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  • Dolittle

    Dolittle

    Couldn't decide if I was put off by giving him a Nolan-esque dead wife backstory or if this actually means Nolan needs to put more farting animals in his movies.

  • Mercury Rising

    Mercury Rising

    ★★★

  • Ransom

    Ransom

    ★★★½

    For good and ill Howard doesn't get too invested in the Richard Price script's insistence on class conflict, but on the other hand his simple economy keeps this moving and the cast is absolutely stacked. Discussed on Episode 29 of The Suspense is Killing Us.

  • Nick of Time

    Nick of Time

    ★★½

    Add this to the long list of thrillers with completely inept criminal conspiracies. Also I'm absolutely furious that Depp's character isn't named Nick. Discussed on Episode 29 of The Suspense is Killing Us.

  • Body Parts

    Body Parts

    ★★★★

    Already a gnarly, angry piece of work, the simple theme here of wrestling with a version of yourself that's intrinsically violent and dangerous has taken on some extra retroactive resonance given Eric Red's path.

  • 21 Bridges

    21 Bridges

    ★★★½

    Not only is this thankfully not a story about a single bad actor on an otherwise trustworthy police force but it also manages to create an entirely convincing emotional space for a main character about which there remains some ambivalence. Here's a guy who's known as a hair trigger but who isn't painted as a hothead or a rulebreaker. Throw in the pathologizing of the guys he's initially chasing and this extends beyond ideas of corrupt authority to the damage…

  • Death Wish V: The Face of Death

    Death Wish V: The Face of Death

    ★★

    Both stars exclusively for a terrifically unhinged Michael Parks performance.

  • Death Wish 4: The Crackdown

    Death Wish 4: The Crackdown

    ★★½

    I enjoyed that the obvious potential for subtext -- that Kersey's vigilantism might be susceptible to let's call it misappropriation -- is completely ignored because who the hell cares we're here to see him kill punks. Anyway this is as off-the-shelf as this sort of thing gets, and sometimes that's good enough to get you there.

  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

    ★★★

    Obviously this isn't as alchemical as the others and certainly contains its fair share of cringes, but it's also packed with top-tier Spielberg action sequences (especially in the terrific first half) and wild, indelible images like Indy in front of the mushroom cloud or the guy getting consumed by giant killer ants (cool!). All that makes the final 30 minutes a real bummer, particularly the scowling aliens in their dipshit CGI whirlpool of knowledge, a sequence that structurally mirrors the…

  • Miami Vice

    Miami Vice

    ★★★★★

    "Do you dance?"
    "I dance."

  • Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    ★★★

    Intermittently very clever and frequently very funny, punctuated with a lot of sturdy action choreography and sharp editing (courtesy Chad Stahelski, I'm led to believe). The flashback structure kills a ton of momentum though, and this meanders a lot until the characters finally team up (it helps that all of the actresses are a lot of fun to watch). Personally I'd have liked it if Harley Quinn seemed a bit more vicious and scary, but that's not the movie they're selling here. MVP Ewan McKraken.

  • Small Town Crime

    Small Town Crime

    ★★★½

    I could watch endless vaguely literary pulp movies where John Hawkes plays a down-and-out loser detective, especially if they all end in wicked gnarly shootouts where people get their jaws blown off and whatnot.