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  • Thinkin' Big

    Thinkin' Big

    ½

    S.F. Brownrigg directed four very fine low-budget exploitation films between 1973-1976: DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT, SCUM OF THE EARTH (aka POOR WHITE TRASH 2), DON’T OPEN THE DOOR and KEEP MY GRAVE OPEN. While Grindhouse Releasing promises to one day give SCUM OF THE EARTH a proper special edition on home video, the other three are public domain titles and easy to acquire in admittedly lousy presentations. Still, taken collectively, these works have a demented, sleazy sort of Southern-fried…

  • The Hateful Eight

    The Hateful Eight

    ★★★★

    Still gathering my thoughts on THE HATEFUL EIGHT from last night. I found it to be a mean, difficult film, which I don't think it necessarily a bad thing...but, as with every post-JACKIE BROWN Tarantino movie, I understand where many of the mixed/negative reactions are coming from. I found the protracted unpleasantness an interesting choice, but I didn't wake up any of the audience members around me for their take on whether any of it was offensive.

    For me, there…

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  • Mistress America

    Mistress America

    ★★★★

    Wong-Kar Wai took a break while making his action epic ASHES OF TIME to knock out the charming, off-the-cuff CHUNGKING EXPRESS. The experience re-charged his batteries and helped him finish the more “important” picture. Noah Baumbach would appear to have done almost the opposite, at least on paper. Following up the artistic breakthrough of 2013’s FRANCES HA with another low-budget collaboration with actor/co-writer Greta Gerwig, Baumbach shot MISTRESS AMERICA, but left the unfinished project to make the more crossover-friendly Ben…

  • De Palma

    De Palma

    ★★★★

    Essentially just Brian De Palma going over every film in his filmography, in chronological order. It has clips from every film and other relevant images, even some Super 8 home movies from Steven Spielberg. But De Palma is the only talking head, and he's incredibly candid about the films and people involved. Only his most recent effort, PASSION, is not explored at length. I don't know if it would meet everyone's criteria for "art" as far as documentary filmmaking, but…