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  • Night Moves 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 22 Sep, 2014

    Props to Reichardt for risking her arthouse cred on what amounts to a crackling procedural, and for then using the procedural form to make a trenchant point about the paradox of modern environmentalism: you're either bourgeois and ineffectual (farm-to-table, "sustainability," etc.), or you're radical and massively unappealing and possibly a terrorist, persisting in the vain belief that the world is on the verge of a come-to-Jesus moment, if people would just *see*. ("People will have to start thinking -- they'll…

  • The One I Love 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 14 Sep, 2014

    Expected the high concept here to basically degenerate into a wispy metaphor about loving people for their flaws as well as virtues, etc., so was surprised to find this getting plottier and weirder as it goes along, culminating in a byzantine locked-room escape. Doesn't amount to much thematically, but Elizabeth Moss is so nonchalantly wonderful, adding so much history and personality to an underwritten character, and the movie is so persistently offbeat, that I warmly commend it to you anyhow.

  • Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl 1919

    ★★½ Watched 10 Sep, 2014

    Do some masterpieces have an expiration date? In this reporter's opinion, almost certainly yes.

  • Jamie Marks Is Dead 2014

    ★★½ Watched 09 Sep, 2014

    Worth checking out for fans of melancholy, character-driven genre stuff, but while the subtext here is really touching, the text is so wispy it's barely there -- the conceit is the sort of abstract, unexplained supernatural thingamabob that can work on the page but not so much on the screen. From the director of THE RUINS, fwiw.

  • At the Devil's Door 2014

    ★★½ Watched 08 Sep, 2014

    Some fun stuff here -- I appreciate the straight-ahead momentum, largely shorn of context -- but it makes not a lick of sense. THE PACT had its issues too, but at least there was more to that particular story.

  • A Most Wanted Man 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 08 Sep, 2014

    Supplants BODY OF LIES as the smartest film re: American/western engagement in the middle east. Great slow-burn spy thriller but also startlingly trenchant, subtle, informed commentary on foreign affairs -- which I assume comes form the Le Carre novel, but translating it to the screen as gripping drama, which Andrew Bovell's screenplay somehow manages to do, is a hell of an achievement. (Bovell also wrote the rather underrated EDGE OF DARKNESS.) Only complaint is the Germans-speaking-English-with-German-accents issue that I always whine about.

  • Love Is Strange 2014

    ★★★★★ Watched 05 Sep, 2014

    Oh man, this just wrecked me -- a modern-day MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW, unabashedly political (or maybe "socially-conscious" is a better if more weaselly phrase) but totally committed to its characters and their lives and stories -- the smart, searching, basically unsentimental cinematic articulation of the gay-rights canard that love must be valued wherever it is found.

  • Boyhood 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 04 Sep, 2014

    Need another viewing before I can weigh in on the instant-classic status many have already accorded it, but it's obviously a phenomenal achievement. Though I wonder if Linklater didn't actually manage to get at something kind of similar, coming-of-age-wise, with DAZED AND CONFUSED -- which takes place over 24 hours IIRC -- and isn't that even more impressive?

  • As Above, So Below 2014

    ★½ Watched 02 Sep, 2014

    Hideous, incoherent, boring. If you're going to make a movie about spelunkers who accidentally find hell, then for fuck's sake, show me hell. It seems like they worked backwards from the ending, but the ending doesn't make sense either. Terrible.

  • Particle Fever 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 02 Sep, 2014

    Lively doc properly conveys the wonder and excitement of current science probing the underlying nature of the universe, though I yearned for more technical detail.

  • Mr. Turner 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 01 Sep, 2014

    Tender, thorny Mike Leigh biopic doesn't reveal its shape until after it's over.

  • Rosewater 2014

    ★★½ Watched 01 Sep, 2014

    Well-intentioned and even serious in its way -- Stewart isn't afraid to let history complicate his narrative -- but lacks a compelling protagonist and completely deflates once we leave the streets of Tehran and follow Bahari into solitary confinement. Casting Bernal as an Iranian and having everyone speak English is also an issue.