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  • God Told Me To

    God Told Me To

    ★★½

    It's all downhill after its deranged, inspired opening scene, really. The movie can't settle on a coherent tone afterwards, lurching from morbidly self-serious to outrageously silly when the nonsensical story demands it. The plot is tedious and uneven, wallowing in by-the-numbers police procedural monotony as a way to pad out the time before it gets to what it really cares about--symbolic religious gonzo absurdism. Ultimately not for me, but worth a watch for its first ten minutes alone.

  • A Star Is Born

    A Star Is Born

    ★★★

    Bradley Cooper's conventional, crowd-pleasing direction adds nothing special to this story. It has all the markings of an amateurish first time director: emphasis on brightly lit, eye-catching visuals, cliché-ridden, predictable plot beats; "restrained", Oscar-reel-ready acting; multiple shots of a cute dog for the sole purpose of engineering "awws" from the audience (both the adorable kind and the sad kind). This is perhaps what I should've been expecting, but the rapturous acclaim led me to think that was going to be…

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  • In Another Country

    In Another Country

    ★★★★

    The poster for this movie is fucking gorgeous.

  • A Separation

    A Separation

    ★★★★★

    A Masterpiece. Every single scene is dripping with emotional, moral, and human complexity, and Farhadi utilizes the cinematic form to complement the story rather than carry it, mixing together beautiful, vibrant visuals with fluid, elegant camera work. A "controlled dramatic explosion" is right.