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  • You Were Never Really Here

    You Were Never Really Here

    ★★★★★

    Quick thoughts:

    On paper, You Were Never Really Here sounds like your typical action/revenge thriller. But writer/director Lynne Ramsay wrings so much more out of this material, based on the book of the same name by Jonathan Ames. It's the type of movie where plot takes a backseat to diving deep into the psyche of our central protagonist Joe, a hired gun who rescues trafficked girls, played brilliantly by Joaquin Phoenix. Without too much dialogue, Phoenix conveys a great deal…

  • Skyscraper

    Skyscraper

    ★★★½

    Quick thoughts:

    Strictly in terms of their work ethic, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has the opposite problem of Adam Sandler, in that he's a damn workaholic who doesn't seem to understand the definition of "overbooked," and as a result has yet to carry a film that is universally considered great. Skyscraper in particular is a perfect example of a casualty to The Rock's workaholism. Don't get me wrong, on the surface it still delivers exactly what the elevator pitched promised:…

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  • The First Purge

    The First Purge

    ★★★★

    Quick thoughts:

    I will always be frustrated by how much the original Purge film wasted such a great premise to justify a home invasion thriller. Fortunately, the sequels have made up for that grave mistake, by taking the premise to its logical extreme, by doubling down on the social and political commentary. The First Purge is the best installment since Anarchy, with the most likable protagonists of the entire series. While Frank Grillo is sorely missed, in his place Y'Lan…

  • The Gift

    The Gift

    ★★★★★

    Question: what attracts actors to the idea of directing? My theory is that they spend so much time in front of the camera that they start to develop a good sense of how to bring out the best performances in other actors! It's what makes movies directed by Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood and Ben Affleck so great, and hopefully the same can be said about the upcoming directing career of Joel Edgerton, so also wrote, produced and stars in The…