Great Films of the Cinematic Canon: Reviewed.
BY PASHA MALLA
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
This thrilling story revolves around a mysterious Chinese Bookie, and one man’s quest to kill him. But does the Chinese Bookie get it in the end, you ask? At the risk of spoiling the film, I will only tell you this: yes. Yes, he most certainly does.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
“Oh, Mr. Smith!” you will invariably lament. “Will you ever get to Washington?” A fine, albeit infuriating, piece of cinema.
Studio executives said it couldn’t be done. “A superhero with acne?!” they scoffed. But Akira Kurosawa showed them all with the triumphant Rashomon.
Jules et Jim
What is it about the French cinema that delights us so? From La Nouvelle Vague comes yet another tragic tale of friendship compromised by cannibalism, here suggesting that perhaps young Jules should never have “et” companion Jim after all.
Strangers On A Train
“They swap murders” — so suggests a character in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic tale of murder and swapping, Strangers on a Train. Once again, the master of suspense piles on layer upon layer of intrigue, not to mention suspense, which is — wow. There’s a lot of it, I’ll tell you that much. Well done, Alfred Hitchcock! Well done.
Altamont, 1969: the brothers Maysles capture popular band of the time “The Rolling Stones” in all their rocking, rolling, stoned, no-moss-gathering glory. Basically a testament to the spirit of the sixties (flower power, free love, etc.) this feel-good documentary is a nostalgic treat for the entire family.
Pornography. Avoid at all costs.
Sergei Eisenstein fairly revolutionized editing practices in contemporary cinema with the advent of the phrase “Cut!”, and Potemkin is widely recognized as the landmark picture that foregrounded Eisenstein’s techniques. For hundreds of years prior, filmmaking had been a laborious process in which, while the camera rolled, the entire cast scrambled madly in order to get in place for the following scene. Cut, indeed.
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