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  • Ocean's Eight

    Ocean's Eight

    ★★★

    Entertaining enough, but a pretty rote heist film. The problem is there seems to be no characters, only character types. I don't recall Ocean's 11 having a problem with balancing screen time among so many actors, but here nobody stands out with a strong personality.

    There is one notable exception, however: Anne Hathaway. She's so good, and immediately cuts through the mediocrity of the rest of the film. It's the kind of comedic performance that wouldn't usually get a lot…

  • Memories of Murder

    Memories of Murder

    ★★★★½

    The way Bong juggles plot and theme and tone is pretty extraordinary. Typical, I think of those as three distinct levels of meaning in a film, but somehow they intertwine here. The level of dark humor and absurdity that permeates Bong's tone, for example, informs the themes of conviction for the truth being overturned. Song Kang-ho is convinced he can see through people just by looking at them, but this years-long investigation proves he no longer understands humanity. There's a…

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  • Captain America: Civil War

    Captain America: Civil War

    ½

    For the life of me I can't understand how fans find anything to give a shit about in these films.

    There's no personality, no stakes, no energy on display from either the cast or the directors. In the Russo brothers, I think Marvel have found their ideal directors: artless, visionless servants of an episodic TV structure. The action isn't exactly unintelligible (Marvel films are too insidious to be completely unsound), but it's passionless: hyperkinetic yet perfunctory. The Russo brothers' "style"…

  • Silence

    Silence

    ★★★★★

    Both experiential and texturally rich as well as intellectually alive. Silence is built around a series of religious tests, moral riddles whose consequences grow more and more thorny. Or rather, the film burrows deeper and deeper into manifestations of the same dilemma: the stubborn pride of conviction and the distance between heart and action.

    It's an extremely complex exploration of these ideas, but the film is tactile as well as brainy. Rodrigo Prieto's cinematography beautifully captures the indifference of the…