Movie Clips: Persona, Paper Moon, The Naked City

I watch a great deal of films. Despite my undying love for films, I don’t entirely have the time to write a lengthy review for each one I see. I tend to save my long diatribes for current films, unless of course a film from the past enraptures my soul. Nonetheless, much like my “Film Shots” reviews, I’ve decided to introduce a smaller platform for film appraisals and recommendations. Thus the name of this particular post: “Movie Clips”. Quick bursts of information is the name of the game. I only hope this will serve as a barometer for your future choices. Those interested in checking out the film’s trailers, click on the titles themselves. So, let’s get to it:

Persona (1966): Ingmar Bergman has been known for making thematically dense films. From The Virgin Spring to The Seventh Seal, Bergman’s films are better categorized as intellectual prose than they are straight-laced dramas. Despite Bergman’s propensity for elusive material, none of his films are as impenetrable as Persona, a psychological deconstruction of a woman. Or is it the invasive investigation of two female psyches? I haven’t made heads or tails of the film’s puzzle, but this minimalistic, strongly acted film is always interesting and visually arresting. Especially when it intermittently evokes the horror genre.

Should You See It?: If you’re a blossoming cinephile or adventurous filmgoer, this is a must see film. For those who prefer little mental stimulation, you may want to steer clear of Bergman’s fleeting narrative. Can be accessed on Netflix Instant.

Paper Moon (1973): It’s not often a child actor can carry a film, but Tatum O’Neal does just that in Paper Moon, a film that sees her playing against her off-screen father, Ryan O’Neal. Tatum, playing an orphan named Addie, hits the road with Moses (Papa O’Neal), a grifter she believes is her real father. After the death of Addie’s mother, the inscrutable pair con their way through Middle America circa the Great Depression. Facing a cast of colorful characters, one being the superb Madeline Kahn, Moses and Addie subtly dwell into one another’s heart.

Should You See It?: Absolutely. Because of the film’s whimsical grifting scenes, and the obvious love and chemistry between Tatum and Ryan O’Neal, Paper Moon is an adorable, heartwarming film. Can be accessed on Netflix Instant.

The Naked City (1948): Directed by Jules Dassin, The Naked City is a noir film that is dialog driven. Wonderfully shot and peppered with great conversation, The Naked City tells the tale of a murdered model, and her posthumous effect on a city of millions. Known for its proud depiction of New York’s finest venues, The Naked City has everything you’d want in a murder film: Beautiful dames, shifty acquaintances, and a lead detective that’s the definition of cool. Actually, the lead detective, played by Barry Fitzgerald, isn’t suave nor a young conflicted man of the law. He’s simply an old-man that understands the game, albeit with a biting humor.

Should You See It?: When compared to other films cut from the same cloth, The Naked City pales in comparison. Despite showing its age, The Naked City is still an engrossing film with a fantastic third act. Can be accessed on Netflix Instant.


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