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  • I believe

    I believe

    ½

    The "first time seeing the cue cards"-line readings and inclusion of a day-shift mafia, led by Tom Sizemore alone don't indicate a masterpiece, but the message of this is noxious. It's not that it proselytizes. It's that its argument for Christianity is that it can fix what's wrong with your life, up to and including curing disabilities. It's not that it can help you be a kinder, more loving person. You just need the right chipmunk-voiced youngster to pray for you and all is good. Fuck this.

  • The Juniper Tree

    The Juniper Tree

    ★★★★

    A self-aware fairy tale without the voice acting talent of Eddie Murphy. The conceit of stories being shared about bird and human worlds by Bjork helps to place it in a world beyond just the characters’ isolation. Keene also knows how to instill enough hope in the storytelling that what should be a gravely melancholic ending didn’t leave me in total misery.

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  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    ★★★★

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

    For a while, it seems like Tarantino is subverting expectations by not subverting expectations. There isn't any substantial bloodshed until Pitt's attack on Steve Grogan at the movie ranch, and even that's not a particularly "rah rah, beating the shit out of people is awesome" moment. Then, the finale happens. It's the Inglourious Basterds conclusion on a smaller-scale, but it doesn't have the pleasurable revenge connotation, because it's more of a "stand your ground"-type thing, and Pitt's heroism is marred…

  • Saving Christmas

    Saving Christmas

    ½

    If this were just a screed against "The War on Christmas," it'd be awful and full of bogus talking points, but at least they'd be ones that offer a fairly clear POV, however dumb it might be. But instead, Camero's argument is that all aspects of Christmas that stand for crass commercialism more than religious devotion are actually biblically valid based on logical leaps that Evel Knievel wouldn't dare attempt. And the film's director/co-writer casts himself as someone who's so…