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  • Peeping Tom

    Peeping Tom

    ★★

    Left me a bit cold, unfortunately — found the kills here to be really underwhelming and goofy a lot of the time (and not in an endearing way). And for a film as plainly set on doing set-up and payoff type thrills, there just isn’t much else to chew on as a detractor to the most of the genre stuff. There does seem to be some greater commentary about the media and how it relates to the titular ‘Peeping Tom’…

  • A Pure Formality

    A Pure Formality

    Found this a bit underwhelming in the same vein as I find something like THE GUILTY — i.e. a one-room police thriller where the ethos of the film is creating an ostensibly twisty and riveting viewing experience, yet the entire objective is undercut by any viewer who’s been watching films for more than (give or take) five years. Kept bouncing back and forth on this as a result of that, but despite my being able to quickly get ahead of…

  • Dancer in the Dark

    Dancer in the Dark

    [Spoilers.]

    The sort of film wherein its ostensible emotional power is pulled to the forefront of all discourse surrounding it so forcibly that it leaves viewers like myself—those who never found themselves absorbed with Selma’s character in the face of all of the attempts to get one to be—completely stranded. If one isn’t moved, what is there to draw from this if not the fact that aside from her love for musicals (a device which transforms any sort of compelling…

  • Tokyo Drifter

    Tokyo Drifter

    ★★

    A mixed bag — a sporadically glorious one at that, but a mixed bag nonetheless. Mostly just plays a bit convoluted and substanceless overall (intentionally so), which, inherently speaking, wouldn’t be an issue if I found the set pieces and choreography impressive enough to make up for my lack of engagement. Unfortunately however, I feel this takes so long to get where it’s going that the two phenomenal set pieces it does culminate in (the earthquake sequence in the bar…

  • Orpheus

    Orpheus

    ★★★

    Was completely unfamiliar with the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice upon which this based is prior to my initial viewing, though the more I read into the source material, the more I feel that it’d have been entirely unnecessary to attempt to make myself familiar with it in the first place. It seems to me that Cocteau’s interpretation here strays so much further away from the romantic interpretations a more straightforward adaptation of the myth would entail, instead making the…

  • The Matrix

    The Matrix

    ★★★

    Second viewing, last seen around the age of nine or ten (my main takeaway being that the slo-mo action scenes looked awesome and that I wanted to be cool like Neo was). Now, this all still rings true, but in retrospect, I honestly find this as gripping a film about identity — descriptors like ‘residual self image’ along with lines such as “I figured you’d be a guy” all beckon a much more allegorical reading than the synopsis would suggest…

  • The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America

    The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America

    It ultimately doesn’t feel like this is saying anything revelatory about modern American political discourse—that is, unless you count “black people are expected to vote democrat and the liberal media exploits tragedies for political gain (an act so mutually exclusive that no conservative news source would ever do such a thing)”. Absolutely astounding how much of THE TRAYVON HOAX is just b-roll of Gilbert figuring out how to use his computer, reading urban dictionary so that he can finally become fluent enough…

  • Zelig

    Zelig

    I honestly don’t see how this is any more funny or absorbing than it‘d be without the mockumentary framing. ZELIG’s presentation deliberately distances itself so far from genre expectations that it tarnishes any humorous reading this concept would beckon, as it seems to me that had Allen let these scenes play out in same manner they do here minus the frequently overbearing, obnoxious narration and talking heads scenes (which bear so much resemblance to the type of documentary filmmaking they’re…

  • Murmur of the Heart

    Murmur of the Heart

    ★★★★

    An inevitable shift happens at some point midway through a young man’s upbringing—as sudden as it is revelatory, his blissful innocence is irreversibly dismantled with an introduction to the world of desire. Everything begins to revolve around sex, and he starts to explore his body in ways he never has before. I’m not sure that I’ve seen any film tackle that shift in a more authentic manner than MURMUR OF THE HEART (Malle’s statements that much of the film is…

  • Blackhat

    Blackhat

    ★★★★

    Breaking away from your programming. Mann takes a crisp look into our unmapped digital future here in what loosely appears to be his first ever work of science fiction (hard to imagine a single other movie in his filmography that looks as starkly dystopian as this does). What’s most surprising about the world of BLACKHAT though, is how gradually accurate it rings as time goes by: when the digital age of technocracy is rapidly outpacing modern global politics, we’re expectedly…

  • The Muppets

    The Muppets

    Suffers from THE LEGO MOVIE syndrome, in that it maintains the irritatingly commonplace belief that as long as a film is self-conscious of its lazy comedic and narrative tropes, that all of its sins can be absolved. So much of the “get it! we’re self aware!” (and often straight-up cringe)-type humor falls flat so repeatedly that other than a few memorable musical sequences, there just isn’t too much to take away from this besides the crushing realization that you just…

  • The Last Days of Disco

    The Last Days of Disco

    ★★★

    NO BYSTANDERS.

    Rivals peak Linklater (and this is coming from a long time fan). Stillman’s characters here are so well-realized they make the relative narrative aimlessness this has work greatly to its advantage overall, a feat RL can only be counted on to achieve about half of the time these days. To give credit where credit is due of course, the ensemble of remarkable performances—effective protagonist Chloë Sevigny and her diametrical counterpart Kate Beckinsale especially—play a rather large role in…