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  • Transit

    Transit

    ★★★½

    A great showcase for Neapolitan Pizza representation in cinema.

  • The Girl Spy Before Vicksburg

    The Girl Spy Before Vicksburg

    ★★★½

    Discussed with pioneering film scholar Jane Gaines, creator of the Women Pioneers Film Project, on the latest episode of the podcast.

    You can watch the EYE's restoration of the film here, though it features Dutch subtitles.

  • Us

    Us

    ★★½

    Good adaptation of a McSweeney's post.

  • Old Boyfriends

    Old Boyfriends

    ★★★½

    Desperately in need of restoration! This is a film directed by the writer of Nashville, written by Paul Schrader, and starring Talia Shire, Keith Carradine, and John Belushi in his prime! Discussed on the podcast with Maya Montañez Smukler, who explores this film and others in her great book Liberating Hollywood, about the 16 women directors of New Hollywood. The print we saw was red-tinted in every moment, but you could see what an oddball of the era this was, and one that was thrilling to watch.

  • Happy Death Day 2U

    Happy Death Day 2U

    ★★½

    A lot of promise in the first 20 or so minutes, kind of like pulling back the onion on the original in an interesting way that's acts as a bizarre but worthwhile retcon. The first reveal of the killer offers up so much in terms of the film offering to go full Duck Amuck (or more precisely, Futurama's "The Farnsworth Parabox") but then it ends up just wasting it all away, using it as an excuse to put our protagonist…

  • Dodsworth

    Dodsworth

    ★★★★

    Just a really good case for evaluating "realism" in Classical Hollywood Cinema. The narrative doesn't really motivate between scenes as much as drop in with seemingly abrupt slices displaying the dynamic between Huston and Chatterton. We never get to see the romance with Astor develop; by the time we return, the film shows Huston building a motor and then the dialogue fills in the details without ever screaming exposition. The amount of brutal and honest literal screaming Huston and Chatterton…

  • Downsizing

    Downsizing

    ★★★½

    Discussed with Keith Uhlich for our Top Films of 2018 Countdown. This was my "Last!" pick in response to everyone who likes to go to film festivals and get the First!! take on a movie. I decided to do the opposite.

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    ★★★½

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

    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: Death Comes Unexpectedly
    Near Algodones: Death is Inevitable, But Sometimes There's Grace
    Meal Ticket: Death is Inevitable, There's No Grace
    All Gold Canyon: Sometimes You Can Escape Death
    The Gal Who Got Rattled: Sometimes You Can't
    The Mortal Remains: Sometimes You're Already Dead

  • Harper

    Harper

    ★★

    Honestly would teach an entire class using this movie's frankly embarrassing direction in a film school. There's actually a really interesting history here of studio-produced movies and what Hollywood has always coined as "excessive obviousness." But where that acted as a value in the Classical Hollywood era of 70-minute fillers where it helped to modulate an economy of narrative, this is a 2 hour slog where obviousness is now meant to be some sort of marker of "style."

  • Welcome to Marwen

    Welcome to Marwen

    ★★★½

    "What I did learn though doing digital cinema is that when all the actors have gone away, and you now have unlimited choices, how do you make a decision? In live action, there are certain walls you can’t tear down. There are certain realities...You have very real world limitations, whereas in digital you don’t have any. So that very much dictates the cinema for you. I could do anything I wanted.

    And you know what? [I decided] I’m just going…

  • Sink or Swim

    Sink or Swim

    ★★★★

    Discussed with expert experimental film thinker and all around good person Michael Sicinski on the podcast. As I discussed, I started this thinking it was a great playful work alongside my favorite Hollis Frampton, and instead ended the film devastated and in tears. Just a major accomplishment.

    You can watch this and many other Friedrich films via Kanopy.

  • The Mule

    The Mule

    ★★★½

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

    This is maybe best to call pro-MAGA but anti-Trump, with Eastwood's character all charm as opposed to bark. The car keeps him moving but it's in the walking—slow shuffling in plain shoes—that he can't keep up with the times. The film shifts so slowly into melodrama its almost shocking, just as shocking as the unnamed Latino driver who notes not once but twice that "statistically this is the most dangerous 5 minutes of my life" (no irony; just blunt reality).…