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  • Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

    Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

    ★★

    2019

    It’s no secret that society maintains a sick fascination with true crime and the various monsters behind it. From O.J. Simpson to Jeffrey Dahmer, there’s something morbidly addictive about fruitlessly trying to fit the puzzle pieces of these atrocious events and people together. It should come at no surprise that such tales bleed into all walks of narrative art, from literature to television to cinema. The most compelling of true crime art attempts to grapple with the bewildering entanglement…

  • Mommy

    Mommy

    ★★★★

    2014

    True to its title, Xavier Dolan’s excellent 2014 film Mommy is a rewardingly dense observational study on parenthood. Transpiring in a distant future where a fictional Canadian law grants parents the ability to commit troubled children over to the state, Mommy follows the struggle of single mother Diane “Die” Després (Anne Dorval) to raise her violently ADHD child Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon). Dolan’s attempt to capture their complicated relationship falls somewhere in the realm of social realism, yet he presents…

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  • The Tree of Life

    The Tree of Life

    ★★★★½

    2011

    The road to Cannes 2019 ends here (since I leave today!).

    I've always felt relatively lukewarm to Malick, often appreciative of his visual prowess and what he's trying to accomplish but admittedly a bit bored. I found Badlands jarring and distant despite thoroughly enjoying Martin Sheen's performance. I liked Days of Heaven a bit more for its dazzling cinematography and a narrative that paired nicely with its dreamlike gaze. The Thin Red Line often felt sluggish to me at…

  • Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

    Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

    ★★★½

    2006

    "May George Bush drink the blood of every man, woman, and child in Iraq!"

    a seminal work of American satire.

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  • Taxi Driver

    Taxi Driver

    ★★★★½

    There's a moment in Taxi Driver when Travis Bickle is balancing his TV set with his foot. There's a light tension in the air as it oscillates back and forth between the force of his foot and gravity. Ultimately it falls over, and its assured destruction is perhaps the film's most obvious parallel to Travis's own downward spiral. Teetering on the edge in his own mental illness and isolation, Travis is very much that TV set.

  • Blade Runner 2049

    Blade Runner 2049

    ★★★★½

    2017

    So frustratingly close to becoming a modern masterpiece, held back literally by a handful of clumsy scenes of exposition.

    Roger Deakins is a treasure. The first shot of Ryan Gosling's silhouette against the harsh orange of poisoned Las Vegas air is *perfect*. Its jaw-dropping beauty caught me off guard even on a second watch.