The Quiet Duel

The Quiet Duel

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

1949

The Quiet Duel follows a doctor who contracts syphilis while performing surgery during the Second World War and tries to keep his condition secret. Well paced and well shot, the film is austere and affecting, but a contrived setup, dated morals, and scenes that sometimes veer into melodrama prevent The Quiet Duel from reaching the heights of Kurosawa’s best films.

Would see.

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Mulan


Mulan

Directed by Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft

1998

(Guest reviewer)

Mulan is set during an invasion of Han China by the Huns. Mulan serves in the army in place of her father and saves the kingdom. The level of humor is consistent with other Disney films of the 1990s (think Aladdin or The Lion King), but quick pacing and musical interludes give Mulan an innate charm.

Would see.

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Directed by Richard Starzak and Mark Burton

2015

(Guest reviewer)

Shaun the Sheep Movie is a wordless claymation adventure film which centers around Shaun and his flock as they search for the Farmer in the Big City. From the same minds that generated Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep Movie stays true to a spirit of absurd fun.

Would see.

 

Trainwreck

Trainwreck

Directed by Judd Apatow

2015

(Guest reviewer)

Trainwreck is a romantic comedy that follows Amy Townsend (Amy Schumer) as she unravels her feelings towards romantic interest and sports surgeon Aaron Conners. The film is a humorous take on the healing process of an emotionally damaged adult, but its attempts at poignancy and sincerity fall flat. The undeniable star is Lebron James, as himself.

Would not see.

Aladdin

Aladdin

Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker

1992

(Guest reviewer)

Aladdin is a children’s fantasy film about a pauper whose life is transformed when he is tricked into retrieving a magic lamp. Although Aladdin lacks plot subtlety and significant character development, it is amusing for audiences of all ages and heartwarming to watch.

Would see.

Phoenix

Phoenix

Directed by Christian Petzold

2014

Phoenix is a drama about a concentration camp survivor who returns to Berlin and tries to determine whether her husband had betrayed her during the war. The film is engaging and thought provoking, though, with a 98 minute run time, its brevity and lack of depth risk making Phoenix too slight and inessential for its weighty backdrop.

Would see.

The Master

The Master

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

2012

The Master is a drama about an alcoholic World War II veteran who struggles to adjust to society and joins a shadowy religious movement that is called “the Cause,” but closely resembles Scientology. Though thematically interesting, well acted, and well shot, The Master is somewhat of a chore to watch.

Would see.

Wild Strawberries

Wild Strawberries

Directed by Ingmar Bergman

1957

Wild Strawberries is a Swedish language film about an old professor who reevaluates his life on a dream and memory punctuated road trip. Appearing ponderous at first glance, Wild Strawberries proves itself poignant and lightly paced, finding humor and meaning in its examination of the joys and sorrows of reminiscence, even if it fails to fully bear the weight of the stark and complex questions it raises.

Would see.

The End of the Tour

The End of the Tour

Directed by James Ponsoldt

2015

The End of the Tour follows the writer, David Foster Wallace, over a five day interview with a Rolling Stone reporter, David Lipsky. The film is intermittently entertaining and occasionally meaningful, but mostly rote.

Would not see.