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  • Phantom Thread

    Phantom Thread

    ★★★★½

    Few notes on a third viewing:

    35mm is clearly the best viewing format for this. Less grain creates a bit more softness that gives it that late 1950s Eastmancolor that's more appropriate given the time period. (The intensity of the 70mm makes it a bit too 1960s, like it's supposed to be an epic CinemaScope picture, which it certainly is not).

    Most of the camera movements in this film begin in one direction before turning to another, or often reveal…

  • The Work

    The Work

    ★★★★

    Exorcistic by nature, as I discuss on my Top 5 of 2017 podcast here. To fight back against one criticism I saw elsewhere, this is of course not a film filled with neatly framed images, but it does what cinema is supposed to do: capture bodies in all their emotions. We don't live in a world of #OnePerfectShots; we should not ask our documentaries to do so. We do live in one in which bodies are continually moving, breathing, expanding, closing, touching, releasing—and the cameras capture that to their full extent here.

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  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    ★★

    For years, Hollywood and the surrounding Culture Wars have asked a question: Do Critics Matter? It's a frankly boring question, but the main anxiety has developed out of a growing disconnect between Rotten Tomatoes Favorites and the American Box Office. But Disney and their expanding intellectual properties have put a new spin on this story: critics don't matter, but studios deliberately position / design films to harness their words in order to enter The Cultural Conversation. Their movies are no…

  • Baby Driver

    Baby Driver

    ★★★½

    Edgar Wright would have never fit the 70s New Wave: he belongs at Warners in the 30s. Baby Driver colors inside the lines, but this is a stark contrast from other recent Hollywood films praised being "different enough." He wants the image on screen to matter more than the cultural conversation that occurs afterwards. He's rather cast a David Byrne than a emotive performance (perhaps to a slight detriment when the gears change). He wants to create tone and rhythm…