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  • Burn After Reading

    Burn After Reading

    [Published September 10th, 2008, UnderGroundOnline (UGO)]

    From the start, Burn After Reading shows the Brothers' Coen in "details" mode, a digitally enhanced Google Maps-esque zoom-in to a Washington D.C. government facility transitioning to a low-angle track behind the click-clacking dress shoes of soon-to-be-fired CIA agent Osborne Cox (John Malkovich). The jig is up when Osborne enters the office of his superior and the Coens make certain to call attention to a clever bit of sound design: the hum of the…

  • The Brothers Bloom

    The Brothers Bloom

    [Published September 5th, 2008, UnderGroundOnline (UGO)]

    The Brothers Bloom puts the 'con' in 'confident'—no denying that Rian Johnson's follow-up to his high school noir Brick is a mostly impressive piece of visual work, especially in the early going. The history of swindler brothers Stephen and Bloom (Bloom Bloom, haw haw!) is presented as a Ricky Jay-narrated fractured fairy tale, complete with a dank, dark forest grotto—a beckoning, yet ever-receding light within—that calls to mind Plato's cave-set parable of distraction and…

Popular reviews

  • Jojo Rabbit

    Jojo Rabbit

    [Published September 9th, 2019, Slant Magazine]


    Waititi prefers to treat his audience like drooling cretins who need their hands held through every shift in tone, reassured that everything, even in a world off its axis, is going to work out. It doesn’t help that this misguided production is utterly devoid of laughs, though I admit to cracking a desperate smile when the nitwit Nazi played by Sam Rockwell demands that an underling bring him German shepherds, as in the dogs, and is instead delivered shepherds who are German. It’s a flash of punny bliss in what’s otherwise Marvel Presents Mein Kampf.


  • Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood


    Confirmed for me why everything from Inglourious Basterds on has sat uneasily, if not been outright repellent. When Tarantino's narratives turn on (non-cinematic) history, I get off the bandwagon. He doesn't have the depth of perspective or character to engage with the actual past. If he gets at life and the events that inform and shape it — which I believe he does in all the features from Reservoir Dogs through Death Proof — it's via roundabout and oblique…