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  • American Hustle

    American Hustle

    ★★★★

    I wrote notes about this film in December of 2015. I tried to turn my disorganized notes into a rudimentarily organized piece. Here is the result.

    Those who critique this film for its thematic bluntness are not necessarily wrong, but I’d say O. Russell is up to something slyer than playing mere conceptual games. When Amy Adams says “people believe what they want to believe,” she is essentially laying out one part of the psychological foundation for O. Russell’s late…

  • Joy

    Joy

    ★★★½

    "With JOY, David O. Russell ostensibly ventures into new territory, discarding the uncomfortable humor and dysfunctional romance that have characterized much of his filmography. While the film’s subject matter doesn’t initially appear to lend itself to O. Russell’s habit of undermining generic conventions, O. Russell still finds ways to subvert the rise and fall template of biopics by imbuing each moment with the sense that the titular protagonist’s livelihood could come crashing down in an instant. For the most part,…

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  • Sicario

    Sicario

    ★½

    If I were to select any working director whose films are the opposite of what I think the cinema should be, the honor would likely go to Denis Villeneuve. Mr. Villeneuve excels in pulpy thrillers that pile contrivance upon contrivance to reveal “important” and “serious” takes on zeitgeisty issues ranging from cycles of violence in a Lebanon-ish Middle Eastern country in INCENDIES, Bush-era torture in PRISONERS and modern relationship ennui a la carte in ENEMY. The latest Villeneuve hot topic…

  • Cruising

    Cruising

    ★★★★½

    “Art frees us from all our sentiments, even good ones and justifies its amorality by returning to ethics what it had borrowed.” – Eric Rohmer

    It’s impossible for me to discuss to this film without dealing with the shadow cast by the controversy over its depiction of a homosexual subculture. While watching early scenes in the West Village bar called The Cock Pit full of detached lateral tracking shots surveying aggressive displays of homosexuality, I wondered whether films have a…