"It's just a bunch of old wood and some weeds."
Alexander Payne has proven again and again that he is a master of depicting how awful people can be... to the point that I can't stomach most of his movies. At some point the relentlessness of his characters' awfulness raises more questions about the storyteller than it does about human nature. Why is he so inclined, movie after movie, to wallow in ugliness? Compared to Payne's America, the Coen Brothers'…
"Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light." Ephesians 5:11
Well, there you go.
The Act of Killing — an audacious endeavor to catch Indonesian mass murderers sharing voluntary confessions, justifying their actions, and wrestling with contradictions and denial and devastating surges of guilt — is among…
I'm not the first person to say it, but it's true — this film, like the two before it, is designed to be seen a second time, when viewers will realize just how every fleeting moment either foretells upcoming events, sets up elaborate jokes, or reveals a punchline for a joke yet to be told. It's the fastest-moving, most confidently scripted and edited film I've seen this year. And the action scenes are dizzyingly joyous. When was the last time…