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  • A Quiet Place Part II

    A Quiet Place Part II

    ★★★

    The presence of Cillian Murphy makes it hard to resist calling this 474 Days Later, as we've seen him navigate similar genre territory in one of the greatest zombie films ever made.

    And while elements of 28 Days Later are obvious here — particularly in the attention to what the apocalypse has "turned other people into" — this is mostly just a War of the Worlds and Aliens mash-up, and the most obviously Spielbergian exercise since Super 8. As alien/zombie-apocalypse movie…

  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

    The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

    ★★½

    If you were to time-travel to 1984, enter a video arcade,

    find the kid playing "Space Invaders,"

    and then, at the very moment that Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" transitions to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" on the arcade speakers,

    you injected him with adrenaline

    and filled his mouth with Zotz pop-rocks

    and told him to improvise the plot for his dream movie...

    this is exactly what he would describe:

    So, once upon a time there's this brain-surgeon/rocket-scientist/electric-guitar-soloing/gunslinger — a mix of…

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  • In The Heights

    In The Heights

    ★★★★

    For me, this is the most relentlessly inventive, cinematically satisfying big screen musical since Moulin Rouge. This isn’t a filmed stage show; it’s a thrillingly imagined motion picture.

    As I’m the jerk who doesn’t care for Hamilton, I am stunned.

    I’m inclined to say that if you haven’t seen it on the big screen … you haven’t seen it. Seeing it and hearing it in Dolby Cinema was glorious.

    Man, I’m jealous of people who have a cultural heritage they take pride in. I can’t imagine what that’s like.

  • The Daytrippers

    The Daytrippers

    ★★★

    [First viewing, Criterion Channel]

    First thoughts:

    1) I am so much more interested in Carl (Liev Schreiber) and Jo (Parker Posey) than Eliza (Hope Davis, radiant as she is here) and Louis (perhaps the first Stanley Tucci character and performance I've found entirely aggravating). Unfortunately, the Eliza/Louis thread is the central thread, and it's just not very interesting.

    2) The irrepressible Mrs. Malone (Anne Meara) ends up stealing the show — and that's a problem because her overbearing and controlling…

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  • Gosford Park

    Gosford Park

    ★★★★★

    16 THINGS ABOUT GOSFORD PARK

    1. Still my favorite Altman film.
    2. Still head and shoulders above the entirety of Downton Abbey.
    3. Still the most virtuosic choreography of a large ensemble cast I've ever seen.
    4. I miss Clive Owen.
    5. That scene with Tom Hollander eating jam in the cellar. That scene.
    6. I believe that when he goes home from work, Richard E. Grant dresses and behaves just like this.
    7. All of the moments with Claudie…

  • The Innocents

    The Innocents

    ★★★★

    Name one movie that is

    a) directed by a woman,
    b) filmed by a woman,
    b) about women, and
    c) deeply concerned with matters of faith.

    I can think of many films directed by men, and focusing on men, that rigorously wrestle with questions about God and the problem of evil. But The Innocents is a remarkably rare event.

    Here's my full review.