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  • Thelma

    Thelma

    ★★★

    You know you're in for something when a film starts with a seizure warning.

  • The Circle

    The Circle

    ★★½

    I feel like if I'm a James Ponsoldt apologist then I may have gone astray, and make no doubt there's a lot of mess here. But there's also a visual style that does look sleek, well crafted, and oftentimes things happen on the outskirts of scenes that reward attention and contribute to the overall tone the film, occasionally, establishes. At the very least I should see his pre-breakout works before becoming a defender.

  • The Disaster Artist

    The Disaster Artist

    ★★★½

    Continually impressed by A24's output, and while there's a lot funny about this film, what is most appealing is the humanity that both Francos (Franci?) bring to their roles. This may be my first time, somehow, seeing a film with James Franco behind the camera as well, so I'm not sure that I have all that much to say about his style. A little grainy, a lot of shakes, which mercifully calm down, that also creates this unwieldy freedom which…

  • 11/8/16

    11/8/16

    ★★

    Passed on seeing this at PFF last year. It's hard to distill one of the most chaotic and hectic days in recent memory down to a single documentary, especially when the scope gets expanded to so many states. It's ambitious, but even a James or Wiseman run time may not have been enough, though even in constrained time it casts a wide net and does capture the sobering feeling in the wake of the election.

  • The Bad Batch

    The Bad Batch

    ★★½

    I suppose the surface level comparison to draw would be to the most recent MAD MAX (it even has alliteration), but what if that film had more Keanu, less bombastic action, and more lush, synth covered raves? Probably the same amount of cannibals in each though.

  • Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated

    Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated

    ★★½

    As candid of a look as one would expect, Demi is not just an engaging storyteller in song, but as she recollects her life she remains compelling. There are more areas I would have liked to see explored, most notably her time with Disney where we get the glimpse of how draining and devastating the life of a child star can be, but despite the use of tracks from her new album this feel like way more than just a…

  • Betting on Zero

    Betting on Zero

    ★½

    Runs in to the problems of most clear cut docs, though maybe that's just what I'm bringing to it. Obviously Herbalife is a pyramid scheme, so you have a thesis that doesn't really need proving as much as it needs drawing attention. The most tragic parts are the way it shows how it can destroy lives, and I guess how the one middle America white guy just pivoted to selling vape things.

  • Landline

    Landline

    ★★½

    Unsure why this didn't get the acclaim or sustained attention that OBVIOUS CHILD did, as it represents a development for Robespierre as a filmmaker even if there are surface level comparisons to be drawn between her two films. Slate is, as expected, an absorbing central force, and her story particularly hit, but the parallels and other characters are fully formed and engaging on their own.

  • Last Flag Flying

    Last Flag Flying

    ★★

    There are some nicer, quiet touches, but a lot feels so on the nose and just fine. The performances are good, the themes are direct, Linklater's camera makes things visually appealing, the score is...well maybe the score is not great.

    Still part of my PFF Director's Fortnight, I suppose.

  • Coco

    Coco

    ★★½

    Much more than the sum of its parts, COCO is as visually stunning as one would expect a Pixar film to be, but the humor hits more often than not and it makes a well worn theme feel resonant, new, and, most importantly, emotionally honest. Even if it does rely on a might big coincidence to reach the payoff, but even that is more tolerable when you look at it in a larger literary scope. Were I not out of…

  • Mudbound

    Mudbound

    ★★½

    Absorbing in a way that I feel needs to settle and process in a way I wasn't entirely expecting.

  • Lady Bird

    Lady Bird

    ★★★

    A film like this would be easy to drench in irony, and while some of that is there, what shines through, as it does in so much of Gerwig's work, is the sincerity and care, the understanding, that she has for her characters. Big and small roles, they all feel fleshed out, and damn if this film doesn't hit nearly every mark it sets its sights on.

    Part of my PFF26 Director's Fortnight.