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  • Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler 2014

    ★★★ Watched 27 Jun, 2015

    As an indictment of our news media’s bloodlust and its complicity in racist fear mongering, the machinations of Nightcrawler’s Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Nina Romina (Rene Russo) have the depth and subtlety of a Chick tract. Their unashamed “if it bleeds, it leads” philosophy is transparently arranged for maximum repugnance*, presumably with the intention of ironically using TV journalism’s own brand of reductive alarmism against it. But the staging of their discussions makes for a stale polemic, too straight-faced…

  • The Damned

    The Damned 1963

    ★★★½ Watched 12 Jun, 2015

    The Damned is an odd crossbreed of outlaw biker film, love story, and atomic-age science fiction, and this unlikely amalgam allows the film to give equal time to several of the Western Bloc’s competing attitudes about the Cold War era.

    In the idyllic seaside town of Weymouth, King (Oliver Reed) and his gang of delinquents, The Teddy Boys, spend their days terrorizing tourists. After becoming one of the gang’s victims, the affluent Simon (MacDonald Carey) becomes taken with King’s sister,…

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  • The Others

    The Others 2001

    ★★ Watched 21 Oct, 2011 4

    Remember when Nirvana exploded and every major label scrambled to sign any band they could find that was even remotely similar? Well, if The Sixth Sense is Nirvana (and given how quickly M Night Shyamalan squandered whatever goodwill his breakout hit engendered, I hesitate to draw the comparison), then The Others is Bush.

    The themes, tone, essential plot points, and even the color palette are all lifted directly. To its credit, this is not immediately apparent, and the way the…

  • The Trip

    The Trip 2010

    ★★★★ Watched 06 Nov, 2011 5

    Following Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon on a week-long drive through the sights, sounds, and tastes of the northern English countryside, The Trip is equal parts tour documentary, buddy movie, and road trip flick. But more than anything, and in spite of its many laughs, it is a poignant meditation on aging.

    Ostensibly playing themselves, Coogan and Brydon are a juxtaposition of insecure and self-possessed, of serious artist and happy-go-lucky entertainer. Their differences are sussed out in conversations brimming over…