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  • The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant 1972

    ★★★★½ Watched 09 Jan, 2015

    A matter-of-fact melodrama masterpiece by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, this 1972 classic gets a lovely remaster and fully loaded special edition from the folks at Criterion. Subtitled “a case history,” this story of a doomed romance between a recent divorcée and a young model works, in many ways, like a stage play: the cast is small, the dialogue is dense, and it barely budges from its single location. But if the staging is leisurely, the intensity is unwavering; Fassbinder’s cinematographer, the…

  • Left Behind 2014

    Watched 08 Jan, 2015

    The effects are hilarious, the sets are rinky-dink, and the character names are funnier than a full season of 'Big Bang Theory': Rayford Steele, Chloe Steele, Buck Williams, Hattie Durham, Shasta Carvell. Yet 'Left Behind' is utterly fascinating as a bit of would-be mainstream entertainment that’s transparently attempting to function as stealth proselytizing, yet plays like we can’t see right through it.


Popular reviews

  • Under the Skin 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 21 Mar, 2014

    A beautiful, bizarre, and occasionally troubling bit of abstract art-house sci-fi in the Beyond the Black Rainbow vein from director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast, Birth). Scarlett Johansson (who appears in just about every frame) plays a well-disguised alien creature who picks up men and devours them; some have dismissed the picture as an indie riff on Species, but if the narrative is derivative and a tad monotonous, there’s something intoxicating about the fluidity of Glazer’s striking images and the mood he manages to sustain throughout the peculiar tale.

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  • Boyhood 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 20 Jan, 2014

    Richard Linklater and his cast shot this chronicle of a young man’s life in bits and pieces over 12 years, a narrative feat all but unparalleled in modern cinema. But the great pleasure of Boyhood is how its tremendous ambition is belied by the picture’s charming modesty; in its pacing and approach, it is very much in the shambling vein of the Before trilogy and Slacker. It also shares those films’ verbosity, its characters frequently engaging in searching conversations about…