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  • The Tree of Life

    The Tree of Life

    ★★★★★

    Prologue:

    Set in post-war 1950s suburban Texas, Malick’s spiritualist treatise begins with the lamentable death of the youngest but is about the Experience of the eldest, then staggeringly aggrandizes The Tree of Life into the meanings of ALL Creation: Infinity and Earth, Life and Relationships, Grace and Glory, Mother alighted barefoot above the manicured grass, almost floating and ethereal. Dusk-tinged sunlight wafts through and sachets around the rustling leaves as if: breathing. Brothers chasing each other racing each other rolling…

  • Wet Hot American Summer

    Wet Hot American Summer

    ★★★½

    Take, take, take me back. Or how Brian Wilson once spoke (in words we might have all spoken) of white-sand beaches and bikini girls and shirtless boys and shameless kisses, of all those many things once glorious now just mementos lost and faded: “well I’ve been thinkin’ ‘bout: all the places we’ve surfed and danced and all the faces we’ve missed / so let’s get back together and... do it again.”

    Then queue the near-mythical – almost hypnotically entrancing –…

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  • Birdman

    Birdman

    Fuck this movie. Or this movie will fuck with you.

    I can’t tell whether Keaton’s performance is intentionally bad or piously self-aware or winking or pretentiously good or just winking badly. I can’t figure out if Inarritu’s decision to film Birdman as a feature-length unbroken tracking shot is the astounding epitome of the form or self-congratulatory boasting or if it effectively complements the thematic magical realism of the story. It is difficult to distinguish between the moments when Keaton, Norton…

  • Inherent Vice

    Inherent Vice

    ★★★★★

    A dread-filled, ever-present, menacing nostalgia permeates Paul Thomas Anderson’s L.A. crusin’ 1970s-set groovin’ detective meandering stoner-noir Inherent Vice. In contrast to its sinister undertones and fogged atmosphere, and despite its mystery-upon-mystery plot raveling (and raveling), or its bitter melancholy, Inherent Vice is fundamentally a comedic film. Anderson weaves a hazy cavalcade of absurd yet realized characters dispensing mumbled, cryptic macguffins that act as propulsive plot mechanisms for hippie-P.I. Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix sporting super shaggy sideburns) to amble after,…