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  • First Man

    First Man

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Review forthcoming for CityBeat, but I wanted to jot down notes anyway to help clarify my reaction. First off, this is by far Chazelle's best, but if you know me you know how much I hate WHIPLASH and feel like LA LA LAND is mediocrity incarnate. Still, there's a lot to admire in FIRST MAN, most notably Gosling's measured, painful, persistent performance. The opening act introduces the tension between personal and professional stresses that helps root the movie outside of…

  • Hold the Dark

    Hold the Dark

    ★★★

    I pity the unsuspecting Netflix fool who happens upon this stark raving mad, skin slicing, bone shattering snow western. Not nearly as incomprehensible or ambitious as THE SNOWMAN (and yet still incoherent at times), but the thematic and psychological parallels are certainly there. Plus, it has one of those go-for-broke shootouts that faithfully depicts what a high caliber machine gun round will do to your face. Jeremy Saulnier and Macon Blair seem to suggest that some are born to eat…

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  • Spring Breakers

    Spring Breakers

    ★★★★½

    In this postmodern acid wash nightmare called 21st century America, some of us no longer have the ability to register rock bottom. We just spiral deeper into the neon abyss, documenting our own demise by way of pop culture and ego and delusion. Complex emotion is meaningless. The momentum of deceit is unstoppable. Those contemplating the limits of excess are either delusional or weak, unnecessary, disposable. As a result, the Culture teaches us to be cold, unfeeling, and obsessive to the pursuit of nothing else but those boobies y'all. We are what we lust after, and we are lusting after self-destruction. Mission Accomplished.

  • Blackhat

    Blackhat

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    The highs of low tech, the lows of high tech. Sensory clashes overwhelm plot. Mann's first pure romance film since MOHICANS. The action scenes are expectedly great, but there's a new wrinkle of humanity and romanticism here. At one point a character has just confessed her husband died in 9/11, then seconds later she lies on the ground riddled with bullets. Mann cuts from a CU of her face to a POV of a massive skyscraper, inferring the end of…