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  • Married to the Mob

    Married to the Mob 1988

    ★★★½ Watched 12 Mar, 2015

    [pro/B]
    Tough to find a crowd-pleaser as much to my tastes as this (maybe those of James L. Brooks, in a different register). With Something Wild and now this, love Demme's late-ish '80s upward narratives of self-improvement, minds cracked wide open.
    [Tweet] [dos]

  • Predestination

    Predestination 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 13 Mar, 2015

    [pro/B/B+]
    Recalls Almodóvar with uncommon clarity in its colorful, crisp aesthetic palette and flashback-prone personal narrative structure, as well as its central queer compass, all bodies changing form, remodeled sometimes against the will of their owner, a state of melodrama-propelling forced transient identity. These guys are presumably doing the risky, vibrant genre films of PA's early work that have, to a large degree, still eluded me in viewing—I asked on Twitter if Pedro’s ever tackled explicit vampirism before in his…

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  • Whiplash

    Whiplash 2014

    ★½ Watched 15 Oct, 2014

    [CON/D]
    An ugly-in-spirit, clumsily styled (ed. the swivel reaction pans to Teller's face are atrocious) faux Social Network. Upsettingly celebrates antagonism and verbal violence as reported. J.K. Simmons's performance is terrible and Teller is too smothered by Damien Chazelle's pop psychologizing to be able to make an impression.
    [Tweet] [II]

    Chazelle's amateurish world is so limited in its artificial scope, beginning and ending within the unexplored confines of his pat human experience ambitions; he is prone to arrive at an…

  • Birdman

    Birdman 2014

    ★★ Watched 18 Jan, 2015

    [con/C-]
    It's not as if some comedy was the last thing Iñárritu's work needed—I disliked Birdman a good bit less than I thought I would.
    [Tweet]

    I liked it better when it was called Venus in Fur (and even then I didn't like it that much, but Polanski’s film's similarities and divergence from Iñárritu's work are instructive). Pretty middling on it overall, and though it exceeded my expectations, its thinness becomes glaring in hindsight. The tone and performances annoyed me…