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  • Theory of Achievement

    Theory of Achievement

    Hartley at his most Godardian--a constant push-pull between material concerns and philosophical ideals (often misunderstood philosophical ideals, though I think Hartley is more aware of this than Godard). And I don't really care about prescience as a measure of quality, but geez, this is really on-point about what Williamsburg would become in the years to come.

  • Solaris

    Solaris

    First half: pretty great! Second half: not so great! Tarkovsky is the practitioner, perhaps originator, of a style that tends to be anathema to me, a particularly laborious and self-serious mode of arthouse cinema that too often approaches questions of humanity and religion with a literal-minded framework steeped in too-obvious symbolism and metaphors. For whatever reason, Tarkovsky himself really works for me, especially when he's limiting himself to strictly narrative concerns, thinking on a discrete level rather than thinking of…

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  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ½

    There's a moment early on this film that nicely summarizes Damien Chazelle's approach to music and art: Ryan Gosling, sitting at his piano, puts on a jazz record, which begins with a complicated piano riff. He stops the record, plays the riff on his piano exactly as heard on the record, messes up, then spins back the record, replays the opening, and mimics it again. It's the same methodology behind the "Play one wrong note and you DIE" premise of…

  • Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids

    Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids

    As good as I'd been led to believe. One note: I love how Demme mostly refrains from cutting on the beat--the pace of his shots and editing are slower, more relaxed than JT's driving pop songs. So, in a film about pop music as joyous collaboration, Demme becomes another collaborator, bringing his own rhythm to the proceedings, another player in the band.