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  • Drift

    Drift

    ★★★½

    [pro/B]
    My capsule review, published as part of In Review Online's second dispatch from New Directors/New Films 2018:

    Drift is an experimental work with a loose skeleton of a plot about two women (newcomers Theresa George and Josefina Gill) — who are ambiguously related to each other, but probably more than friends — vacationing by the North Sea and then separating. Director Helena Wittmann is a working cinematographer from Germany and credited here, in addition to directing, for concept, cinematography,…

  • Until The Birds Return

    Until The Birds Return

    ★★½

    [mid/pro/C/C+]
    My capsule review, published as part of In Review Online's second dispatch from New Directors/New Films 2018:

    Karim Moussaoui’s Until the Birds Return boasts a multi-narrative, ensemble structure, weaving between the lives of three modestly connected sets of characters. The film’s focus is on the subjects’ separate experiences and what they say, taken together, about contemporary, post-colonial Algerian life. But Until the Birds Return isn’t self-congratulatory in the way it links these stories. The film proceeds mostly as a…

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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…