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  • The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez

    The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez

    ★★★★

    This was a tough watch. I knew going in that it was about a young boy tortured over months and eventually killed by his own mother and her boyfriend, but I didn't know how much of it was at the fault of the completely broken system that is supposed to be looking out for situations like this. It's heartbreaking, tough to watch, and in the end incredibly frustrating seeing that the battleship that is LA County's Dept of Child & Family…

  • Romey & Jules

    Romey & Jules

    ★★★

    Romeo and Juliet told in a noir-ish fashion with a clown and a mime. Ah....

    Returning to a film you've directed can be fun sometimes, and it can be painful other times. There's a bit of that here as I watched this for the first time with my kids. I think I did an okay job with some of the comedy, could've done some more work on dialogue delivery and pacing. I think there were some creative choices that work really well. And I still just love the music. It's a fun piece.

    If you feel like checking it out, you can watch it here.

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  • The Counselor

    The Counselor

    Ergh. (That's for you, Chris.)

    What happened here? Ridley Scott. Cormac McCarthy. A ridiculously talented cast. A ridiculously talented crew.

    I love McCarthy's books and 2 of his movie adaptations. Maybe I should blame him for a nonsensical, overly talky story? There were so many monologues, I actually began hoping someone would finally say, "Oh, you caught me monologuing!"

    There were a few great scenes, but those paired with the rest didn't add up to a cohesive story. Not to…

  • Miller's Crossing

    Miller's Crossing

    ★★★★

    I always go back and forth on whether I like this film or not, but rewatching it, I really found myself captivated by the characters and, in particular, Tommy's journey into isolation.

    I don't think I'd classify this as a gangster genre film, even though that's its subject. It's not really a crime story either. It's really a character piece about a character whose motivations are always hidden, and half the time seemingly even from himself.

    Sonnenfeld's cinematography and Burwell's score are standouts in this film. Production design, casting, direction -- all spot-on.

    Great film.