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  • Kill Bill: Vol. 2

    Kill Bill: Vol. 2

    ★★★½

    [pro/B+/B]
    1.17.19—was [PRO/B+, 4 stars] but I recently added this grade division variation and it fits

  • Instant Family

    Instant Family

    ★★½

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

    [mid/pro/C+/C]
    This is cute and endearing, until it isn't. Wahlberg's pained "let's have the Avatar Conversation" whine is the most self-critical light Anders sheds on the degree to which the central White couple's adoption of Latinx kids is culturally sensitive. For a while, Anders and co-writer John Morris, the former for whom this is apparently a personal project of sorts, seem to treat the cultural integration as a light tension smoothed over entirely by smiles and money (or big cardboard…

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  • Whiplash

    Whiplash

    ★½

    [CON/D]
    An ugly-in-spirit, clumsily styled (ed. the swivel reaction pans to Teller's face are atrocious) faux Social Network. Upsettingly celebrates antagonism and verbal violence as reported. J.K. Simmons's performance is terrible and Teller is too smothered by Damien Chazelle's pop psychologizing to be able to make an impression.
    [Tweet] [II]

    Chazelle's amateurish world is so limited in its artificial scope, beginning and ending within the unexplored confines of his pat human experience ambitions; he is prone to arrive at an…

  • Birdman

    Birdman

    ★★

    [con/C-]
    It's not as if some comedy was the last thing Iñárritu's work needed—I disliked Birdman a good bit less than I thought I would.
    [Tweet]

    I liked it better when it was called Venus in Fur (and even then I didn't like it that much, but Polanski’s film's similarities and divergence from Iñárritu's work are instructive). Pretty middling on it overall, and though it exceeded my expectations, its thinness becomes glaring in hindsight. The tone and performances annoyed me…