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  • Roman J. Israel, Esq.

    Roman J. Israel, Esq.



    Las Vegas Weekly review. "This is more than Nixon ever sweated."

  • Marjorie Prime

    Marjorie Prime



    Not just filmed theater but a particularly troublesome kind of filmed theater, involving numerous expository monologues (or near-monologues, when someone's conversing with a prime) that either explain futuristic technology or recount detailed memories. Doesn't help that Charlie Brooker got here first, especially since Marjorie Prime's most compelling stretch—Tess struggling to accept her late mother's simulacrum—pretty much replicates the central uneasiness of "Be Right Back" (which isn't even one of my favorite Black Mirror episodes). Harrison's play does include a…

  • Blade of the Immortal

    Blade of the Immortal



    Same basic problem as Wolverine: It's hard to care much about an action hero who's essentially indestructible. (At least we get amusingly disgusting "bloodworms" in lieu of a mutation.) Miike's on his best behavior here, apparently sticking fairly close to the manga series; it's always refreshing to see him make a "normal" movie, as if to prove that he can, but this particular film could have used a little more of the ol' gonzo. I'm liable to remember it…

  • Let the Sun Shine In

    Let the Sun Shine In



    As a dude, do I have the "right" to get indignant about a film—directed by a woman, written by two women, apparently somewhat autobiographical in the case of novelist Christine Angot—because it focuses exclusively on the female protag's mostly self-debasing relationships with various men? Maybe not, but I felt kinda gross watching this all the same. Denis isn't Breillat, fearlessly committed to exploring masochistic behavior; her sensibility is much more...let's call it "sparing," as an antonym of "unsparing." And…

  • Madame Hyde

    Madame Hyde



    At this point it's probably safe to say that Bozon just ain't for me. (He even somehow made Sylvie Testud unappealing.) Really don't see the point of a Jekyll and Hyde riff that envisions the id-monster as some sort of pure-energy being setting stuff on fire; might as well have replaced Huppert with the glowing demonic figure from Post Tenebras Lux. Racial aspect seems figurative rather than carefully considered. Antic sense of humor still mostly off-putting (see Tip Top). It's not a great sign when the biggest spike on my engagement-level EKG involves someone laboriously solving a basic geometry problem in real time.

  • The Workshop

    The Workshop



    Baldly manipulative in a way that increasingly annoyed me—it's a cheap (and not very effective) thriller dressed up in au courant sociological duds. To the film's credit, there at least aren't recurring reports of local violence for which Creepy Nationalist Teen might potentially be responsible; we're merely prodded to wonder whether his alienation will eventually lead to an attack, while Cantet and Campillo provide running "clever" meta-commentary on genre mechanics. The resolution of this omnipresent threat feels like a…

  • Last Flag Flying

    Last Flag Flying



    Las Vegas Weekly review. Probably shouldn't have rewatched The Last Detail right beforehand, as that only made this re-engineered non-sequel feel emptier and phonier. (Cranston's hammy desperation looks especially bad compared to Nicholson's seething hostility.) Still boasts some signature shooting-the-shit moments, but this may be my least favorite Linklater. I'll probably never know for sure 'cause I doubt I'll ever watch subUrbia again.

  • Wonder




    Las Vegas Weekly review. Just good enough to make you wish that it were genuinely good, i.e. not afflicted by (as Slant's Keith Watson aptly phrased it) "an almost pathological need to ensure that everything turns out well for every single character."

  • Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond - Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton

    Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond - Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton



    A.V. Club review. Too much Jim, not enough Andy.

  • A Gentle Creature

    A Gentle Creature



    The film I've wanted Loznitsa to make since My Joy—namely, My Joy with at least the semblance of a narrative spine throughout, from which he can deviate at will. And deviate he does, again and again, which is why I'm baffled by those who consider Gentle Creature a relentless miserabilistic slog, designed solely to punish the title character. She's technically in every scene, but frequently absent from the frame and all but irrelevant to whatever constitutes the "action"; as…

  • The Last Detail

    The Last Detail



    Never dawned on me before that Midnight Run is basically a comic civilian variation on this film, providing the feel-good ending that New Hollywood was having no part of. (Otis Young's Mule does seem kind of superfluous, frankly, though maybe that's just an inevitable consequence of sharing the function of military escort with Nicholson at the height of his surly charisma.) I tend to find Ashby maddeningly inconsistent from moment to moment, and Last Detail exemplifies both his strengths…

  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer

    The Killing of a Sacred Deer



    Tone is everything here—I'd love to know how much painstaking trial-and-error was involved in crafting such magnificently stilted, awkward performances from these accomplished actors. Barry Keoghan, in particular, creates the uncanny impression of an apologetic automaton; the scene in which he explains the "rules" to Farrell, reciting them in the rushed, rotely memorized manner of a 7th-grader giving an oral report (and highlighting this by briefly resuming his "normal" speech pattern at one point before resuming the litany), creates…