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  • The Florida Project

    The Florida Project

    ★★★

    A couple of years ago I stayed in hotel just like the one in this film on that same busy road in Orlando, and I can say that this slice of life look at that world is just about perfect. It's too bad it doesn't have a story, because after an hour or so of amusing but random incidents it starts to feel like they just turned the camera on and hoped those little snot kids did something fiendishly adorable…

  • Coco

    Coco

    ★★★★

    It may be rather formulaic at this point, but Pixar's storytelling is perfection. Coco's narrative just flows along and twists and turns like a powerful river, and the filmmakers are assured navigators taking us on an emotional journey that's always on character even when it diverts for humor, music, or action. Although there's not much here that appeals directly to me (it's primarily a kid's movie designed to introduce Hispanic culture to the world) I can certainly appreciate the craftsmanship.

  • Mifune: The Last Samurai

    Mifune: The Last Samurai

    ★★★

    A routine documentary covering the life and films of Toshiro Mifune that's aimed at a Western audience and seems to only skim the surface. i.e. a nice introduction to the man and his work.

  • The Foreigner

    The Foreigner

    ★★★

    This is a standard IRA action thriller, competently headed by Pierce Brosnan with a fake accent, that's given an added dimension by including Jackie Chan, who almost seems shoehorned into the story. Jackie acts very serious (these sort of films tend to lack humor, and no exception here) and is basically a one man army. There's some good action, some good plot twists, and it's generally smart and entertaining, but nothing great or remarkable. Still, much better than most of the films Jackie has made in the U.S.

  • The Sons of Katie Elder

    The Sons of Katie Elder

    ★★★★

    I was very impressed with the build-up of this film - a well-measured, character-focused drama that slowly heats up into a boiling kettle. It's a great script that reminded me of Tombstone, and I thought like Tombstone it would bite down hard and make all that simmering build-up really pay off, but instead it just reverts to a standard Western climax. Not terrible, but missed potential. However, it's one of the best performances I've seen from John Wayne - he's…

  • Blue Ruin

    Blue Ruin

    ★★★★

    A decent revenge drama that's been a little overhyped, and it's never entirely clear why he's seeking revenge. It marries violence with an indie film aesthetic, and the best part is how natural and awkward all the violence is compared to Hollywood's choreographed action thrills. I liked it enough to want to see Green Room.

  • The Last Emperor

    The Last Emperor

    ★★★★★

    A nice balance of historical drama and lavish spectacle concerning major events in Chinese history. The fact that it's in English and made by an Italian doesn't detract from it in any way, since it's obviously made for an international audience, although I can't imagine the audacity of any outsider trying to tell this story. It's definitely the capper to Bertolucci's varied career.

  • The Young Savages

    The Young Savages

    ★★★★

    Burt Lancaster puts juvenile delinquents on trial in a movie that strives to be a powerful indictment of their impoverished upbringing - painting some youth as mental deficients but others as street-smart survivors. Despite its political message, it's a solid crime procedural, with one of the best "you're neglecting your family" wives I've seen in movies like this.

  • Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

    Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

    ★★★

    Part buddy comedy, part muscle car chase movie, part road trip adventure, part heist film, and all of it a little off kilter. This is Michael Cimino's directorial debut, but it's a long way from Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate. It throws a bunch of oddball characters together - Jeff Bridges as the happy-go-lucky prankster, Clint Eastwood as a blue collar crook, George Kennedy as a bullying thug - with some wild 70s counterculture and it never really gels as…

  • Hal

    Hal

    ★★★★

    Excellent documentary covering Hal Ashby's life and career as one of the best filmmakers of the 1970s.

  • Tatterdemalion

    Tatterdemalion

    ★★★★

    A military woman comes home after her father's death to sort things out with her estranged brother, and finds a small boy living in the woods. Sort of a horror movie sequel to Winter's Bone, and it's pretty decent primarily because it doesn't overplay the horror.

  • 78/52

    78/52

    ★★★★

    This documentary offers deep analysis of the famous shower scene, but the bulk of it is a survey of Hitchcock's career, the climate of the country when the film came out, and it's subsequent influence. It's easy to make a case that this film was a real turning point for American cinema.