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  • A Dandy in Aspic

    A Dandy in Aspic

    ★★½

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

    A convoluted, frustratingly atonal cold war spy thriller. Harvey plays the double agent spy with a flat, monotone banality which compounds the faults of a screenplay that leaves the character a superficial caricature of the desperate covert agent and offers nothing to latch onto in the empty thriller. Harvey’s own direction further compromises his performance with a hyperactive use of zooms apparently attempting to inject some sense of urgency to the plot otherwise utterly absent. The film’s few graces lie…

  • Orlando

    Orlando

    ★★★★

    Sumptuously designed and lavishly shot, cut through with an arch sense of humor, Potter’s adaptation of Woolf’s novel embraces the queerness at its heart in giddily blurring boundaries between genders and upending traditional gender roles in its embrace of fluidity, not merely gender but in character as well. Swinton’s beguiling charm and androgyny make her an ideal actor oo embody the ever-moving, shifting character along her journey through time, gracefully flowing with the currents of the times while remaining boldly…

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  • Sicario

    Sicario

    ★★★★

    The strength of Villeneuve's intensely muscular direction, Deakins's gloomily gorgeous and evocatively atmospheric cinematography, and Jóhannsson's lush score set a spectacularly grim, fatalistic air of dread-soaked taut tension that lends Sheridan's overly glib, cynically nihilistic drug-war horror story a pulpy tone. The film's pulpiness helps to trim away the shallow nihilism of its moral commentary by amplifying the gruesome horrors of the film's bleakly nihilistic world and the grim amorality of its characters, overpowering Sheridan's didactic intentions and delivering a…

  • Mission: Impossible - Fallout

    Mission: Impossible - Fallout

    ★★★★

    McQuarrie returns to the series with an understanding of the elements involved--the players and their strengths, the expected action quotient, and the relevant plot points to hit--and brings a deftness to the execution that balances the globe-spanning espionage theatrics and horizon-expanding action sequences with casual, quippy comedy and a seedling of emotional investment in its characters' lives--Hunt's romances never entirely convincing given Cruise's paternal air, but the friendships lend resonance to the life-threatening escapades, making the stakes personal--that, together, make…