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  • The Lovebirds

    The Lovebirds

    ★★½

    if I start talking too much about this perfectly fine movie, I end up in that unfair stance of reviewing the movie I wanted, not what is actually there.* As a fan of hang-out comedies, I kind of resent that any comedy being made now has to be rolled into something more "exciting," whether it's a wrongfully accused or mistaken identity thriller or some other genre. Such is the post-Game Night world. There's a purposefully anti-climactic note that I wish…

  • Wolf

    Wolf

    ★★★

    Uh, it's called Wolf, not Getting Backstabbed by James Spader in the Publishing Game. (Although both of those are good titles.)

    I like the seductive quality of Nicholson and Pfeiffer's scenes--which clearly benefitted from uncredited Elaine May rewrites--and I like that the movie begins exactly at the inciting incident. But there isn't enough there, as metaphor or thriller, to get a full moon. You can always tell when an artiste makes a monster movie without having seen enough of them.

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  • 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…