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  • The Beguiled

    The Beguiled

    ★★★★½

    Siegel's punchy, macho direction is an unexpectedly perfect match for a hothouse psychosexual melodrama. The arrival of a wounded, vulnerable Clint Eastwood in his prime at the doorstep of a girls' school immediately broaches fears of his rapacity, only for the women themselves to lose their composure around him. The film unfurls as an extended fever, claustrophobic and sweltering as colors fade from heat and visions intersect in deranged blurs. The net effect is not one of eroticism but fear,…

  • Long Strange Trip

    Long Strange Trip

    ★★★½

    A fittingly sprawling account of what publicist/biographer Dennis McNally adroitly dubbed the "most" American band, one that slightly tweaks the usual rise and fall narrative to suggest that the fall didn't so much come from too many drugs but simply the wrong kind. It's hard not to get swept up in the utopian vision of the group, which remained so in-the-moment its entire career that the documentary's core structure follows less any concrete development than the constant variability of the…

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  • Dallas Buyers Club

    Dallas Buyers Club

    ½

    It's easy, if one only ever has to suffer a few times a year the no-budget, no-talent indies dumped on one-week NY runs and burned onto screener discs, to have a charmed view of what constitutes a bad film. Truth be told, with the number of films produced domestically exploding in recent years thanks to mass proliferation of acceptable-quality, cheap DV, it's a good bet that the vast majority of American movies made each year now consist of films made…

  • The Maze Runner

    The Maze Runner

    ½

    THE MAZE RUNNER is such a sad, cynical, pointless collection of YA tropes in search of a unifying narrative that it might as well be a Seltzer-Friedberg joint named "Young Adult Movie." Every single character exists as a blatant echo of some other YA character: Thomas is Generic YA hero, down to having no idea what's happening yet being preternaturally gifted even above those who've trained to survive for years; Will Poulter's character (do not recall his name or care)…