Our Hospitality (John G. Blystone and Buster Keaton, 1923). Early Keaton feature is in many ways a more “normal” movie than some of his famous classics, telling a version of the Hatfields and the McCoys that is played only partly for laughs. There are some sweet moments between Keaton and his then-wife Natalie Talmadge, and loving recreations of an 1830 train and a bicycle from the same era. What makes it “normal” is that there is very little of the acrobatic slapstick we expect from Keaton. The ending, though, is a battle with nature than comes close to matching the peerless storm in Steamboat Bill, Jr. Even here, it’s played less for laughs than for audacious daring, and Keaton’s work is jaw-dropping as no one else was until Jackie Chan came along. #546 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of all time. 8/10. The Netflix streaming version includes Sherlock Jr., which is one of his great 10/10 movies (there are more than one), which makes a nice double bill.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014). 6/10.
12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013). 9/10.
Big Night (Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci, 1996). 8/10.