REVIEW: A Night in Casablanca [1946]

“I don’t even trust me” Even though I have never seen a Marx Brothers film, it’s pretty plain that A Night in Casablanca was a cash grab. Released five years after The Big Store (which at the time was billed as their final work), Chico had ultimately cajoled Groucho and Harpo to get back together with him for two more movies to pay off his gambling debts. They agreed, United Artists produced, and Groucho took it upon himself to use the media for added interest by pretending Warner Bros. was…

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REVIEW: The Maltese Falcon [1941]

“You’re a good man, sister” Based on pure coincidence from a conversation that had nothing to do with John Huston’s classic debut The Maltese Falcon, watching Rian Johnson’s Brick later in the same night couldn’t have been more perfect. The latter a modern noir described as Dashiell Hammett in high school, the parallels were hitting me left and right without my realizing that the scribe who inspired it actually wrote the novel the former was based upon. Exchanges are mirrored in Brick—like the lead detectives confronting the law in a…

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REVIEW: Casablanca [1943]

“Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time.” This is doubtfully a remark to make my case, but although I remembered very little about Casablanca from my first viewing years ago—besides Sam the piano player starting “As Time Goes By” at Ilsa’s request to procure Rick from the other room of his café—it really is one of the best films ever made. From Michael Curtiz’s direction, to Max Steiner’s score, to Arthur Edeson’s gorgeous black and white, to the cast’s ability to infuse humor into a very…

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FILM MARATHON #3: Movie Musicals (Broadway & Original)

The reason I started doing my marathon series was to finally start seeing films I’ve neglected and needed to see. Doing the filmography of Terrence Malick couldn’t have turned out better with some of the greatest works of cinema I’ve ever seen. Days of Heaven easily vaulted itself into my top 10 of all-time and The Thin Red Line wasn’t too far behind. Checking out Julia Roberts films might have made me realize I’ve been wrongly ignoring her abilities as an actor, but Malick has given me a new auteur…

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REVIEW: Brick [2006]

“Where do you eat lunch?” This is a film I have been highly anticipating for over a year. After first hitting the festival circuit in January of 2005 it went through the cycles, finally getting a stateside limited release at the end of March 2006. Buffalo, I ask you now to open your eyes to a masterpiece of cinema as Brick finally debuts at the Amherst Dipson. Brick is a not a film as much as a symphony where each instrument is tuned to the beat of the conductor. Each…

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