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  • The Mother of Tears

    The Mother of Tears

    ★★★★

    More this, less Luca Guadagnino, please.

  • Mysteries of Lisbon

    Mysteries of Lisbon

    ★★★★★

    Staggering. As I see it, Ruiz made two films that summarize his formal and thematic interests: this and Love Torn in a Dream. It’s fascinating that these two films lay at absolute polar extremes of his stylistic range. LTIAD is his densest and most frenetic film while this is his most languorous and elegant. 

    It’s built out of the materials of the 19th century novel: multi-generational webs of causal entanglement tied together by the sorts of coincidences that suggest that…

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  • Avengers: Infinity War

    Avengers: Infinity War

    ½

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

    There’s a lot to dislike about Infinity War. It’s pure, soulless product. Shameless fan service through and through. It doesn’t manage to offset this with its ridiculously dark conclusion, because we all know they won’t follow through with it. After the amount of money Black Panther just made, not one person who watches The Avengers will believe that he’s really gone. Or, if there is such a person, I have some ocean front property in Idaho I’d like to sell…

  • Lady in the Water

    Lady in the Water

    ★★★★★

    Even better than I remembered it. The nature of a bedtime story is to make it up as you go along, piecing together an ad hoc mythology that generates continuous conflict while enabling the desired conclusion. Shyamalan builds this methodology into the structure of the film, as an antidote to the postmodern death of originality bemoaned by Bob Balaban’s grumpy critic. The meta-fictional level and the first order narrative work seemlessly together. The result is by turns hilarious, moving, suspenseful, and exhilarating in its unbridled creativity. Giamatti is incredible, as is the entire supporting cast.