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  • The New Girlfriend

    The New Girlfriend

    ★½

    Oh, lordy. Based on an already out-of-date 1985 short story yet set in modern times, this movie is an odd anachronism, a culturally deaf throwback to the days when there was no difference between transgender and cross-dresser. Is there a modern young woman in this day and age who would be repulsed by a man dressed as a woman? And if there is, would she abruptly change her stance on the issue, for no real reason? The word "pervert," uttered…

  • Menashe

    Menashe

    ★★★

    The epitome of the three-star movie: pleasant, harmless, inoffensive, forgettable. A lot of subtleties went over this gentile's head -- I didn't get the significance of the hat, for instance, or of Menashe tucking his payot into his yarmulke. For me, it was less interesting as a glimpse into an arcane world (though I appreciated these glimpses; the woman who was appalled that there was a rabbi who let women drive was particularly intriguing) than as a portrait of a fuck-up. He's a sympathetic fuck-up, though, which is the key here. Even so, the film's slimness left me hungry for something a bit more substantial.

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  • Boyhood

    Boyhood

    ★★

    Exactly what I feared it would be: just a series of pointless vignettes loosely strung together, like a retrospective clip show from a TV series that lasted 12 seasons, punctuated by cultural and political signifiers of the times. And a poorly acted TV show, at that -- none of the young actors in this move can act, least of all "Samantha," easily the most obnoxious child performance in recent memory (me, watching the end credits: "Oh, her name is Lorelei…

  • Foxcatcher

    Foxcatcher

    ★★

    Hard to believe that the creative force behind the exciting, energetic Moneyball is responsible for this flat, listless, perfunctory gossip column of a movie. You will not learn anything about either wrestling or John du Pont from this film, so the point of the whole endeavor is quite beyond me. Also, can we stop pretending that Steve Carell is a great actor? Watching old videos of du Pont made it even clearer to me how limited Carell is as an actor.