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  • Alps

    Alps

    ★★½

    Lanthimos has an incredibly keen ear for stilted dialogue, drawing comedy from his characters' awkward, abbreviated attempts at connecting with each other. His films are savage satires of the linchpins of modern society (family, romance, success, etc.), populated by disaffected weirdos who cannot quite comprehend the absurdity of their situations. That so much of the dialogue in Alps is scripted for the characters speaking it within the film's construct highlights this aspect of Lanthimos' style, and while I'll confess that…

  • Beast

    Beast

    ★★

    Every inch a debut feature, which is to say full to the brim of style for its own sake, and under-developed in nearly every other regard. The performances by Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn are legitimately great, but the movie drowns their excellent chemistry below attempts to keep everything shrouded in mystery and ambiguity for as long as possible. I am almost never taken with a film built around twists and reveals, even more so when none of what occurs…

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  • Wonder Boys

    Wonder Boys

    ★★★★½

    Professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) has been writing his latest novel for seven years—its now over two thousand pages long and still not done. When his wife leaves him, his mistress and boss (Frances Mcdormand) announces she's pregnant, his agent (Robert Downey Jr.) comes to town to pressure him on the book, and an eccentric student (Toby Maguire) begins to entwine himself in Grady's life, things are about to come to a head. Vacillating in a pot-induced haze, Grady takes…

  • Beirut

    Beirut

    ★★★½

    This is a showcase for Jon Hamm, and in that regard, its incredibly successful. His Mason Skiles has enough Don Draper in him that Hamm feels fully within his dramatic wheelhouse, but the characters have enough separation that it feels like Hamm gets to truly stretch in a way a lot of his dramatic film work has not allowed. The movie has problems (Rosamund Pike's character is woefully underwritten, and the score by John Debney is just a jumble of…