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  • The Old Man & the Gun

    The Old Man & the Gun

    ★★★½

    I'll forgive David Lowery for A Ghost Story because I like this a hell of a lot. Although the story's a bit slight and overall I'd say the film's probably not as profound as it thinks it is, I was completely dazzled by the stunning 16mm cinematography, the almost-too-period-perfect production design, the in-your-face jazz score and Redford's boundless charisma.

    One minor horse-nerd quibble: there's no way that anyone who's never ridden a horse before could ride like Redford's character does…

  • Bad Times at the El Royale

    Bad Times at the El Royale

    ★★★½

    This is the second film I've seen this week where Xavier Dolan makes an inexplicable appearance in a completely forgettable minor supporting role. What the hell is going on there?

    Can't say I wasn't entertained by this film (aside from a few scenes in the first 90 minutes where I completely zoned out), but something about it rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it was the smug historical references or the improbably heart-warming ending tacked on to an up-to-that-point fairly nasty film. It looked nice though and Cynthia Erivo is fantastic; can't wait to see her in Widows.

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  • Boy Erased

    Boy Erased

    ★★½

    Seems sincerely intended (and Joel Edgerton even recorded an earnest little intro specifically for this MQFF preview screening), but Edgerton doesn't feel like the right guy for the job here, and although I found this an absorbing watch I think it suffers from a lot of standard biopic pitfalls: excessive length, overbearing score, too many characters that are only explored on a surface level, and being manipulative while maintaining a veneer of objectivity.

    I also want to mention that this…

  • Dragged Across Concrete

    Dragged Across Concrete

    ★★★★½

    Zahler continues to create indelible moments of gut-wrenching pathos amidst his novelistic pulp sleaze and shockingly brutal violence. Just like Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99, Dragged Across Concrete has scenes that won’t leave my mind in a hurry, and as ever they take place in an idiosyncratic, highly stylised but believably detailed world with characters that feel vividly imagined and fully realised. I can see why Zahler’s films aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for me they’re…