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  • Caliber 9

    Caliber 9

    ★★★★

    Trafficking foreign currency isn’t easy business, especially when the logistics entail endless hand-offs in public spaces. The process that convolutes a trail of criminality for investigators relies on several nodes of exchange, which are vulnerable to error and deceit. A reliable intermediary is always a risk: Concealed cash might arrive at its destination in the form of crude counterfeit. Naturally, when things don’t go the right way for organized crime, the path becomes violent. Very violent.

    Caliber 9 opens with…

  • Fishy Stones

    Fishy Stones

    ★★★½

    Thoroughly enjoyable low-budget charm.

    Silly acting, obvious dialogue about what's happening in the moment, goofs like the camera crew reflecting in an actor's shades, action music during expository moments, a score that'd work as a variety pack of generic synth cheese—all the hallmarks of endearing B-cinema.

    I was rocking out most of the time: the soundtrack kicks ass. If you're a fan of retro music, and especially the throwback music scenes that fetishize the 1980s era of FM synthesis, you're ears will eat up Fishy Stones.

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  • Come and See

    Come and See

    ★★★★½

    This isn't just a war movie, whether in the sense of dramatized military combat or life during wartime. But this setting is important, not just historically, but emotionally. A teenage boy's life goes from innocence to hell after his village is shelled by Nazi aircraft and he's conscripted into a partisan troop to fight off the invasion. He gets the worst kind of reality check, which blasts him with guilt before he's lived enough to hurt anybody. Then things get…

  • Ma Mère

    Ma Mère

    ★½

    When you court controversy but you're just boring.

    There's a slice of the film involving the character Hansi, which improves the experience: the actress, Emma de Caunes, makes her the best part of the movie. There's a funny internal monologue about her ass, how it makes the son realize he never really believed in God. Most of the movie is a contrived portrayal of bourgeois unhappiness leading to an olympics of hedonism. There's nothing to hail—ironic, because that's a point…