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  • The Florida Project

    The Florida Project

    ★★★½

    Baker's got something going here. Humanistic portraits of fringe lifestyles, obviously, but also the ability to curtail judgement so that characters voice behavioral concerns, yet the film as a whole remains at an empathetic remove. This is tricky imo and I'm not quite sure how he does it, but I think leaving Halley's backstory to the imagination and focusing on the positive aspects of the hotel are two crucial choices. And he has lots of style: the DIY marrow of…

  • Casino

    Casino

    ★★★★½

    The biggest, loudest, shiniest object in the whole Scorsese pantheon. When he's working in this impossibly busy mode, there's no reason to ask him to take it down a notch. And like many of Scorsese's epics, this ultimately becomes about a failed marriage -- and it goes without saying, this is the nastiest, loudest and most loveless marriage of them all. The scenes don't really matter, but I'm happy to fall into submission.  Bob Richardson in his mega protean heyday is the perfect fit for this kilowatt paradise.

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  • The Grand Budapest Hotel

    The Grand Budapest Hotel

    ★★★★½

    In a tight race with Rushmore for the top bill on my nerdy Wes rankings. All the Wes movies have the same current running through them – each constantly in dialogue with the others – but I feel like GBH is his first film that’s actually about artifice, in all its glory, both good and bad – a lifestyle choice that evaporated upon the invasion of rude men, etc. Gustave has Zero tagging along behind him, furiously taking down pointers…

  • Logan

    Logan

    ★★★

    They said this one is different - something they are prone to say - but there are still a handful of irritating tropes that run through all these things and I don’t have any particular soft spot for Jackman or the character. It’s perfectly fine. In fact, it’s better than every MCU film. But the aforementioned annoyances build: the cluttered and tempo-crushing finale that features too many mutants on too many tangents (before that, the absence of clutter is palpable,…