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  • The Handmaiden

    The Handmaiden

    ★★

    Keep Park Chan-wook the hell away from "The Paying Guests"!

    I kid, I kid (though not really... ) Certainly "The Handmaiden" proves to be a daring adaptation of "Fingersmith," Sarah Waters' magnificent novel about a con artist who falls in love with her intended mark amid a web of double-crosses and secrets that are impossible to predict. And by "daring" I mean it has precious little in common with its source material beyond that bare-bones summary. Yes, the general outline…

  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ★★★½

    Damien Chazelle strikes me as a pretty talented dude whose movies express a view on art and life that I find fundamentally corrosive. In "Whiplash," he offered a portrait of an abusive teacher/student relationship in which the student going back to the teacher was, if not venerated, at the very least understood as a definitive answer to a false choice the movie presents: do you want to not be miserable, or do you want to make truly great art? That…

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  • Carol

    Carol

    ★★★★★

    So I'm probably still a little drunk off this movie (let's take a moment here to acknowledge the absurdity of not letting 18-year-olds in the U.S. legally buy booze while giving them unsupervised access to far stronger stuff like "Carol"), but here goes...

    It might be the small gestures of "Carol" that affected me the most. A face being raised ever so slightly in acknowledgment. A flirtatious smile. A phone receiver picked up in desperation, then slammed down just as…

  • 10 Cloverfield Lane

    10 Cloverfield Lane

    ★★★★★

    PART OF GREG'S HORROR MARATHON: 2016

    One of the movies this most reminds me of, in all honesty, is "Martyrs." Not in terms of anything to do with its subject matter, and nor is it anywhere near as disturbing or impactful (obviously). But just in terms of structure, it's a spectacularly audacious piece of filmmaking that becomes about four different kinds of movies over the course of its running time. Very rarely have I been so successfully kept off-balance by…