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  • Smooth Talk

    Smooth Talk 1985

    ★★★★ Watched 24 Nov, 2015

    Laura Dern is endlessly good and scarily convincing in this modest 1985 coming-of-age drama. A production of American Playhouse (the PBS anthology that made much of ‘80s indie cinema possible), it won the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at the third Sundance Film Festival, and serves as an astute portrait of mall-hanging mid-‘80s youth culture (aside from insisting teenagers were listening to James Taylor). Director Joyce Chopra and screenwriter Tom Cole (adapting a Joyce Carol Oates short story) capture the exhilaration…

  • Creed

    Creed 2015

    ★★★★½ Watched 23 Nov, 2015

    'Creed' is the best 'Rocky' picture since the 1976 original, and the one that most directly recalls it, in both narrative and tone. And on top of all that, it’s its own great, singular achievement, outside of the considerable iconography.


Popular reviews

  • Mistress America

    Mistress America 2015

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 24 Jul, 2015

    “In one instant, her behaviors turned from charming to borderline psychotic.” So notes Tracy (Kirke) of Brooke (Gerwig), the title character of Noah Baumbach’s latest chronicle of the bohemian facades and generational navigation in New York City. Free of much of the cynicism but none of the bite of last spring’s 'While We’re Young,' Baumbach and co-writer Gerwig’s screwball treat beautifully captures the way a slightly older, seemingly together mentor-type figure can first seem to be everything you hope to…

  • Don’t Look Back

    Don’t Look Back 1967

    ★★★★★ Watched 23 Nov, 2015

    D.A. Pennebaker’s 1967 Bob Dylan chronicle features precious little music for a film so often lumped in with concert movies; it’s more accurately described as a tour documentary, and on the road, most of your time is spent backstage, in hotel rooms, and being a dick to reporters. Pennebaker’s vérité approach, eavesdropping over interrogation, was remarkably influential, and that goes double for the opening sequence — the famed lyrics-on-cue-cards “Subterranean Homesick Blues” scene, widely regarded as one of the first music videos. It’s a snapshot and a snowglobe, tedious yet riveting, a puzzle piece in the Dylan enigma we’re all still trying to figure out.