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  • Asako I & II

    Asako I & II

    ★★★★

    Most of us are always split on what we want, wanting the best of both worlds. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi brilliantly illustrates that with Asako I & II. And while the desire to be both with an aloof, mysterious, reckless, and sensual lover and a more stable, reliable, wholly committed lover is an easy narrative to weave, what Hamaguchi does very well is create an atmosphere of absence.

    Absence, if we're being honest, is how our memories work. We create a sense of…

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    ★★★★★

    Céline Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire is everything you want from a period love story: highlighting the looks to observe and being caught, noting body language and what that means for desire, and making you feel like you're watching something dirty when it's actually just an armpit being fingered.

    It's also as close to the society of Lesbos as we'll ever see, using the setting of an isolated high society rock where a young woman (Adèle Haenel) staves…

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  • New York, New York

    New York, New York

    ★★★★

    I’m aghast at how obvious La La Land lifts from this. The whole meet cute in multiple scenes, mid-section relationship difficulties and the entire third act (which is LLL’s redeeming act). Marty favors 40s movie sets to technicolor and lets De Niro get in the gutter, but otherwise feels like Chazelle was pickpocketing in plain sight!

  • Showgirls

    Showgirls

    ★★★★

    “Like every Paul Verhoeven film, Showgirls is very unpleasant. It’s about surviving in a world populated by assholes, and that’s his philosophy… He loves clichés, and there’s a comic strip side to Verhoeven, very close to Roy Lichtenstein.” ~ Jacques Rivette

    When Showgirls premiered, it was ridiculed immediately; legend even says that actor Kyle MacLachlan, allegedly, fled from the screening exclaiming, “I thought we were making an art film!” But by the 2000’s, it had become one of MGM’s biggest…

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  • It Chapter Two

    It Chapter Two

    ★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Stephen King makes a cameo in It: Chapter Two as an antique dealer in Derry, Maine. Although the sequel makes numerous jokes about grown up Bill (James McAvoy) being a popular horror author who can't find the right endings to his books—seemingly an obvious self-aware dig with King's counting-his-money blessing—but it's the antique setting that's actually most appropriate for King. Because It: Chapter Two is a too faithful adaptation of King's work it not only carries the author's excessive busyness,…

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    Bohemian Rhapsody

    ★½

    When rock critics hear Queen’s improbable hit single “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the first time, Bryan Singer’s film (of the same name) flashes a bunch of dismissive critical quotes. One quote outstretches all the others and ends the sequence, that’s “perfectly adequate” and it perfectly describes the adequate rock biopic of aha musical moments, backstage drama, and 15-year reflections from backstage framing. But the problem is that where it isn't perfectly adequate and vanilla it's actually painfully safe and somewhat erasing,…