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  • Dance, Girl, Dance

    Dance, Girl, Dance

    ★★★★★

    Great start to TIFF’s Dorothy Arzner retrospective - and a longtime favourite. During her introductory remarks, series programmer Alicia Fletcher mentioned that she made it through two post-graduate film degrees without once seeing an Arzner film. That’s disheartening, and one hopes the canonizers are recalibrating their watch lists as we speak, but it also reminded me of my good fortune in having grown up indiscriminately immersed in the studio age buffet laid out by PBS stations during the ‘80s. I…

  • Till the End of Time

    Till the End of Time

    ★★★★½

    Director Edward Dmytryk puts on a clinic in blacklist-ready filmmaking.

    You've seen this film in plenty of footnotes to articles on Wyler's brilliant BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. It's the other "three soldiers come home" movie released in 1946. I'm not going to argue that it's better, but it's no also-ran.

    The themes are similar: social dislocation, existential dread, battlefield trauma, vicious physical challenges, and the whole gamut of concerns that come under the heading of "post-war readjustment"; but Dmytryk's…

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  • The Adventures of Robin Hood

    The Adventures of Robin Hood

    ★★★★

    Irresistible entertainment and a travesty of history. But who wants to hear the truth about "Good King Richard" when Errol Flynn is there to retcon the ol' Lion-Heart into Bernie Sanders? Flynn is indisputably the star (just in case the title didn't give it away), but every member of the incredible cast gets a chance to shine (including Una O'Connor as the real hero of the tale). The DeHavilland-Flynn chemistry still burns as brightly as the Technicolor.

  • Fanny & Alexander

    Fanny & Alexander

    ★★★★★

    First time seeing the 312 minute version.

    Perhaps the strongest conceivable defense of bourgeois hypocrisy/superficiality as a (temporary) refuge from existential dread. We are cordially invited to attend a sumptuous warts-and-all year-end celebration that, in most other films (perhaps especially in most other Bergman films), would play like a scathing critique of corrupt indulgence and falsity. Here, those flatulent festivities take on a kind of miasmatic glow in comparison with the crisp, cool cruelties on offer at the Bishop's Citadel…