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  • Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

    Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

    Strangely inert, which is not at all what I was expecting.

    I've long considered Cruise "The Hardest Worker in Hollywood," and have always enjoyed his (sometimes, pedestrian) offerings because I can so clearly see the effort behind them. In this film, though, it felt a bit like Too Much of a Somewhat Good Things. Smulders seemed to be working even harder to emote than Cruise was, and that's really saying something. And with a pair of exceptions, the supporting characters…

  • Clouds of Sils Maria

    Clouds of Sils Maria

    A mesmerizing, challenging film. Binoche is luminous. And terribly sad. And absolutely unforgettable. The use of music is extraordinary. And yet, I feel like I understand individual scenes much more than I understand the whole. Is it simply a meditation on age? On the differences between youthful exuberance and maturity? How does Maria's (evolving) understanding of her art play into the overall themes of the film? How much is the relationship between her and Kristen Stewart's Valentine meant to mirror…

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  • Brick

    Brick

    I enjoyed The Last Jedi more than most; a lot more, in fact, if my quick scan of social media when it was released gave me an accurate reading of the temperature.

    That being said, Rian Johnson is not a blockbuster director. He's a funny, smart, rapid-fire, genre-loving-and-reinventing indie director, and nothing makes that as abundantly clear as this, his directorial debut. Brilliant stuff, but not for reasons that make me think he could work some tent-pole magic with a…

  • Men in Black

    Men in Black

    Have a definite nostalgic soft spot for this one, so Sarah and I showed it to the three eldest boys a few nights ago. It holds up really well, actually. Not a great film (by any means), but features some great moments, and is carried triumphantly along by a really great chemistry between Smith and Jones. Neither is straying terribly far from their "inertial" characters, but the equation produces something a good bit more enjoyable than either would do on…