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  • Computer Chess

    Computer Chess

    ★★★★½

    The ingenuity of Andrew Bujalski's beguilingly brilliant Computer Chess—a mumblecore masterpiece focused on a early 1980s computer programming competition entirely set in a drab middlebrow motel—is that every facet of this stuttering film hints at the untapped creative hotbed of innovative potentiality that thrives in the nascent stage of underdevelopment.

    Its awkward ensemble of characters timidly pontificate in ways that sound misleadingly scatterbrained and slapdash. As they ramble on about everything from computer sentience, to the ineluctable rate of technological…

  • Woman on the Beach

    Woman on the Beach

    ★★★★

    Hong Sang-Soo's films are so personal they almost feel voyeuristic. Sloppy and casual on the surface, his dawdling plots tend to end up deceptively layered and complex: almost always traipsing into the quicksand of regret and self-loathing. His male leads (obvious autobiographical ciphers for himself) repeatedly devolve into bitter reveries—revisionary explorations of paths not taken, decisions not made, loves not consummated.

    The moments in which these mistakes transpire are the meat of his movies, and always occur within the realm…

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  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    ★★★★½

    Nomadland is about the trade-offs we sometimes make to live our best lives. It is also about the trade-offs we sometimes make because we have no other viable option. When greater society no longer supports you financially and/or spiritually, you must forge ahead and make your own social structure. Sometimes this shift entails much sacrifice—the forfeiture of plumbing, electricity, medical care, security. But a secret perspective few people know is that material wealth pales in comparison to temporal wealth. To…

  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

    The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

    ★★★★½

    In The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Ned—the humanist prodigal son ‘adopted’ / ‘baited’ for the optics of myth-making—is first asked, and then told, by his might-be father / pseudo-‘adoptee’ Steve Zissou, that his response over whether to join the team must be “yes” because “well, it has got to be.”

    Within the hierarchy of the Belafonte, oceanographer / narrator Zissou is obviously the alpha. Zissou perennially holds final say. He dictates the aquatic world as authoritarian figurehead and progenitor.…

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  • The Prom

    The Prom

    ★★★★

    On a serious note, it is quite shitty that James Corden was cast for this role. We need more authentic representation. But it is also kind of shitty that so many people are so easily willing to toss an entire movie (which is made by thousands of people and entails thousands upon thousands of decisions) under a proverbial bus because of one shitty decision by the small minority up top (the casting director / producers / studio / possibly director).…

  • Sound of Metal

    Sound of Metal

    ★★★★★

    Fu#!. As a once broke touring musician, this film hit hard. Really hard.

    And the sound design is straight up impeccable.