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Inside Llewyn D...
Perfect 66 Points 2013

The Coen Brothers latest is one of their best, strong praise indeed for the creators of classics that include The Big Lebowski, Intolerable Cruelty and Miller’s Crossing. Yet their evocation of a fictionalized early Sixties folk scene is pitch perfect. Star turns, outstanding songs and more tha…

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WikChip Video Justin & Carey sing Five Hundred Miles
The Blue Angel
Really Great 66 Points 1930

Seminal movie, thy name is The Blue Angel, Der Blaue Engel in its native German. Josef von Sternberg was 36 when he paired unknown Marlene Dietrich with eminent Emil Jannings. Dietrich and von Sternberg rocketed straight to Hollywood. Jannings was left behind, kind of like in the story its…

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WikChip Video Falling In Love Again with Marlene
There's No Busi...
Really Great 66 Points 1954

There’s No Business Like Show Business and there was no show business phonier than vaudeville, till movies. So an overtly phony movie about vaudeville makes for a phony convergence. It was perhaps the last of the musical extravaganzas, a calorically rich compendium of Irving Berlin’s showstoppi…

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WikChip Video Marilyn Monroe & Donald O'Connor: Sta...
Amazing Grace
Really Great 66 Points 2018

Aretha Franklin was never even that close to being one of my favorite soul singers. There, I’ve said it.
Diana Ross, Nina Simone & Mavis Staples all found more favor with me than did the Queen of Soul.

That’s now chang…

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WikChip Video The most sought-after concert film? Yes!
The Sapphires
Great 66 Points 2012

Sweet soul music forms the soundtrack of this infectiously enjoyable Australian musical-comedy. Telling the truthy tale of four black girls from Down Under who performed American soul music for U.S. GIs and Marines in Vietnam, The Sapphires tickles, touches and torches in equal measure.


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WikChip Video The Sapphires' smoking hot What A Man
Great 66 Points 2019

Yesterday is the best high-concept movie in recent memory. What if the entire world never knew of the Beatles? No Hey Jude, no Sgt. Peppers, no Revolution, no Fab Four. John, Paul, George & Ringo, just lads.

Except one guy never forgot, a failed singer-songwriter who only needed one gr…

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WikChip Video The only singer who knows the Beatles
River of No Return
Great 66 Points 1954

Marilyn Monroe didn’t want to appear in River of No Return, nor did Otto Preminger want to direct it, especially if Marilyn was to star. Studio contracts forced them into it and we’re all the better for it today. River of No Return is a fine mid-Fifties Western, with surprising Italian root…

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WikChip Video Marilyn sings: Let it wash over you.
Pal Joey
Great 66 Points 1957

Frank Sinatra won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical as the womanizing nightclub singer in Pal Joey. Sandwiched between the glamorous Rita Hayworth and the luscious Kim Novak, he’s at his lounge-lizard best in this mid-century paean to pre-liberation sexual politics. It’s a wh…

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WikChip Video The Lady is a Tramp - Sinatra simmers
Jersey Boys
Very Good 66 Points 2014

This long movie is no longer than the smash stage show it brings to the Silver Screen. It just feels like it. Clint Eastwood apparently couldn’t come up with a way to transform the show for the screen, with middling results. I can’t think of a way either, but that doesn’t change the underwhelm…

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WikChip Video Jersey Boys @Tonys: This U can dance 2
In Old California
Good 66 Points 1942

In Old California is a simpleminded recreation of Old Sacramento in 1848 and then 1849, made in 1942. A quasi-historical tale, it mostly exists to showcase John Wayne looking quite-the-dandy, from Boston even. The settings are the thing now: pre-49er San Francisco and then up the river to Old…

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WikChip Image John Wayne, the Boston Dandy