The besties review
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A pretty amusing little silent film with one really great set piece towards the end. It’s clear to me that Harry Lloyd probably doesn’t receive as much acclaim as he should, as I had never even heard of him before watching this. I'm a fan of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, but this movie makes me look forward to further exploring the unsung (or less-sung) heroes of silent comedy.
P.S. I feel validated by this movie’s depiction of fabric stores. Joann Fabrics is a stressful place!!
Despite its age, Battleship Potemkin holds up pretty well thanks to its great cinematography, poetic narration cards, and a few distinct moments of genuine thrill and intensity. The first half drags a bit, but the second half is actually pretty riveting. The Steps of Odessa and One Against All chapters are especially well-shot and narratively exciting.
It may be long, but it’s truly fantastic. The performances and production design really stood out to me, but my absolute favorite element has to be the score. The version of Metropolis I watched included a version of the “original” Gottfried Huppertz score, which feels so ahead of its time. I’d be genuinely shocked if John Williams wasn’t greatly influenced by this score or the work of Huppertz in general. It has shades of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and even E.T. I have yet to see Moroder’s version of Metropolis, though I’m sure that is great as well!
The Passion of Joan of Arc
I’m just gonna come out and say it: this movie is overrated. There’s nothing particularly bad about it, but there’s nothing particularly exciting either. I like De Niro, Pesci seems to be doing his usual, and Ray Liotta's hyena laugh is (maybe purposefully) terrifying. But I don't know, it's just fine to me.
Pandora’s Box (This review may contain spoilers.)
Woah okay. I had no clue this was going to be about a sugar baby who goes on the run after marrying and then murdering her sugar daddy, only to be murdered herself at the hands of Jack the Ripper!
I didn’t like it per se, but at a certain point I was just like, “wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a silent film like this.” Pandora’s Box gets a hesitantly positive review from me right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I enjoyed it more on a rewatch.
Oh, and I definitely think that this would be a great movie for someone like Yorgos Lanthimos to adapt. Here's my dream casting for 2022's Pandora's Box:
Anya Taylor-Joy as Lulu
Colin Farrell as Dr. Ludwig Schön
Timothée Chalamet as Alwa Schön
Bill Camp as Schigolch
Jesse Plemons as Rodrigo Quast
Greta Gerwig as Countess Augusta Geschwitz
Alicia Vikander as Charlotte Marie Adelaide von Zarnikow
Jake Gyllenhaal as "Jack"
What is 5 Film Film Festival (5FFF)?
In short, 5 Film Film Festival is an ongoing personal project to help me watch more classic films. For each mini “festival,” I will choose a random theme (be it a genre, actor, director, etc.) and curate five movies that fit that theme to watch for the first time. When I started this journey, I posted my brief, unpolished thoughts on Letterboxd. I like this more informal, less pretentious mode of watching older movies, so as I begin documenting the project here on the site, don’t expect a lot of in-depth analysis— every “review” will read more like a “first reaction.”
If you’re like me, and you have more than a few blind spots in your cinematic knowledge, then consider joining me on this lifelong endeavor. Watch along, recommend themes, and organize some mini festivals of your own!
David Merkle rules.