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  • 1917

    1917

    ★★★★★

    Sam Mendes’ ode to his grandfather’s service in WWI ran the risk of feeling like a gimmick. The film is presented as though it is one very long shot. While clearly it isn’t, the effect here is deeply and starkly immersive. The film’s story (in broad strokes, the simple tale of two soldiers tasked with delivering a message across enemy lines) is rendered propulsive by the immediacy. I’m certainly guilty of being the sort of film geek who sits up in…

  • Jojo Rabbit

    Jojo Rabbit

    ★★★★½

    It seems like a staggering amount of the discussion surrounding this movie is less about what actually occurs in the film itself and more about what each critic thinks the tone of a Hitler Youth comedy should be. Some decry it as too light or funny for such “heavy“ subject matter. Others complain that it’s not a searing enough indictment of fascist ideology. If you want to talk about how it should be done, make a movie yourself. I’d rather talk about…

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  • Corpus Christi

    Corpus Christi

    ★★★★

    Corpus Christi’s director is 38 and its writer is 27. I don’t think the average American viewer, even one seeking out foreign films, has sufficient knowledge of recent Polish history to understand the sort of experience these two have had. Collectively, they have experienced the fall of the USSR and the related economic and cultural shocks. They’ve seen their currency eviscerated by efforts to quickly westernize in the early 90s. I distinctly remember going to Poland with my father when…

  • A Rainy Day in New York

    A Rainy Day in New York

    ★★★

    It has become impossible to evaluate a Woody Allen movie in a vacuum as he so obviously continues to troll his critics. Here we see Timothée Chalamet do his best Allen avatar shtick (it’s not great) in a universe that sees his 21, but younger looking, girlfriend played by Elle Fanning (very broad and not effectively so) hit on by a star actor, a star writer, and a star director. The director is “subtly” named “Roland Pollard” which is, of…