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  • Disorder

    Disorder

    ★★★½

    Disorder is engrossing even before anything happens. Just like in Bullhead, Matthias Schoeanaerts is an inviting presence... especially when he's doing the quietly tortured soul act. Alice Winocour's patience and the discordant score help craft a tense atmosphere of paranoia.
    There's a lot of story going on here under the surface though. And the film's unwillingness to explore it (while nonetheless stressing that there is some importance to the story) can feel a bit frustrating. About halfway through the movie…

  • The Shaolin Temple

    The Shaolin Temple

    ★★★★

    There's an early scene here where some Shaolin monks are all practicing different things in a courtyard and there's at least 5 or 6 absolutely awesome physical feats that the actors do. One guy does the equivalent of a playing with a Skip-It while laying on his back, another does half front-flips effectively using the top of his head as a pogo stick, etc., etc.
    There's an almost hilarious push-and-pull between non-violence and rampant murder here. It's way too easy…

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  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★★★

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

    If nothing else, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is successful in delivering a raucous adventure by letting the actors hold the awe and excitement of the iconic franchise on their faces. It is a clear homage to the original trilogy, but doesn't feel like fan fiction the way lesser reboots often do. Somehow, Abrams' often bravura camerawork and sense of humor makes the movie feel less like fan service and more of a familiar introduction to a new universe with…

  • Hard Eight

    Hard Eight

    ★★★★

    Leisurely yet expertly drags the audience along as Sydney (Philip Baker Hall) navigates the seedy world of casino regulars. Not quite a neo-noir and just stops short of being a full-on character study, Hard Eight contains some dynamite performances that piece out character interactions in a way that keeps the conflicts internal and external at the same time.
    P. T. Anderson's camera is always moving here in a way that isn't ostentatious, but instead gives you a sense of the…