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  • The Call

    The Call

    ★★½

    Mostly quite a nice ride. Breslin and Berry are good (even if the roles are limited) and the pleasures of the first two thirds of the film are conventional but undeniable. The end section is the pits but that failure of promise almost comes with the territory on this type of project. As a friend on facebook said, this is probably the kind of film Phil Karlson would be making were he alive today. That thought alone gets me across the finish line.

  • Mr. Majestyk

    Mr. Majestyk

    ★★★½

    Richard Fleischer's lucid touch is always a welcome counterpoint to even the least promising material, though here he is working with a rather good script by Elmore Leonard and with that axiom of cinema, Charles Bronson. Here he gives Leonard's histrionics the casual intensity that befit them, and which in film brings out their best qualities. Still, though I had high expectations (best film of 1974 Dave Kehr?) I now can't help but peg it as minor Fleischer. Though there's so much here to like, there's also little of the sense of mounting dread and society-wide bloodlust that characterises his best work.

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  • Hit 2 Pass

    Hit 2 Pass

    Walker's is a nerdy, cube-like style: shots of busy knees knocking about a scene; odd angles; oversymmetrical framing; sluggish, distended editing never gunning for an obvious move. It's a film where the forced impositions put upon otherwise unsculpted material stretch our perceptions between extremes; the effect is of observing constant lateral invention and editorial improvisation. There's no either/or in this film. The most contrived, fantastical scenes are shot-through with a simple splash of reality, stretched beyond believability by a refusal…

  • The Ornithologist

    The Ornithologist

    I kept thinking that this should have been directed by John Waters. João Pedro Rodrigues is far too tasteful for any of this to come off; he's a smart filmmaker, but the many provocations only draw attention to the fact that Rodrigues still films everything in good taste art-house tableau—a kind of studied sub-Hitchcock where the actors are pinned down by the weight of the artfully ornamental images, able only to glide sedately around the frame. Perhaps for me the…