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  • On the Basis of Sex

    On the Basis of Sex

    ★★★

    Much like Bohemian Rhapsody, On the Basis of Sex relies on a beloved figure to carry an otherwise mediocre biopic. I have great respect and admiration for Ginsburg, but this film isn't anything special. The performances are all fine, along with just about every other aspect. It's formulaic in its structure, going quickly through her life from day 1 of law school to her becoming a law professor. This part is so rushed that there's a dramatic scene where her…

  • White Material

    White Material

    ★★★½

    Denis returns to Cameroon (it was filmed in Cameroon, though the country in the film is an unnamed African nation on the verge of civil war), and while I was initially reminded of Chocolat, White Material lacks the nostalgia of her debut. Denis noted this in her interview on the Criterion disc. Huppert is excellent as she tries to hang on to her life even as everything falls apart around her, from her coffee farm to her own family. Just…

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  • Phantom Thread

    Phantom Thread

    ★★★★★

    It took until 2018, but 2017 has its first 5-star film for me. Anderson (serving as director and DP) is so precise with his compositions and camera movements, and has cemented himself as one of the best directors of actors out there (Sandler in PDL, DDL in TWBB, Phoenix/Hoffman in The Master, and the list goes on). I like Paul Dano in There Will Be Blood, but he was barely able to hold his own against Daniel Day-Lewis (which I'm…

  • Martyrs

    Martyrs

    ★★★★★

    This is not torture porn. Yes, it's extremely violent and disturbing, but the torture is not exciting and revolting like the Saw sequels or Hostel. It's horrific and depressing. The acting is top notch, and Alaoui is reminiscent of Maria Falconetti in The Passion of Joan of Arc at times. This is an incredibly powerful, disturbing, terrifying, and well-made film, and, if you can stomach it, absolutely worth the watch. It is truly a modern horror masterpiece. Just don't expect to feel good for several days while it's still in your mind.