pretty much acted as his only dabblings in list-making. The “great movies” of Ebert’s selection consisted of about 360 or so films ranging from Giovanni Pastrone’s 1914 silent epic Cabiria and ending with 2008’s beautifully quaint Japanese masterpiece from Yōjirō Takita, Departures. These essays, therefore, were not meant to act as a cool countdown list; they were not even supposed to be comprehensive—there were a lot of great movies that Ebert didn’t write about (though he likely would have if he hadn’t passed away). This collection, was instead to act as a tour, as it were, through the staples of a truly competent movie-connoisseur.
Charlie Chaplin is so much fun to watch that he’s actually fun to write about. I recently had a social networking request to hear a review of The Great Dictator, and since I have enjoyed writing the last three film reviews so much (all three about Chaplin movies) I must readily accept this request. The decision is not made lightly. After all, this movie is by far his most controversial, not just in regards to his content but also in regards to the large spectrum of approval that this movie has been subject to over the years. Continue reading →
In my review of Modern Times, I said that it was part of Charlie Chaplin’s “Big 3” along with The Gold Rush and City Lights. Since I have already reviewed The Gold Rush as well—and, in that review, admitted that I had great desire to tarry in Chaplin’s world for a little while—I would like to now provide a review of Chaplin’s best picture, City Lights. Continue reading →
I have decided that as long as I am here, I will stay here and enjoy it.
For me, after all, Charlie Chaplin is like Paris. He’s that thing you’ve always heard of and can recognize in a heartbeat even if you’ve never really seen it for yourself. He’s the one who’s always been there; not a single person alive today knows of a time when he wasn’t. He’s the icon that transcends just one country; he belongs a little bit to everyone. Amid a Hollywood full of Chicagos and Houstons, Chaplin is the La Ville-Lumière, the City of Love and Lights. It is only fitting, therefore, that he made such urban films. With that being said, his personal favorite film, and the one which is most universally praised, is The Gold Rush: his most rural. Continue reading →
My blog, at least on the surface, is directed by reason and ruled by rationale. While I sometimes stray from the formula (see my occasional dabblings in annual Academy Awards season, etc.), I attempt to methodically determine what is the next best thing to post in conjunction with what has already been posted and what I would like to post in the near- and distant-future. In this regard, the option for my next film review is obvious: I’ve done three Hitchcock films and three Coppola films (Vertigo, Notorious, Psycho, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, and The Conversation) and only two silent films (The General and Battleship Potemkin). It is time, therefore, for a silent film. Continue reading →
*And supplementary lecture on the nature of silent film.
This blog is due for another silent film, and the one that I have selected is Battleship Potemkin (or, in Russian, Bronenosyets Potyomkin). As was recently posted, Potemkin stands at number 2 on my list of the “Most Important Films of All Time.” These are films selected strictly for aesthetic and technical innovation, with the qualification that said innovation produced radical change in the popular movie landscape, and not due to story or tertiary film elements along the lines of score, acting, or literary devices—save for those situations when one of those tertiary elements brought forth radical change (Wizard of Oz, for example). These were, quite simply, decided upon the film itself. Not the film as in “the movie,” but film as in the film, the literal celluloid collection. Embracing film as a singular art medium is a necessary facet to understanding silent films, and is unfortunately lost in much of what we consider quality film criticism today. Continue reading →
I had some time; I made this video. These are 100 films (mostly American) that I think everyone needs to see on their journey towards film competency. THIS IS NOT A LIST OF THE GREATEST FILMS EVER. It is a list of some of the greatest films ever, films that I think everyone should see before they start making claims that they are true movie-buffs. It is set to the sublime score of John Williams’ Schindler’s List. Please excuse two typos in the titles of the film. Continue reading →