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  • Sicario

    Sicario 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 30 Sep, 2015 2

    Sicario ‘s most immediate pleasures are, naturally, its images. Villeneuve gives Roger Deakins as free a rein as the Coens do, and there are three shots in particular that are frozen in my head: 1) an extreme long shot peering over the border in Juarez as tracer fire erupts between federal police and cartel enforcers as the camera pans over and out to see cop car lights dotting the hills as they converge upon the fight like ants; 2) a…

  • Magic Mike XXL

    Magic Mike XXL 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 25 Jul, 2015

    I have never seen a film so resolutely interested in the idea of women's sexuality. Magic Mike, befitting Soderbergh's clinical approach, broke down the banal minutiae of the job, from getting pumped up (in more ways than one) before a show to the difficulty of legitimizing oneself in a society that still stigmatizes sex work of any stripe. This made for an unexpectedly complex film, but it also tended to focus on stripping entirely from the men's point of view,…

  • Jurassic World

    Jurassic World 2015

    ½ Watched 20 Jun, 2015 6

    I never care that much about box office but it makes me sad that a film like this, that so blatantly hates its audience, is now one of the highest-grossing films of all time. The first film extrapolates its maker's deep love for his audience by presenting a man so eager to please that he does not notice the ruinous, lethal mistake he has made until it is much too late. From the start, this film takes pains to point…

  • Jurassic Park

    Jurassic Park 1993

    ★★★ Rewatched 03 Jul, 2015 1

    It is enduringly frustrating that a film with such an utterly weird cast—Sam Neill still in his edgy, unsettling period; Jeff Goldblum as a "rockstar mathematician;" Laura Dern fresh off Lynch collaborations; Samuel L. Jackson in a bit part; Newman—could have so little regard for the eccentricities they bring to their characters. Obviously, the dinosaurs are the main attraction, and it's remarkable how well they still deliver. The brachiosaur reveal still stuns, the T. Rex roar still deafens in such…

  • Lava

    Lava 2014

    Watched 25 Jun, 2015 1

    This short was bad enough already, with its tacky animation and insipid songwriting, and then Mt. Dolezal or w/e burst from the sea in all her white-girl-dreads glory and I nearly said "Fuck you" in a theater full of toddlers.

  • Green Snake

    Green Snake 1993

    ★★★★★ Watched 10 Jun, 2015

    Tsui Hark's belligerent wuxia film savagely attacks the conservative conventions of the genre, portraying the kung fu master monk who roams the countryside banishing animal spirits not as the hero but the unambiguous villain who hides his sexual repression behind a veil of religious purity. Rounding out the violent Buddhist contrasts is the feckless Taoist, who also wants spirits vanquished but can do nothing but flail around impotently. The film's social critique broadens when two snake spirits take the form…

  • Pompeii

    Pompeii 2014

    ★★★½ Rewatched 02 Jan, 2015 3

    I was unduly harsh on this film last year. Its occasional lapses of po-faced dialogue no longer rankle, and in the wake of a summer filled with blockbusters that deferred all of their pleasures until the final hour, it's easier to see how POMPEII, with all its chaos confined to the final 45 minutes, at least fills its first hour with some degree of grace. I can't get behind the more hyperbolic assessments that the occasional vistas of a CG-filled…

  • The Homesman

    The Homesman 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 28 Nov, 2014 1

    Tommy Lee Jones starred in a faithful Cormac McCarthy adaptation and directed his own McCarthy movie, but with THE HOMESMAN he does not simply perform the author's work but uses the same style to traverse paths that McCarthy never has. Specifically, the film affords a perspective to women, something largely absent in McCarthy's work, and if anything it finds even more bleakness from this vantage point.

    As the title might indicate, THE HOMESMAN is not, ultimately, about the Nebraska woman…

  • Welcome to New York

    Welcome to New York 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 27 Nov, 2014 1

    WELCOME TO NEW YORK encapsulates Ferrara's career in a linear arc, moving from softcore erotica to bullish crime procedural before dumping out in screw-tightening psychological chamber drama that wrings out unexpectedly human empathy without ever offering absolution for its subject. Many things to pore over, from Depardieu's animalistic performance to Ferrara's deceptively stately direction, which slips so casually into Devereaux's POV that it's hard to realize you're in it until you pick up on the fact that people start to…

  • Tenebre

    Tenebre 1982

    ★★★★★ Watched 28 Oct, 2014

    Double-feature of this and IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS, on repeat until you just go insane.

  • The Vanishing

    The Vanishing 1988

    ★★★★ Watched 01 Nov, 2014

    That ending, tho.

  • Under the Cherry Moon

    Under the Cherry Moon 1986

    ★★ Watched 29 Oct, 2014

    Not a good movie, really, but fascinating in Prince canon for reasons I'm hoping to write about for someone.