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  • Toy Story 4

    Toy Story 4

    ★★★★

    An arguably unnecessary addition to the franchise yet an absolute delight that does nothing but reaffirm the Toy Story series as Pixar's high-water mark. Introduces a number of worthwhile supporting characters, including a villain whose arc moved me in a way those of the previous villains never did. The animation is breathtaking. The environments are fresh. Yes, themes are revisited, but Woody's ultimate realization here is new—and through this lens, TS4 serves as a different kind of franchise finale than…

  • When They See Us

    When They See Us

    ★★★½

    Jharrel Jerome is going to be a star.

  • The Dead Don't Die

    The Dead Don't Die

    ★★

    A major comedown after the highs of Only Lovers Left Alive and Paterson. How does Jarmusch—historically, one of my favorite filmmakers—so quickly go from those two artistically inspired and philosophically bountiful films to this lifeless, banal, and deeply cynical one, devoured by its own self-awareness? My best guess is that Trump's America, for which The Dead Don't Die is an overt and lazy allegory, has truly broken Jarmusch, spiritually and creatively. (I understand it, but come on, Jim!)

  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco

    The Last Black Man in San Francisco

    ★★★½

    There's a great scene involving the protagonist, an old nudist, a bus stop (right outside Hot Cookie!), and a trolley full of white techies that is a keen encapsulation—right down to the diegetic music (i.e., remixed Jefferson Airplane)—of San Francisco, 2019.

  • Rocketman

    Rocketman

    ★★

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

    Not quite Bohemian Rhapsody-level terrible but the standard, reductive, threadbare musician biopic arc affixed with banal musical numbers. The framing device is bad enough, but a fantasy where John literally confronts his family and confidants, including his younger self, at group therapy effectively demonstrates the glaring dearth of creativity among the filmmakers. If that's not enough, the man blasts off like a rocket while performing "Rocket Man." Maybe we let the sun go down on music biopics for a bit, yeah?

  • Domino

    Domino

    ½

    A few measly De Palma flourishes aside, this is a total direct-to-video dumpster fire. I can't believe this was shot by Alcaine! It's so ugly.

  • Mother

    Mother

    ★★★★½

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

    Knowledge can be a blessing and a curse.

  • The Handmaiden

    The Handmaiden

    ★★★★★

    Still miffed this took home nothing from Cannes. Zero awards for the three best comp films (Paterson, Toni Erdmann), but wins for weak Loach, Dolan, Arnold and minor Mungiu, Farhadi. SMH.

  • The Fugitive

    The Fugitive

    ★★½

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

    All the cinematographic splendor can't conceal the fact that this isn't much more than a '40s (Catholic) Pure Flix pic. I was surprised to discover significant narrative and thematic overlap between Ford's The Fugitive and Scorsese's Silence. The latter handles the material far better. Sorry, Ford.

  • The Souvenir

    The Souvenir

    ★★★½

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

    First half is pleasurably idiosyncratic and narratively compelling, but once the "mystery" of Anthony's behavior/personality is clarified, the film loses something, becoming a straightforward tale of addiction and its collateral damage. But at least the theme is examined through the fresh lens of an uneven power dynamic. Stronger than Archipelago and Exhibition because Hogg puts us much closer—spatially and emotionally—to her characters this time.

  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

    John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

    ★★★

    Initially exhilarating, subsequently repetitious, ultimately exhausting. The further they expand and define Wick's universe (the Wickiverse? Wickworld? Wickrealm?), the sillier and duller it all becomes.

  • Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

    Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

    ★★★★

    The curious structural gambit initially had a frustrating distancing effect on me, but I think that has more to do with the enigmatic nature of Gould. The final third of short films (i.e., 23-31) is superb.