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  • Another Round

    Another Round

    ★★★½

    I'm talking about the ultimate catharsis. Total oblivion.

    Shoulders slumped, head cocked downward, Mads Mikkelsen's Martin narrowly dodges a student lunging past him, calling out to a gaggle of jovial friends. The school's gym coach and Martin's buddy, Tommy, barely raises his eyes as his eager pupils jog past. Meant to instruct these teens, Martin, Tommy, and their two other close colleagues are, instead, taunted by their exuberant youthfulness. The same spirit they see in their students has been imprisoned…

  • The Story of a Three-Day Pass

    The Story of a Three-Day Pass

    ★★★★

    Inherent in the concept of a three-day pass is the bracketing of a limited time period. Restrictions are being placed on one's freedoms; their time is still controlled by someone else. Harry Baird's Private Turner may have been given a three-day pass by his white superior in the military, but Turner understands his time - much like his ancestors - is still being controlled by a system that feels entitled to own it.

    Part of Turner (a part that Melvin…

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  • Beau Travail

    Beau Travail

    ★★★★½

    Training, guard duty, washing, ironing, time off. The routine.

    A decommissioned tank appears like a desiccated corpse on the beaches of Djibouti, bookended by a salt-caked compass sold alongside literal skulls at a local market. Colonialism has littered its detritus across the East African landscape as it postures at relevance. If these remnants are like disassembled pieces of a theatrical set built for a play that never premiered, the routines practiced by the French Foreign Legion are a rehearsal of…

  • A Quiet Place Part II

    A Quiet Place Part II

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    My comments on A Quiet Place's reductive use of sound design still stand. However, I prefer that Part II exorcises the maudlin emotional manipulation as John Krasinski boils everything down to a series of survival set pieces that (mostly) utilize the (hazy) rules of the world cleverly. Blunt, Simmonds, and Jupe are not much more than family unit archetypes (Mother, daughter/sister, son/brother), which works on a kind of primordial level. That same restraint is applied to the alien threat -…

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  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

    ★★★★★

    As much as the third Indiana Jones film is about obsessive tendencies (concisely indicated by the hard cut between young and old Indy, both fighting for the Cross of Coronado), it is also about transference of knowledge. That is to say, where the Nazis burn books, Henry Jones shares them with his son. Indy is a testament to the teachings of his father, following in his academic footsteps and displaying a number of the same personality traits; he's been shaped…

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    ★★★★★

    A personal aside before the review: The Alamo Drafthouse in Kansas City continues its run as the most impressive theater in the area by providing a free, early screening of Fury Road, entirely making my week!

    (EDIT 08/14/2020 - After reading accounts from KC Alamo employees - some of whom worked there during the time of this Fury Road screening - in The Pitch, I feel awful about promoting and supporting this particular location for so long now knowing that…