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  • Da 5 Bloods

    Da 5 Bloods

    ★★★★½

    "We don't need no stinkin' official badges. Do you remember Calley, brother?"

    Spike Lee is merciless. One mode of it is a visceral update of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre set in modern day Vietnam and the other mode is a shocking visual essay on the exploitation and oppression of black lives during the Vietnam War. Both modes intertwine with each other in a way that not only recontextualizes the very real atrocities of war that is all too…

  • Bad Day at Black Rock

    Bad Day at Black Rock

    ★★★½

    “The news today is rough, let’s watch this old looking thriller to get our minds off it.”

    *one viewing of Bad Day in Black Rock later.

    “Of course he’s wearing a red baseball cap! Of f****ing course!!!”

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  • Drought

    Drought

    ★★★½

    “What’s up.”
    “The sky.”

    With a premise that is reads like a cross Rain Man and Lady Bird, even I was nervous about this film. Instead it is just a lovely, unpretentious, little movie. Much like Driveways, which came out this year, there is an elegant simplicity and humanity to it all that is just hard to hate, though it could use some more grit. Still a nice and refreshing debut feature, all said and done. Can’t wait to see what Black and Petersen do next.

  • After So Many Days

    After So Many Days

    ★★★★

    “We’re Jim and Sam and we’re just passing through.”

    Just wonderful in so many levels. It is a very clever conceit for a band documentary, as it shows the trials and tribulations of of secure acts making their way through touring and working on new marriage. However, it also captures the magic of art as routine.
    Perfect for anyone who enjoys Paterson and This is Spinal Tap.

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  • One Child Nation

    One Child Nation

    ★★★★★

    Fearless is an overused and misused word in criticism, a cheap label for films and filmmakers that are simply transgressive and occasionally stylish. Like, is it really fearless of Tarantino to make another postmodern, ultra-violent genre flick? No. Fun, but no.

    The word should be reserved for filmmakers like Nanfu Wang, who puts a political target on her head, and lays bare an entire history of family tragedy, which results in one of the most heartbreaking, personal, and vital pieces of cinematic journalism of the year.

  • Hearts Beat Loud

    Hearts Beat Loud

    ★★

    Essentially a Hallmark Original Movie for the people who actually buy the CDs at Starbucks. A safe as milk dramedy that is predictable all the way down to the casting of Ted Danson as the friendly bartender. Danson and Nick Offerman may be delightful by default, but nothing they do here is as compelling as their TV work in the last five years (let alone their peaks). It is certainly not enough to save this story, which is about as twee and hollow as a Journey album.