• Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean

    Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean


    In many ways, Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean plays like an expansion on some of Altman's work in 3 Women but more like a modernized Cukor than an Americanized Bergman (a better proposition, by the way). The artificiality versus the intimate camera work and the way this duality is played to try to help give life the imagination and private worlds of the women on screen. I think this is limited a little by the…

  • El Conde

    El Conde

    From time to time Larrain seems to do a movie around some idea on Pinochet and they pile up the bad vibes without much vision and this one is probably the most obvious and not surprisingly the most sluggish. Maybe he should stick to be a matteur en scene for international co-productions.

  • Retribution



    The bad guy under the phone is a complete blank, and something like this pretty much needs some sort of personality for the distressed hero to bounce off, without that, the movie has to get by on its thriller mechanics, and very few of them are any good. Antal, a good thriller director, seems straitjacketed by a movie that has a thriller structure but very little in the way of scenes to fill it. There's something possible interesting about some of the runway capitalism subtext, but it let Neeson off far too easily to make any of that matter much.

  • No One Will Save You

    No One Will Save You


    Very solid cat-and-mouse horror thriller with actual ideas about what it is doing and enough progression to not feel as reiterative as most similar recent horror movies. The lack of dialogue can feel a little gimmicky, as the movie is very pleased with its own concept, although it is also refreshing that it never contrives a supporting character just so Dever has someone to talk to, and Duffield knows how to use the self-actualization stuff enough to give her some meat to work with without letting it overwhelm the movie. The sense of alienation and pain doesn't feel designed from upside down.

  • Past Lives

    Past Lives


    There's a nice intimate quality to a lot of Song's images that keeps this film warm and engaging, even if it never leaves a little mainstream festival movie surface. The main limitation is that far too much of the messy emotions are filtered through ideas to be written about, a movie to be consumed by our current overly online film culture, with actions and sentiments needing to be rendered through easy digestible words. It results in a movie that rendered its complicated multiple desires in a clean and overorganized manner.

  • The Great Magic

    The Great Magic


    A delightful eccentric and very personal musical about the emotional fallout of the intrusion of fantasy into its everyday setting by the always reliable Noemie Lvovsky. Wonderful cast, great pastoral setting, the songs are hit-and-miss, but they are performed with lots of energy and clear pleasure from all involved. It is likely to drive the too-logically married crazy (one of the reasons Lvovsky's work has never crossed the Atlantic, to be fair), but it does remain emotionally grounded in its own way throughout.

  • Family Business

    Family Business


    The attempt to keep a serious moral inquiry in the middle of its light family portrait mostly fails, along with the ambitious mix of tones. Some decent performances, but Costa Gravas is too dour a filmmaker not to dry up the drama of any real interest beyond its more illustrative needs.

  • They Drive by Night

    They Drive by Night


    I love Walsh’s Warner period and even more those early ones (this, Roaring Twenties, Strawberry Blonde, Gentleman Jim) that seem like he is recapping 1930s American cinema. I prefer the early guys just scraping to make a living half to the plot-heavy second part, but they play off each other in fascinating ways.

  • 125, rue Montmartre

    125, rue Montmartre


    Overcomplicated polar with one of Lino Ventura early lead parts. It doesn’t hold together very well, but there’s a solid cast and it looks good.

  • Cover Up

    Cover Up


    Most of the material and form of this French procedural on corruption and conspiracy are very recognizable, but Jean-Patrick Manchette co-wrote it, and the movie milieu is very well rendered. Philippe Labro does a solid workmanlike job and Brasseur is his dependable self and there is plenty of talent backing him up.

  • The Wounded Man

    The Wounded Man


    Lust and pain co-existing in the same walk. Chereau gets so much out of those scenes of young Anglade tentative cruising. The movie is structure in a trriller like manner, a mystery about putting desire into a form of action.

  • I... For Icarus

    I... For Icarus


    It is curious that I for Icarus came out around the same time as Winter Kills, as they are both riffs on falling down into the large conspiracies around Kennedy's murder, but while the American film renders paranoia through a comic strip, the French one does so in a very dour literal-minded manner. It is a very methodical film, perhaps too much so, as at times one wishes Verneuil would shake up things a little instead of following his approach…