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  • Birdwatchers

    Birdwatchers

    ★★★½

    64/100

    Second viewing (last seen at ND/NF '09), down from 75. Still agree with what I wrote at the time (see below), but its virtues now strike me as more modest, notable primarily for what Bechis avoids. Also wish there'd been some followup to the opening scene—indigenous Brazilians collecting pay and donning their street clothes after standing on a riverbank looking "tribal" for tourists makes for a superb reveal, but the self-exploitation angle never resurfaces thereafter. Well worth a look…

  • 12 Mighty Orphans

    12 Mighty Orphans

    ★★½

    42/100

    A.V. Club review, in which I sadly couldn't find room for my favorite moment: Luke Wilson's football coach, who doubles as a math/science teacher, inviting a student up to the blackboard to show the rest of the class how he figured out that 16/4 = 4. The kid gets angry "(You're the teacher, you explain it!") and the scene abruptly ends, but I'm dying to know how this film's three credited screenwriters imagine that it might have continued, since the only plausible answer is "Uh, I memorized my times tables when I was six."

    (These are high school students, to be clear.)

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  • Moonlight

    Moonlight

    ★★½

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

    49/100

    Okay, here we go: Why I think the year's most universally acclaimed film is sorta kinda not really very good. Took a second look to be sure, both because I'm always open to the possibility that I'm wrong and because I served on a festival jury with Jenkins a couple of years ago and liked him enormously, so take no pleasure in being a contrarian here. Had exactly the same reaction, alas. In descending order of importance:

    • I'm generally…

  • Sicario

    Sicario

    ★★★★½

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

    83/100

    Second viewing, no change. Having now professionally reviewed this film four times (for The Dissolve from Cannes, and then for the A.V. Club, the Nashville Scene, and the Las Vegas Weekly), I thought I had nothing left to say, especially since I made a point of addressing the most common criticisms. But since a bunch of folks are praising Adam Nayman's takedown for Reverse Shot, let me quickly address a few of his points.

    “I have to know,” Kate…