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  • Kind Hearts and Coronets

    Kind Hearts and Coronets

    ★★★★

    Since I imagine countless other reviews & blurbs have ably commented on this film's many delicious ironies & its balance of the absurd and the sinister & Alec Guinness (& even the undersung Dennis Price, especially when he gets to indulge in a little cosplay of his own), I just want to briefly highlight two moments (of many) of impeccable comic timing: The guard's snore as Louis begins to read his memoir to himself, and the cough/sneeze when Louis mentions that his mother, to make ends meet, had to take in a border.

    That "eenie meenie miney moe" sideswipe in the final 5 minutes, though.

  • Ball of Fire

    Ball of Fire

    ★★★★

    Gary Cooper's ill-timed "boogie" during Gene Krupa's matchbox set. (& as someone who thought Dana Andrews -- as a leading man, anyway -- was a real wet and/or stiff blanket, his relaxed supporting turn here was a revelation.) Also, a thousand apologies for all my egregious split infinitives.

  • The Last Horror Film

    The Last Horror Film

    ★½

    If I knew this was just going to be a half-assed Maniac rewrite featuring "guerrilla-style" footage of various actors entering Cannes Film Festival events and a lot of cockeyed semi-topical "are horror movies bad for society?" chit-chat, I would've just watched the "original." Granted, I'm not sure if Maniac featured as many great movie posters & marquees, or Spinell haphazardly flip-flopping between his New Yawk patois and a more cultured tongue, or Spinell's mom putting the button on a really stupid…

  • Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

    Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

    ★★

    Makes the crucial mistake of stripping out everything that was different or strange or enjoyable about the first film -- Werner Herzog, the self-aware will-they / please-don't non-dalliance between Cruise & Rosamund Pike, the set-pieces, actual jokes -- to interminably cross-cut between bargain-basement Bourne throwdowns and domestic non-dramatic flare-ups between Cruise, Cobie Smulder's "SHIELD agent Maria Hill, but with even less charisma" approximation, and a dipshit obnoxious kid savvy enough to know how to steal a rich girl's backpack but stupid…

  • Doberman Cop

    Doberman Cop

    ★★★

    Not sure if this is a fun Sonny Chiba / pig buddy-cop romp ruined by an unnecessarily complicated downer of a plot, or a thorny police drama concerning country/city schisms and the commodification of women ruined by Chiba's wanton oscillation between seriousness and Chibaness & Fukasaku's tilt-a-whirl camera work. Given how my eyes glazed over whenever Chiba and/or Fukasaku weren't on screen doing their thing, I guess I'm leaning towards the former.

  • The Mend

    The Mend

    ★★★★

    If someone had told me there was a LiLiPUT song on the soundtrack, & it opened (& kinda sorta closed) the film, I would've made time for etc etc etc etc. (LiLiPUT's scrappy ramshackle charm makes them a perfect fit for this film.) Also, as good as Josh Lucas is here, Lucy Owen (& the top-notch spit-take-worthy timing on her dick size comment) is even better. Also, given how many times I've seen his name mentioned in LTRBXD blurbs about this film, I guess I need to acquaint myself with the works of Arnaud Desplechin. Also, why isn't there more Austin Pendleton in things I'm watching?

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    ★★★★

    Never mind Han Solo or Boba Fett -- give me a spinoff about Justin Theroux's gambler. (Or a movie-length version of the Porg / Chewbacca "subplot.')

  • Dead Body

    Dead Body

    ★★

    Now THIS is a run-of-the-mill indie horror film! It's got everything: a start-near-the-end prologue, confused characterization (cf. most of the surprisingly delineated characters turning into cookie-cutter exposition up-chuckers once bodies start dropping), a whodunit plot where it's pretty obvious who done did it (though I did get a kick out of the reason behind the doing), lots of fakeouts, and a mood-belaboring string-heavy score (that's often so loud in the mix, it overwhelms not-insignificant dialogue exchanges). On the plus side, this script does feature a lot of (presumably unrealistic) nail gun usage.

  • It Comes at Night

    It Comes at Night

    ★★★

    Some nice performances (from the men, anyway; not sure why you'd cast Carmen Ejogo and Riley Keough & give them next to nothing to do)*, some interesting visuals (cf. anything involving the red door & the long hallway leading to it & the shadows within it), an impressive albeit inappropriate score (since its "brooding horror film" vibe -- especialy those descending strings -- ends up clashing with the film's actual "post-apocalyptic chamber drama" mien) (h/t Jordan Raup), and the promise of some interesting…

  • The Belko Experiment

    The Belko Experiment

    ★★★

    Was hoping this would be a shrewd & sardonic "Six Sigma prison experiment" romp & not a gory straight-faced underwritten & unfocused Lord of the Cubicle Flies free-for-all, but as those sorts of things go, it's OK (especially if you're jonesing for a fix of "creepy asshole John C. McGinley"). This James Gunn script sure could've used someone with James Gunn's sense of humor behind the camera, though.

  • Hot Thrills and Warm Chills

    Hot Thrills and Warm Chills

    ★½

    69 #nice minutes of great music, greater hair and outfits (or lack thereof), terrible camera work, worse editing, even worse line readings, and one mind-numbing oral sex gag. If you ever wanted a heist film set & shot in New Orleans that spends more time on go-go dancing routines and women balancing glasses of champagne on their rack than the actual heist (which naturally takes place off-camera), look no further.

  • The Unholy Three

    The Unholy Three

    ★★★

    It is great to hear Chaney talk, but it's a shame he passed away before he had a chance to fully acclimate to the world of talking pictures (cf. about 30 instances of him shaking his fist or raising his hand in a Gleasonesque "why I oughta" fashion) (& all his awkward mugging during the belabored "slip a note to the defense" sequence). Also, Conway somehow manages to stick to the original's twisted conceits & story beats while also sanitizing the…