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  • Carmen Jones

    Carmen Jones

    ★★★★

    “If I love you, that’s the end of you.”

  • Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

    Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

    ★★★★

    For dive-bar aficionados and sleazy-atmosphere enthusiasts, BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS may be the ultimate quarantine movie. A transporting work so pungent that you can smell it, the Ross brothers’ film documents the last 24 hours inside of “The Roaring 20s,” a colorful Las Vegas watering hole, before its permanent closure. It begins with Michael Martin, a charismatic patron who resembles a drunken, degenerate version of Seymour Cassell, waking up in the bar in the morning, doing a shot of bourbon…

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  • Like Someone in Love

    Like Someone in Love

    ★★★★★

    The late Chilean director Raul Ruiz’s indispensable book Poetics of Cinema argues against the necessity of “central conflict theory” that has long dominated commercial narrative filmmaking in the western world. If Abbas Kiarostami, one of the world’s greatest living directors, ever wrote a comparable book on film theory, one suspects he might similarly challenge the notion of the “three-act structure.” The Japanese-set Like Someone in Love may well be the Iranian master’s most provocative work; his extremely unconventional handling of…

  • Beanpole

    Beanpole

    ★★½

    Kantamir Balagov is clearly a talented filmmaker (the acting and cinematography in this film are good - and the use of hyper-saturated color is especially welcome for a period piece) but the plotting is too schematic for my taste and the near-universal praise this has received seems to be yet another case of critics automatically equating a movie’s unbearably bleak tone with high art.