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  • Vox Lux

    Vox Lux

    ★★½

    Need to get this out of the way first -- Brady Corbet is playing in a MAJOR key, and I have all the respect in the world for what he was trying to do.

    His narrative deploys the "star is born" pop star's rise to fame formula to paint a portrait of deeper subtext: post-Columbine, post-9/11 millennial PTSD and paranoia, and the self-absorbed narcissistic bubble that our popular American culture became in the wake of those tragedies.

    The movie is…

  • Avengement

    Avengement

    ★★★

    It’s uncommon to see a martial arts movie this uncompromisingly nasty. Adkins’ character has no redeemable quality other than wanting what’s his: revenge, served with every variety of limb-ripping carnage (he takes out a whole cell block of prisoners with a shank hanging out of his side in one scene, in case you were curious).

    The choreography is just *chef’s kiss*, with each blow hitting fast and hard thanks also to Jesse V. Johnson’s fluid camerawork and Matthew Lorentz’s razor sharp editing. 

    In short, it is beautifully crafted DTV filth that we don’t deserve.

  • Our Time

    Our Time

    ★★★½

    Reygadas takes the marital anguish of Post Tenebras Lux to an even more painfully introspective level in Our Time, going so far as to play the main role alongside his wife Natalia Lopez. Both put a lot on the line by showing in excruciatingly honest detail how hard it can be to fight for love when it sours. 

    As director, Reygadas’ interests go far beyond the visual here; he explores how written words (letters, text, emails) can convey depths that…

  • Career Girls

    Career Girls

    ★★★

    Mike Leigh is unparalleled in bringing complexity to the art of characterization, and "Career Girls" is as good a showcase as any for his sensitivity and uncompromising observational eye for truth. Katrin Cartlidge and Lynda Steadman work magic together, portraying their characters throughout two timelines - one in their insecure early 20's and the other in their more self-actualized, less vulnerable early 30's - and over the course of a short 87 minute running time bring the emotional history of their characters' friendship to life. At times heartbreakingly so.

  • Mother

    Mother

    ★★½

    If you’re not immediately put off by the kid’s movie comedy of errors score seemingly lifted straight from Dennis The Menace, you’ll find an offbeat and sneakily subversive Freudian comedy about the often times difficult relationship that exist between grown men and their mothers. While ultimately a pretty slight volume that lacks a real ending, Brooks’ dialogue is so packed with subtext that many of the scenes cut deeper than you may at first think.

  • White Water Summer

    White Water Summer

    ★★★

    Very near and dear to my heart having grown up watching it often on cable and loving it. It’s one of those botched studio movies that seemed market tested to death; a goofy 80s coming of age tone betrayed often by intense and at times emotionally and physically violent dramatic moments. That these scenes are individually powerful make it a shame they didn’t make something more serious overall, but as it stands this is a fascinating oddity — The Goonies meets Deliverance.

  • Free Solo

    Free Solo

    ★★★

    On second thought maybe it wasn’t the best idea to watch this thousands of feet in the air on a flight with so much turbulence that people were literally screaming.

  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

    John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

    ★★★

    On second watch, the action is even more spectacular in its fight and camera choreography. I was also bothered less by the Cairo detour, since Halle Berry brings it so hard (and that dog-aided shootout is fantastic).  The finale delivers again and again and again. ❤️

  • Border

    Border

    ★★½

    I found myself applauding the boldness of this adult fairy tale, and the confidence of its unflinchingly realist execution, but I couldn’t help but feel they didn’t know how to stick the landing. The world and character building are so deliberate and effective, yet the more things wrap up, the less satisfying it feels - as if they set up something far bigger and more complex than they knew how to resolve or deepen.

  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters

    Godzilla: King of the Monsters

    ★★½

    Served up all the Kaiju brawls I wanted, with a cast so stacked that actors as good as Sally Hawkins and Joe Morton are completely sidelined. 

    The dark color palate made some of the scenes hard to fully savor, and even for a big dumb summer monster movie the dialogue was *bad*... butttt ... I can’t say I didn’t have a good time, and am definitely looking forward to seeing the universe expand.

  • Paddington 2

    Paddington 2

    ★★★

    This could have coasted pretty well on the cast’s charm and whimsical action scenes alone, but the impeccable story craft builds to something bigger and more meaningful than most family movies aspire to. Its message about striving to see the good in people no matter how bad things get is refreshingly earnest.

  • Mr. Nice Guy

    Mr. Nice Guy

    ★★★

    Jackie and Sammo at the peak of their powers.  The construction site scene, where Jackie evades a dozen baddies while navigating a labyrinth of blue doors, would’ve made Chaplin, Tati and Keaton all very proud. Love this one.