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  • Boyhood

    Boyhood

    ★★

    An experiment in filming, where the conceit is the content. This is a 12 year+ chronicle of an american working class family post 9/11. All the usual Linklater elements are strong here (dumbed down philosophical angst, the shorthand of cliques, walking scenes and talking scenes and walking and talking scenes. Sudden domestic danger to liven the pace. Amateur actors left to tread water in long, long sunny takes to slow it back down.)

    It's on 35mm with colors bursting like…

  • Hell or High Water

    Hell or High Water

    ½

    Inexplicably depressed Nationalist propaganda film about open carry, Ford trucks and actually gettin the feels about yer dead Mexican/Indian sidekick. There are no villains in the story, just heroes and bystanders cuz Texas.

    If ever there was a case for story being nearly inconsequential to how good a film is (a case I make always), it's this story, written by Taylor Sheridan . . . who also wrote Sicario and won awards for it. HoHi's screenplay begs for another go-round…

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  • Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance

    Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance

    ★★★★½

    I was not ready for that, oof. And I've seen Harlan County USA about 20 times.

    Stolen lands, military force, abuse of the law, intimidation, beatings, gunshots, imprisonment. And near simultaneous testimony from the victims of what seems like all the might, racism and greed of Canada ca 1990.

    I would say this was the Blood Meridian of Quebec, except the justification for the violence was the placement of a golf course. Which makes it even more obscene.

  • Salt of the Earth

    Salt of the Earth

    ★★★

    It's the Norma Rae of the fifties, and holds up pretty well for all the punching down it's received over the decades.

    Gutsy in its conception (creators were all blacklisted at the time, and the cast is all but five non-professional actors), and in execution. It tries to balance between a surprisingly accurate feminist how-to instructional on organizing, and community melodrama. And does pretty well, especially in its pace, drive and rabid dedication to tying the plot to the film's…

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  • Bone Tomahawk

    Bone Tomahawk

    ½

    -Wants to be Tarantino-does-The Searchers-as-part-of New French Horror, but settles for having successfully cast Russell and Fox. (Sigh.)
    The first 25 minutes are stunningly similar to Plan 9 From Outer Space. Aka . . some of the worst direction I have seen in years.

    Which makes sense when you get to the last act, which becomes a straight ahead copy of T.F. Mou's warsploitation-gorefests set during Japanese occupation of China.

    So . . not good on many disturbing levels here.…

  • A Boy and His Dog

    A Boy and His Dog

    ★½

    Don Johnson (the Dax Shepard of the 70s) monologues schizophrenically through an uber-rapey nuclear holocaust Calvin and Hobbes adventure.
    It's super-stagey in blocking, immensely awkward in its sensibilities, but somehow always watchable.
    Car wrecks are as well.

    I guess there's just something about talking dog movies.

    For fans of The Shaggy D.A., Mad Max, In the Company of Men, Threads, Baxter, Look Who's Talking and Fight Club.