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  • Altered States

    Altered States

    - Unfortunately for this movie the recent gentrification of ayahuasca means it’s automatically gonna play as comedy, even farce, for being so mystified by something Upper East Siders can now easily do at yoga retreats upstate over a long weekend. OTOH, also inadvertently, the movie’s depiction of the educated intellectual class and how baffled it looks whenever it ‘discovers’ the culture of the Other has only gotten more persuasive. These characters now come off as purposefully annoying, blinkered by their…

  • Upgrade

    Upgrade

    Fun, but I don’t think the writing was really up to the task. 

    “It does not make sense that humans deliberately malfunction.” 

    It’s lines like this—you can have the most delectably caffeinated, fizzy little nostalgia-lite premise in the world, more or less guaranteed to entertain, but it won’t really take off if you try to execute it with the intellectual instincts of a tenth grader. All the bellyaching in the script over the analog versus digital worlds sticks to the…

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  • Black Panther

    Black Panther

    Some of the critiques of this movie have prompted me to give some thought to why we accept and dutifully seek out nuance in Eastwood and Spielberg's aesthetic and ideological conservatism but consistently dock women and POC filmmakers for not living up to some radical ideal we dreamed up to reject our classical forefathers.

    Yes, it is a movie mired in and pitched to a distinctly conservative attitude — just like the nation the movie is about, and undoubtedly for…

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    McDonagh’s sense of morality readily lends itself to entertaining plot turns and impressive acting. He leans into the kinds of vicious, manipulative contradictions that make melodramas so powerful. But in this case, his predilections only lead us down a rabbit hole of dumb ideas, symbolic ironies that really only make sense to people with $80 screenplay software on their MacBooks. Or is this the kind of advice you get when you stick to the free trial? 

    Keep a lookout for…