Brian Formo

Brian Formo

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  • Wendy and Lucy

    Wendy and Lucy

    ★★★★

    One of the most compassionate films you'll ever see about how being poor sets up a potential avalanche of financial consequences for attempting to do something to better your situation through moving. There is a cost attached to every moment. For that to register, though, the entire film rests on Michelle Williams performance and she succeeds.

    I want to share a story because it overlaps so much with this film, down to the very year and route. In 2008 I…

  • Morvern Callar

    Morvern Callar

    ★★★★★

    Morvern Callar has one of the bleakest cold opens of any film. We see the titular woman (played by Samantha Morton), as she wakes up with her boyfriend dead from suicide on the floor and a computer screen that says "READ ME." The note instructs her to "be brave" and to send his novel to various publishers he's listed. That's the plot portion of the opening, before we even get there we lay with Morvern on the floor, her fingers…

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  • The Devil's Advocate

    The Devil's Advocate

    ★★★

    I watched this a handful of times when it was released. It’s funny what sticks in your brain because I distinctly associated Delroy Lindo’s underground goat slaughterer as the main case of the movie and completely forgot all the Craig T. Nelson real estate mogul stuff. The power that Lindo has! 

    Wanna know what’s wild? Charlize Theron was 21 when she shot this, playing a wife of some years, desiring a child ASAP and then locked away in a mental…

  • Design for Living

    Design for Living

    ★★★★★

    “No sex!”*

    *ok, have a little. as a treat.

    What would Hollywood have made if the Hays Code didn't exist? More than any other Pre-Code movie, Design for Living makes you ponder that. Miriam Hopkins describes her different orgasms with different men, chooses who to make love with, wears a plunging nightgown, and says, I'm gonna have two boyfriends!!

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  • It Chapter Two

    It Chapter Two

    ★★

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

    Stephen King makes a cameo in It: Chapter Two as an antique dealer in Derry, Maine. Although the sequel makes numerous jokes about grown up Bill (James McAvoy) being a popular horror author who can't find the right endings to his books—seemingly an obvious self-aware dig with King's counting-his-money blessing—but it's the antique setting that's actually most appropriate for King. Because It: Chapter Two is a too faithful adaptation of King's work it not only carries the author's excessive busyness,…

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    Bohemian Rhapsody

    ★½

    When rock critics hear Queen’s improbable hit single “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the first time, Bryan Singer’s film (of the same name) flashes a bunch of dismissive critical quotes. One quote outstretches all the others and ends the sequence, that’s “perfectly adequate” and it perfectly describes the adequate rock biopic of aha musical moments, backstage drama, and 15-year reflections from backstage framing. But the problem is that where it isn't perfectly adequate and vanilla it's actually painfully safe and somewhat erasing,…