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  • I Heart Huckabees

    I Heart Huckabees

    ★★½

    David O. Russell’s films as of late have been fantastic, but I haven’t always been sold on him. Three Kings and The Fighter failed to impress me, but Silver Linings Playbook onward have all been huge winners. 

    This... is way different than anything I was expecting from Russell. It plays to surrealism, like a weird offbrand Eternal Sunshine. And while I enjoyed the nostalgic trip back to 2004’s social issues and quirkiness, I wasn’t digging the plot. It’s largely nonsense, with a few sincere moments.

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    Bohemian Rhapsody

    ★★½

    My rating is only this high because I don’t want to hurt my parents’ feelings. My dad called this a “masterpiece.”

    I see why people have been duped, but I cannot ignore the utter disaster this script is. Imagine literally any scene in here happening as it’s portrayed. Nothing feels authentic. It’s all laughably simple. 

    The only quality aspects of Bohemian Rhapsody are its cinematography and Malek’s performance, but neither blew me away.

  • The Darjeeling Limited

    The Darjeeling Limited

    ★★★½

    Minor Anderson but still a delight. It’s all around a bit goofy in its execution, from pacing to little development of story to the mace scene. Yet I love it in its own way. It goes wisely small after Zissuo and it has a huge heart.

  • The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling

    The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling

    ★★★★½

    Bravo, Judd Apatow. Thank you for doing justice to a sweet soul, introducing us to Garry Shandling, the person.

    Four hours is a big ask for someone to sit through a biographical documentary, but once I started in, I had to finish. I only knew of Garry through Marvel (sorry), Comedians in Cars, and celebrity mentions of the comedian, but I never looked into his comedy or the Larry Sanders Show. And truly, the comedy is only a small piece…

  • Beyond the Hills

    Beyond the Hills

    ★★★★

    My second Cristian Mungui film (after Graduation), and while I didn’t like this quite as much, I think it’s still a great film and it makes me very excited to look at the rest of the director’s filmography. 

    I went in blind, only knowing it was about a nun in a monastery. I recommend you do the same. It’s heavy and feels authentic, two qualities that made Graduation the gut punch it was when I watched it. 

    The long takes…

  • GoodFellas

    GoodFellas

    ★★★★½

    Third viewing. Love it more each time, starting to see what all the fuss is about. Scorsese went back to the well for Wolf of Wall Street, which I am more familiar with, but I think this one’s more masterful and authentic.

    I can’t say anything that hasn’t been said. DeNiro’s great (but somehow underutilized), Ray Liotta was born for the leading part, Joe Pesci‘s ilk is actually welcome here... It’s magic. And Scorsese behind the camera, shooting this brilliant…

  • High Flying Bird

    High Flying Bird

    ★★★

    Hopefully shooting on iPhone is not the future. This is an interesting phase of Soderbergh’s career but not one I’m particularly fond of. He has a good eye for camera placement and framing and I see that he likes the freedom shooting on a handheld device allows him, but these seem like an experiment, which hinders the project considerably. I feel a distance between myself and the world of the film seeing it through this weird filter. Very superficial, I…

  • Green Book

    Green Book

    ★★★½

    Okay, okay. Ideologically simplistic, dangerously presenting a mildly racist protagonist as funny oaf of a man, and now a front runner for Best Picture, Green Book rightfully has a target on its back. The execution is cringeworthy, but let’s not discount the efforts of these two fantastic leads and the eye-popping cinematography. 

    Viggo still blows me away with this performance, playing totally against his introverted nature. He really puts himself out there playing a total idiot like this and that…

  • The Old Man & the Gun

    The Old Man & the Gun

    ★★★½

    I enjoy the tone Lowery crafts, and this is clearly a role Redford was born to play, one that taps into his charm. I want to revisit this one when I’m in the right mood. It’s great, but maybe a little light on substance.

  • Cold War

    Cold War

    ★★★★

    So happy to have caught this one in the theater. The cinematography Oscar nomination is well-deserved, the framing, depth of field, and tactical shot variety all serve the film every bit as much as the narrative. 

    Joanna Kulig is an absolute knockout, I was so taken with her screen presence. Her work here is powerful, award-worthy stuff.

    It takes a bit of time for the film to strike gold, but once it finds its story it gets quite riveting and…

  • Suspiria

    Suspiria

    ★★½

    Would this work better as a limited series? I really think so. Lots of room for character development and subplots that the film somehow doesn’t devote the time to. A lot of the film is just vague: motives, backstory, logic... No doubt there’s some powerful imagery and a pretty decent detective story, yet nothing sticks to my ribs because there’s nothing that qualifies as a main course. I don’t relate to these characters and I’m a bit lost with the revelation of the supernatural element. I wish I saw what everyone else did with this.

  • The Man Who Wasn't There

    The Man Who Wasn't There

    ★★★★★

    Is this the best Coen brothers film?

    It certainly is in the running. Thematically abundant, packed with wit, irony, and intrigue, this modest and often overlooked chapter in the directors’ filmography is one of their richest. Coming straight off a few hits in Fargo, Lebowski, and O Brother, it’s so amazing to see something so indulgent to their personal tastes, an homage to film noir with all the bizarre flourishes of their last few films. In the writing, it’s a…