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  • On Chesil Beach

    On Chesil Beach


    There's supposed to be a disconnect to the behavior of the couple in On Chesil Beach, a movie that asks us to harken back to a time when newlyweds were so sexually innocent that they had trouble figuring out how to consummate a marriage. Their fumbling seems foreign to us, which is the point. But what's the excuse for none of the behavior in the movie ringing true to any human experience?

    I'm talking about Florence refusing to tell her…

  • American Animals

    American Animals


    I worry about the potential Boondock Saints effect of this movie: Do I want to be in the same number as the college dorm crew attracted to it only for its style? Is it only style? I don't think it adds up to much ultimately.

    But it does have style, and it's way too fun of a caper flick to resist. It presents an interesting bridge in Bart Layton's career, from non-fiction that is a bit too fictional to fiction…

Popular reviews

  • Gone Girl

    Gone Girl


    In a particularly tense scene of Gone Girl, Affleck's character is sipping on Singani 63, a Bolivian brandy obscure enough that I can't get it from the Dorignac's liquor aisles. The character owns a bar--so I guess he's up on his clear brandy made with specific grapes from the mountains of South America--but he's probably drinking it because Singani 63 is Steven Soderbergh's side hustle. And Gone Girl, in its obsession with process, its narrative left-turns, its respect/contempt for the…

  • American Honey

    American Honey


    I'm still digesting it*, but American Honey is a good example of the difference between story and plot. There's a lot of the former even without much of the latter. It's sprawling, with an adagio tempo that recalls the shifts of the road, and it's unclear how much of the film was written to begin with--I don't know how someone could write something that feels so lived in and spontaneous. It's of-a-piece with Andrea Arnold's other work, (We get a…