HIGH AND LOW (Akira Kurosawa, 1963): 9.8
Stunning. This might be a 10 on another viewing just because it is so knotty and there’s no way I caught everything that is wonderful about this film. But I caught a lot. Best blocking of any film ever? Probably. Best sunglasses? Definitely. This is a goddam motion picture, folks. And please, my God, anyone who is planning to make a movie that makes use of space (every movie ever), please study how this film makes sure that we know exactly where everyone is in relation to everyone else at all times. Study that tailing scene in the streets! Study it!
AMARCORD (Federico Fellini, 1973): 7.4
Messy, broad, bawdy, and unfocused, and all those are absolutely part of its charms. The fact that this film stays so entertaining and watchable (and doesn’t completely fall apart) is a testament to Fellini’s skill as a filmmaker. Tonally, it strikes a wonderful balance, and he embellishes his childhood memories just enough to make them entertaining to everyone and not just himself. Ultimately, it’s like a very charming guy telling stories about his childhood. It’s entertaining and touching, and can certainly remind you of your own, but really, you just had to be there.
ALL IS LOST (J. C. Chandor, 2013): 8.4
A very, very impressive film that does what I think a good many movies would benefit from: eschew all backstory and exposition and just tell a rip-roaring adventure yarn. Really, this is pure cinema, something that only works as a film, and one that takes great pleasure in showing, in great detail, how things get done and how a man figures things out. Redford is perfect for the role, as he comes pre-loaded with a persona, and he is excellent at portraying a dude who has the gears always a-turning.