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  • Basic Instinct

    Basic Instinct

    I guess I will have to spend the rest of my life wondering what it was like to see this sparkling pop artifact among fellow gobsmacked strangers in 1992. Borrows plenty from De Palma, sure, but I tend to think of his movies almost purely in their images—their rapturous construction, their unreliability, the frame’s physical space, etc—where Verhoeven’s film seems more plugged into an American lineage of genre imo. Hitchcock with a Parental Advisory sticker slapped on is too pithy…

  • Croupier

    Croupier

    If this was seen as Clive Owen’s Bond audition, I’m not surprised he failed to secure the bag! He’s far too cold and antisocial, his gaze too vacant. Sure, Craig’s Bond ended up bringing those sociopathic tendencies to the fore unlike previous Bonds but I don’t think he could’ve pulled off the smaller stuff. Things like Craig adjusting his cuff links after an outrageous parkour move or his playful queer sparring with Javier Bardem. The gonzo juvenilia of Shoot 'Em…

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  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

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

    The scene that continues to reverberate through my mind is the abrupt flashback that implies Cliff murdered his wife. I think it’s the key to the film but every time I have a grasp on it, it slips through my fingers. It fundamentally alters the movie, recontexualizing what’s come before and charging what comes after. People around us laughed but it didn’t strike me as comedic. There’s this deeply embedded notion that, no matter how personal Tarantino claims his work…

  • Jackie Brown

    Jackie Brown

    • Tarantino, like PTA with Magnolia, made a young man’s old man film, an elegy to vinyl in the jewel case era. (Fitting that Max compromises with a cassette.) It’s somewhat self-fulfilling that a director making something about the difficulty of aging, of being a walking relic, would immediately retreat into the past — or pastiche — for the rest of his career. Reappraisal has hardened into consensus (on LB, anyway) but the trajectory his career would’ve taken had this…