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Scott has written 30 reviews for films rated ★★★ .

  • Stories We Tell

    Stories We Tell

    ★★★

    Completely riveted by Polley's reconstruction of a family secret from multiple angles until the degree to which she was aestheticizing her life became clear. At a certain point, she comes out and tells us the themes of the documentary—in that respect, the last 20 minutes of the film are like the psychiatrist scene in Psycho.

  • Short Term 12

    Short Term 12

    ★★★

    An extremely frustrating movie, deeply moving and deeply contrived in equal measure. Cretton has a wonderful sense of the fragile ecosystem of the group home, where the fortunes and feelings of kids and staff alike can rise and fall together. And there are moments that are absolutely shattering in getting to the heart of these sad, angry, vulnerable children. Yet the script has been Sundance-labbed to death, with one honking revelation about Brie Larson's character that's teased out with thudding obviousness. The ending, too, is a complete wash.

  • Wreck-It Ralph

    Wreck-It Ralph

    ★★★

    Movie night at my kid's elementary school. Sunk a bit on second viewing; for a movie in love with 30-year-old arcade games, it could really stand to be simpler and less noisy.

  • Blue Jasmine

    Blue Jasmine

    ★★★

    Gets better as it goes along, but begins terribly, with a lot of the sloppy, careless writing that has characterized the Woodman's more recent output. Given how frequently Allen flashes back to Jasmine's life before her husband became a Bernie Madoff-like disgrace, the amount of exposition he stuffs into the first 10 or 15 minutes is curious and unnecessary. And as with Whatever Works and Cassandra's Dream, the humble class is treated broadly and inauthentically: Does Allen not realize that…

  • Ain't Them Bodies Saints

    Ain't Them Bodies Saints

    ★★★

    Lots of admire here: The way '70s Texas is made to look decades—or even a century—older (the presence of cars were the only thing that snapped me back to the proper period); the performances, particularly Ben Foster as a cop on dovetailing pursuits; and the score is lovely (which is good, because it's wall-to-wall). But I found the movie arch and dull, so committed to evoking its New Hollywood influences that it doesn't have a life of its own. I can see why some are over-the-moon for it, but it left me cold.

  • Magic Magic

    Magic Magic

    ★★★

    Reviewed for The Dissolve. Doesn't stick the landing, but a lot here to recommend. Excerpt:

    "For as long as it can possibly play coy about whether Alicia is mentally unstable or whether Brink, Barbara, and Agustín are really the “sadists” she claims them to be, Magic Magic functions well as a Chilean twist on Repulsion, becoming one of those rare psychological thrillers that doesn’t skimp on the psychology part. A scene where the hosts hypnotize Alicia to ease her nerves,…

  • The Fog

    The Fog

    ★★★

    Reviewed for The Dissolve. Excerpt:

    "But after that initial flourish, The Fog has to come back down to earth, and this is where Carpenter and Hill struggle to hold the same level of interest. The cast is well chosen—and their decision to give characters names like Dan O’Bannon, Nick Castle, and Dr. Phibes speaks to an eagerness to please cult followers—but they don’t play compelling people, and they don’t come together as a unit until it’s too late for a…

  • A Band Called Death

    A Band Called Death

    ★★★

    Fascinating story about a band way before its time. Wish it were told with more panache.

  • I'm So Excited!

    I'm So Excited!

    ★★★

    In principal, a delight. There's something appealing about Almodóvar going back to the colorful bawdiness of his earlier work, and I can think of few directors who can better handle the plot machinations necessary to pull off a good farce. In practice, however, it's a little strained and flat, losing momentum in the final third when everything should be snapping into place.

  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls

    My Little Pony: Equestria Girls

    ★★★

    Sparkly.

  • The Bling Ring

    The Bling Ring

    ★★★

    The most Korine-esque of Coppola's features to date. This is not a good thing. More to come in The Dissolve.

  • Laurence Anyways

    Laurence Anyways

    ★★★

    A lot to sort out here. Frustrating to see a movie with such clear potential-- and possible social import-- come out this soupy. Will write more for The Dissolve.