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  • Personal Shopper

    Personal Shopper

    It’s interesting until it’s just plain silly. The climax feels a bit Scooby Doo, especially since it concerns a character we don’t give a fuck about. The not-so-big reveal should be obvious to anyone who’s ever watched a police procedural that’s a bit too tightly-plotted: the killer is always the only character who seems in any way extraneous. And after that, the two central conversations – with her dead brother’s girlfriend’s new boyfriend (whew), and with the final apparition –…

  • Hard Eight

    Hard Eight

    It’s a strangely comforting realization that our greatest living filmmaker – the king of cinema kings, heir to Kubrick and Welles! – made a pretty awful first movie. I was expecting an average movie, but I was unprepared for how truly bad Hard Eight is. There are barely hints of the visceral, rambling Altman-meets-Scorsese mise-en-scène that would characterize his next two films, let alone clues that he would become the most ambitious and distinctive filmmaker of his generation. The camera…

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  • Children of Men

    Children of Men

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

    "As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd what happens in a world without children's voices. I was there at the end."
    "Now you're gonna be there at the beginning."

    Children of Men is undoubtedly a great film. Not because of the sci-fi world created, which is among the most haunting and complex post-apocalyptic murals painted. Not because of the premise, which finds earth infertile and uncaring. Not even because of the film's technical mastery,…

  • American Beauty

    American Beauty

    It begins with the voice over of a dead man. If you recall, Billy Wilder’s black comic masterpiece Sunset Blvd. also begins with narration courtesy of a corpse. Like William Holden and Gloria Swanson in American Beauty‘s cinematic ancestor, the film finds the flailing suburban bore Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) dangerously mismatched with the manic energy of his ambitious but quickly aging wife Carolyn (Annette Bening). As we’ve been told, their marriage will lead to murder, but we realize that…