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  • Beat the Devil

    Beat the Devil

    ★★★½

    Who better than John Huston to do a weird parody of one of his own films? The noir classic Maltese Falcon is done here in a satirical tone reminiscent of how Airplane! was a send-up of Airport 1975 and other disaster movies. I have heard that the production of this film was crazy, to say the least, with none other than Truman Capote collaborating with Huston on the screenplay, writing pages as late as the day of filming. It often…

  • The Mack

    The Mack

    ★★★

    Max Julien stars as Goldie, who is just released from prison and wants to make a success of himself any way possible. The line of work he chooses ends up being the pimp game, and he rises to the top of that profession, even so far as being proclaimed Mack/Pimp of the Year during the Players' Ball. Many of the people in these group scenes were real convicts and non-actors. We also get to witness the Players' Picnic, where pimps,…

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  • Minari

    Minari

    ★★★★

    There is a lot to like about Minari, no doubt the best film from director Lee Isaac Chung so far. I wasn't blown away by it the way that I expected to be though. Part of the problem is that the ending is just too neatly tacked on after a particularly devastating climax. There are, however, excellent performances by Yuh-Jung Youn (who deservedly won the Academy Award for Supporting Actress), as well as Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, and a very…

  • Director's Cut

    Director's Cut

    ★★★

    Notable facts about Director’s Cut:

    It is a crowd-funded film about a crowd-funded film.

    Teller does speak. During a police interrogation scene, he is actually quite chatty.

    The home video release does include a commentary with Penn Jillette and the director, Adam Rifkin, so you can listen to a commentary while main character Herbert Blount is doing his commentary.

    Jillette lost nearly 120 lbs. after principal photography ended, so they were unable to do any re-shoots or pick-up scenes. He…

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  • Pain and Glory

    Pain and Glory

    ★★★★

    Antonio Banderas has never been better as Salvador Mallo, an aging writer-director who looks back at aspects of his life with sadness and regret. His story is told through flashbacks of him as a nine-year-old boy (with his mother played by the wonderful Penélope Cruz) and much more recently, just before his aging mother dies (not played by Penélope Cruz). She surprises him by saying that he was not always the best son to her, and her death leaves him…

  • Uncut Gems

    Uncut Gems

    ★★★★

    The Safdie brothers continue the fast-paced, feverishly stressful style they set forth in Good Time. In that film, they had Robert Pattinson, and people were saying "Oh, he CAN act!" and here we have Adam Sandler doing very much the same thing. Absolute chaos is what best describes this film and the world of Howard Ratner, quite possibly the film character of the year. He navigates a lifestyle that is as stress-inducing in its audience as anything I have witnessed…