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  • Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41

    Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41

    ★★★★

    A Kwaidan / Jigoku / women-in-prison / road movie mash-up, repellent and gorgeous, cynical and sympathetic, carried by Meiko Kaji's expressive eyes and piercing silence. & in a film filled with striking directorial flourishes, the blinding sunlight appearing behind Scorpion as she finally exacts her revenge is probably my favorite.

  • Miss Sloane

    Miss Sloane

    ★★★½

    Had to double-check to make sure Jonathan Perera didn't log time in an Aaron-Sorkin-lead writer's room before he penned this film -- he shares the same fondness for accomplished sociopathic assholes, as well as Sorkin's debilitating interest in stat-heavy info dumps, long-winded trivial anecdotes, and frequent flare-ups of back-patting "cleverness" (cf. Sam Waterston actually explaining the Latin roots of the word "annihilation" to John Lithgow). It's a shame there's so much bullshit weighing down what should be a no-bullshit political…

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  • The Swimmer

    The Swimmer

    ★★★★½

    As a pointed commentary on "modern living" (b/w some sly scuttlebutt about the gulf between haves and have-nots), as a sympathetic yet unflinching depiction of a man's misspent life, as an embodiment of his fractured delusions, as a cautionary tale about the poisonous allure of nostalgia, as a possibly accidental case of form mirroring function (cf. the mismatched cuts serving to reflect Merrill's addled state of mind), and most definitely as a testament to Burt Lancaster's ability to simultaneously embody virility and vulnerability, this film is 99.99.99% perfect.

  • A Most Wanted Man

    A Most Wanted Man

    ★★★★

    What Philip Seymour Hoffman says at the end of the film.

    Note to other movies: If you want to get on my good side, conflate political bureaucracy with brutalist architecture.