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  • The Square

    The Square

    ★★★★½

    Many thorny ingredients intersect inside The Square: freedom of speech/freedom of art to offend/freedom from the consequence of our actions/freedom from those less fortunate.  What keeps this from being a two and a half hour video essay, is the constant, at times comic, threat of the unexpected.  Does Elizabeth Moss have a pet monkey?  The conclusions the film comes to are a bit simplistic, but everything else feels so bold and uncompromising that you almost don’t even notice.

  • First Reformed

    First Reformed

    ★★★★

    With minimal scoring and set dressing (even the young couple appear to be living in the 1950’s) Paul Schrader creates a stark mood and comes through with a near miracle of a movie (the tension slips out of his hands in the last 10 minutes).  Ethan Hawke is well served with the restrained atmosphere, providing his best performance outside of the Before series.  Some nimble exchanges about religion’s place in environmental issues, give the film a potent immediacy.

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  • mother!

    mother!

    ★★★★★

    David Lynch on steroids, and I mean that as a compliment, Arronofsky proves yet again why he's one of our best living directors.  This is by far Lawrence's best work, it's almost a silent performance, and she's so tuned into the role that we believe all the crazy things that are happening.  There isn't a bad performance in it.  The director manages to squeeze laughs out of the most extreme circumstances.  The editing is magic.  Many themes emerge in the…

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story

    Solo: A Star Wars Story

    ★★

    Like an episode of Droids or maybe just...a Ron Howard picture:  Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in dimly (or crappily) lit interiors and then there’s the big moment, Han is going to finally ride out into the sunlight, and what do we get...a generic CGI desert setting with the personality of a mid 90’s Microsoft screensaver.  This happens a lot.  You keep waiting for something with spunk to poke through the murk.  “I just have to wait for Donald…