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  • BuyBust

    BuyBust

    ★★★

    Those seeking a sober and probing account into the “war on drugs” in the Philippines should look elsewhere because this is not that movie. BuyBust is pure fantasy, an over-the-top actioner that all but dispenses with political commentary. I almost wrote this off as exploitative and ill-informed early on, but then the film stopped taking itself seriously halfway through. It became less Black Hawk Down and more The Raid, transmogrifying into this absurdly distorted interpretation of the extrajudicial killings. Bodies…

  • Laplace's Witch

    Laplace's Witch

    ★★

    Did I see that right? Did Suzu Hirose just summon a tornado out of her nether regions? Oof. Look, I love me some of that patented Miike craziness, but this movie sucks. It’s one of his worst for me. This is badly paced, and it repeatedly commits the cardinal sin of relying on endless expository dialogue. There’s nothing remarkable about the story’s mystery, either. It’s a shame since the early going-ons hold some promise. An academic’s investigation of a crime…

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  • Upstream Color

    Upstream Color

    ★★★★★

    Shane Carruth’s alluring Upstream Color is Invasion of the Body Snatchers for the art house crowd, with hogs replacing pods and identity crisis substituting for McCarthyism. That may be an awfully crude comparison but it’s the overall gist I got as I watched this beguiling, beautiful film. One thing’s for sure, the plot’s mind-control science fiction aspect plays only second fiddle to the transcendent yet universal overarching theme of emotional resonance in people in the vein of Henry David Thoreau’s…

  • Post Tenebras Lux

    Post Tenebras Lux

    ★★★★½

    Contemplative cinema can be a bitch. This most elusive of art house varieties has repeatedly rendered me awestruck, but at the same time hopelessly nonplussed all at once. With that said, the sensory experience waiting in store for viewers in Post Tenebras Lux, perhaps the most idiosyncratic and abstract work to date from Mexican, transcendental filmmaker Carlos Reygadas, can be quite overwhelming and intimidating. If one is unfamiliar with the director’s influences—namely Robert Bresson, Carl Theodore Dreyer, Roberto Rossellini, and…