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  • At Eternity's Gate

    At Eternity's Gate

    I shall admit to nodding off a bit in the middle of this one, but only for a few minutes. That had nothing to do with the film's quality, but I'm afraid I don't much regret the sleep. At Eternity's Gate combines two of my pet peeves: biopics where people talk as though they already know they're monumental historical figures and European arthouse shaky cam.

    Dafoe is fine, but he's not well-served by the screenplay's constant nattering about eternity. Surely…

  • Shirkers

    Shirkers

    A wistful nostalgia trip for a largely imagined time and place. The miracle of the footage's rediscovery, its bright colors and expressive compositions, make this much more interesting than your standard talking heads retrospective.

    True, the central mystery isn't all that complicated - Georges Cardona steals the footage and eventually it is returned. But Cardona's psyche remains inscrutable, made more mysterious by the answers his associates provide in the film's latter half, not less. And the fractured relationship Tan has…

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  • If Beale Street Could Talk

    If Beale Street Could Talk

    Not as strong as Moonlight, but then that's an almost impossible bar. On a purely technical level, this is perhaps more beautiful to look at, likely because of the presumed budget bump. Each costume and prop is precisely color-coded to complement the scenery, while cinematographer James Laxton and composer Nicholas Britell render each scene lusher than the last.

    Baldwin and Jenkins are indeed a match made in heaven, and his reverence shines through in every frame. That's a double-edged sword.…

  • Brazil

    Brazil

    One of my comfort films - I could watch this once a month, and certainly do so once a year. The level of invention here is astonishing - that zippy theme song, those sweeping tracks through the office bustle, the trams that look like milk cartons, the singing Santa cops, Dr. Jaffe's stretchy skincare. No matter how many times I've seen it, I'm still somewhat shocked that De Niro plays a renegade heating repair man on the lam. Sheer brilliance.…