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  • No Escape

    No Escape

    Two fine action sequences and queer subtext for miles. No, really.

  • The Richest Girl in the World

    The Richest Girl in the World

    For those few that pay attention to this diary: I have an allergy to star ratings, and the "likes" can be parsed thus: This Movie Did or Did Not Inflict Feelings of Torpor, Indifference, or Depression when Capital Impulses Get in the Way of Real Fun.

  • Chance at Heaven

    Chance at Heaven

    Chance at Heaven is a bit of nothing (and occasionally annoying when Ginger Rogers is offscreen) but Nicholas Musuraca doomlights a room like a champ in the final two minutes, and there you have it.

  • Bed of Roses

    Bed of Roses

    Pert Kelton, Pert Kelton, Pert Kelton.

  • Carol

    Carol

    Todd Haynes’ film was nominated for six Oscars and was jobbed out of every last one, including a few that it wasn’t up for. It might seem in questionable taste to bring up awards when talking about a film as rigorous and lavishly emotional as Carol, but it’s one of those pictures that makes you notice all its artisans’ work, from propmasters to painters, from the masterly concision of the writing to the costumers’ precision, on down the line, every…

  • S.O.B.

    S.O.B.

    Watching this and Days of Wine and Roses back-to-back re-reveals Edwards’ mastery of widescreen staging, always sensible and sharp with an underrated knack for moving actors around within a visual scheme, finding a tensile angle in any interior without getting too fussy. But what marks S.O.B. is its empire of high-foolishness sharpies and their partying, drugging, screwing and skeins of outrageous fuck-your-buddy doublespeak — Hollywood life as a huge, wobbling soap bubble waiting to be popped. In style, it feels…

  • Hit 2 Pass

    Hit 2 Pass

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

    Hit 2 Pass is a neighborhood fireworks show of a film: small, spirited and lightly disreputable, gearheaded and bighearted as they come. It fits into Truffaut’s prescription about the joys and agonies of making cinema, with an emphasis on the former; it’s nominally a documentary with elements of the personal essay and home movie, but then the director/editor proceeds to demolish the differences—or, more accurately, refuses to recognize them. It’s all cars and cameras, welding sparks and oil puddles, cell…

  • Steve Jobs

    Steve Jobs

    Exhilarating in its badness. It's the film version of the 1984 proto Mac: it looks pretty, but plays to the crowd with a fake, jury-rigged voice. Sorkin sets up an unbelievably schematic scenario and constantly butts up against its factual and intellectual limitations, writing himself into corners from which he valiantly (read: lazily; glibly) attempts to escape by metareferencing those limitations. It's a Great Man Playhouse 90 thing at heart, with Boyle pulling out all stops to liven up the…

  • Ski School

    Ski School

    A man comes across a garbage Canadian exchange rate nudie-quickie on cable. The critic must be honest enough to admit that he is that man.

  • The 39 Steps

    The 39 Steps

    “I used to wake up in the middle of the night screaming, thinking the police were after me. But one gets hardened.”

    A near-perfect snapdoodle of creamy greys and point collars, the kind of film where the star looks better poaching a haddock than you’ll ever look in a lifetime of your best moments. Hitchcock here seems a vanguardist of modern surveillance delirium, of innermost paranoia gone public—cops at train stations, cops crawling the Highlands, cops, cops, cops (and a…

  • Sicario

    Sicario

    Absolute fucking bollocks. More to come.

  • That Hamilton Woman

    That Hamilton Woman

    Churchill supposedly screened this in the double-digits for the hortations on besieged empire back when subtext was blunt, serious business. The first twenty-odd minutes betray haste of production—the editing's clumsy and the lighting makes the Hamilton digs look more stagey than luxe. Then everything comes together in sweet flows of draping, silhouette and Maté glow within Alexander Korda’s rather foursquare direction. (There are twenty medium-closeups of Leigh that’d make you turn a ship around and head back to Naples, too.)…