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  • The Pawnbroker

    The Pawnbroker

    ★★★½

    If nothing else, still feels seismic as far as performing a coup de grâce on the Production Code and ushering in what constitutes “modern filmmaking.” Notable firsts include the appearance of frontal nudity in a mainstream film, depiction of the concentration camps from the POV of a survivor and its interest in PTSD, which is almost entirely conveyed through its formalism. Essentially a modest character study of an elderly Jewish man (at 39, Steiger was simultaneously too old for the…

  • Spaceship Earth

    Spaceship Earth

    ★★½

    Comes across as especially protective of its subjects, dismissing criticisms of the Synergists as media-fueled bad faith or disproportionately harsh in the face of their lofty mission. Dedicates roughly half the film to John Allen’s pre-Biosphere 2 projects that are almost improbably successful, in spite of the fact everyone involved seemed to be learning engineering and boat construction on the fly. Once the film actually gets to the construction/habitation of the three acre structure, the wealth of archival footage conveys…

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  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2

    ★★

    When I was a little kid, growing up solidly middle class, I had a lot of toys. But my parents, mindful of the expanding clutter that comes from the accumulation of “stuff,” presented me with an ultimatum: if I went long enough without playing with my toys then I’d have to get rid of them before I could get any new ones. They didn’t care what I did with them: throw them out, sell them at a yard sale, give…

  • Baby Driver

    Baby Driver

    ★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    A crushing disappointment really*, all the more so as I appear to be out of step with the rest of the internet on its lousiness. Wright’s way too accomplished a filmmaker for this to be a total wash but the film strives for a tricky confection of tones and what it arrives at is curdled. If HOT FUZZ took a comical premise and populates it with deadly serious characters, this tries the inverse, setting the film in a world of…