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  • Elephant

    Elephant

    ★★★

    There's a lot to admire here -- the elegance of Van Sant's filmmaking choices is pretty undeniable -- but I'm just not interested, in some ways that only mean "it's not for me." The deadpan, post-irony Dennis Cooper approach? It was valuable at one time, but it got old; that was an aesthetic stance designed to be outgrown and what looked both wise and edgy (if never 'deep') when artist and audience were twenty-somethings isn't as attractive on the dark side of fifty.

  • Plastic Tree

    Plastic Tree

    ★★★

    Psych-thriller/psych-horror without any meaningful psych. "Interloper messes with the heads of married couple" could have played out like Harold Pinter or like Single White Female. My money was on the latter. But it turned out the interloper was a bit of a red herring; Husband and wife were both damaged people, and it's likely either one could have snapped with him or without him. (Spoiler: they BOTH snap, at approximately the same time.)

    I did take some pleasure in watching…

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  • Intolerable Cruelty

    Intolerable Cruelty

    ★★★

    If you ask me, the people hating on this are off-base; it's not a bad movie, it's not a Coen failure -- on the contrary, it's very Coen, light but dense with subtext, all in the service of a hippie-ish 'message' about prioritizing love, connection and community over greed and cynicism. It does fall apart toward the end, though, when the Coens have to decide whether or not they're too cool for Capra school and try to play it both…

  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona

    Vicky Cristina Barcelona

    Glib and carelessly-imagined ode to privilege. I tried to ignore my distaste for the superficial artsiness of the characters, but after the scene where the blonde girl decided it would be kicks to go to a slummy-looking neighborhood and photograph sex-workers I just couldn't. Esp. when the SW were all "Hello, American Lady Woman! We love you! Come taste the wines and cheeses of my village!"

    Art is one thing, lifestyle-pimping is another.