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  • Dear White People 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 06 Apr, 2014 1

    Justin Simien says he originally took the film's climax out of his early drafts because he found it too farfetched before multiple blackface parties started erupting on campuses. Similarly, so much of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, particularly its focus on middle- and upper-class white kids hiding behind satire to say whatever they want, seems even more relevant in the wake of the most vitriolic, revealing reaction to #CancelColbert. But setting aside the film's relevance, it's an exceptionally written movie (I can't…

  • Beside Still Waters 2013

    ★★★★½ Watched 06 Apr, 2014

    My favorite film of this year's Atlanta Film Festival. A tautly crafted indie that should serve as a reminder, along with the crop of recent, great independent movies (This Is Martin Bonner, White Reindeer, The Color Wheel), that indies can have a professionalism to them and do not simply need to faff about for the majority of their runtime. Who knew Piz from VMars would come out as a hell of a director to watch?

  • The Double 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 05 Apr, 2014

    That it ultimately sympathizes with the Nice Guy protagonist it initially excoriates is a major knock on it, but so much about the rest of it—its brutal comedy, Ayoade's increasing confidence as a visual stylist—is so captivating that I was riveted for all but the final 15-20 minutes.

  • Metalhead 2013

    ★★★ Watched 04 Apr, 2014

    Peddles all sorts of metal clichés, but it also makes a good case for the skeptical for the genre's capacity for healthy catharsis, even as it also shows how things can go too far. Megadeth never seemed so sweet.

  • 45RPM 2012

    ★★★½ Watched 01 Apr, 2014

    Really enjoyed this. Low-key but it's an indie that expressly cares and doesn't hide itself behind layers of irony. It's also pleasantly funny and, in the end, sweet.

  • A Field in England 2013

    ★★½ Rewatched 01 Apr, 2014

    Much less taken with this on a rewatch. I think warming up to Wheatley's other films in the interim (not to mention HARD TO BE A GOD take this film's monochrome, period vulgarity to far grander, more purposeful heights) makes this less necessary. Still enjoy its subtly off-kilter direction (now more so than its full-on freak-outs) and the dialogue, but I don't think I ever need to see it again.

  • The Testament of Dr. Mabuse 1933

    ★★★★ Watched 31 Mar, 2014

    Lang's lack of music and subtle use of sound can make TESTAMENT feel more plodding than it is, but when everything suddenly snaps together in a scene or the procedural stumbles upon a breakthrough, you can see how masterfully everything was laid all along. The sequence cutting between the rigged apartment and the gang hideout raid is about as thrilling as cinema gets, especially in the early talkie era.

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier 2014

    ★★★ Watched 27 Mar, 2014 1

    I really shouldn't like this movie. It's overlong, over-serious (despite those moments of air-dropped Whedon punch-up that are starting to feel perfunctory instead of charming), and it continues Marvel's trend of having the dullest villains in blockbusters, Loki excluded. But I still can't get enough of Chris Evans' Cap, who manages to pull off the aw-shucks, Greatest Generation throwback but square that tone with the disgust he feels at modern politics and warfare. His hero name also gives away his…

  • The Raid 2 2014

    ½ Watched 27 Mar, 2014 1

    There are people making worse films (at least he gets great fight choreography), but if I could stop anyone from making movies, I think it would be Gareth Evans and his infantile understanding of drama, slipshod directorial ability, and almost comical post-Nolan extremity. This is garbage, sickeningly and meaninglessly violent, without even a whisper of mitigating wit and, like the first film, ultimately tedious in otherwise remarkable fight scenes for how indifferently and lazily they are established and how they all blend together into one indiscriminate whole.

  • Joe 2013

    Watched 27 Mar, 2014

    Green goes back to Malick, but now he seems more like the father of jean commercials than the heir to a master. At least WINTER'S BONE made its hillbilly poverty porn part of its generic exaggeration; JOE seems to think it's doing a service to its decayed homes and endless trash. Cage is indeed good, though I resent this praise comes at the expense of a career that has, frankly, offered up far more interesting and rewatchable work in throwaway…

  • Sabotage 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 26 Mar, 2014

  • Blue Velvet 1986

    ★★★½ Watched 23 Mar, 2014 2

    David Lynch is one of my favorite filmmakers, yet this sits near the bottom of his filmography for me. It's good, but its too-preciously ironic overtones, thoroughly demarcated surface charm/grim underworld and facile resolution strike me as a warm-up for works like Wild at Heart, Fire Walk with Me and others that achieve a better bleed of Pleasant- and Pottersville/wake and sleep, and attain a subjective transmission of utter helplessness and violation that this film only manages in spurts.