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  • Life

    Life

    ★½

    Even more than Cuaron's Gravity, this film totally gets the realistic wonder of orbital space-station life perfectly. Even more than in the Alien[s], films, we're presented with an implacably terrifying, convincing alien life form. But this derivative, terror-by-numbers, narratively flawed movie just rehashes those sci-fi tropes without progressing beyond them. It's a waste of good actors and an unexpectedly ironic climax.

  • Song to Song

    Song to Song

    ★½

    In the first minute of this film I recognized that nobody else in cinema could have made this film in this style other than Terrence Malick. And I also realized that I hate this kind of inner-dialogue musing, fractured-narrative noodling film making. Despite an amazing cast that personified their roles rather than "acted" them. Despite Emmanuel Lubezki's superlative cinematography (nobody shoots so rapturously into the sun like Lubezki!). Despite Austin's energetic music scene and Patti Smith and Iggy Pop and…

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  • El Topo

    El Topo

    ★★★★★

    The New York Times contacted me today for background about my review of El Topo that was published in the L.A. Free Press on April 23, 1971. They provided me with a scan of the article, and I'm reposting it here. Maybe 43 years later its verbiage is a little embarrassing; but I stand by what I wrote back then. How often do we get an opportunity to view what we thought about films through the prism of the far…

  • Joy

    Joy

    ★½

    David O. Russell's popularity and reputation for enlightened whimsy eludes me. I can't blame the actors in what has become his "stock company" for my dislike of this film. Rather it must be Russell's mechanistic, by-the-numbers script filled with neurotic characters acting nonsensically. I know I'm out of step with audiences here; so forget that I ever tried to review this film.