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  • Knives Out

    Knives Out

    ★★★★

    Unacknowledged privilege always curdles into entitlement, no matter how good your manners might be. No one is immune. Not even the character in this film who is getting an "SJW degree" at Smith College; when it really counts, she's as bad as everybody else. When she asks Ana de Armas's character for a hug, and apologizes, after a pivotal decision, this movie is twisting the dagger about as good as any I've ever seen.

    All the plates are spinning here:…

  • Beirut

    Beirut

    ★★★

    Tony Gilroy has written, now, at least three movies that could straight up be described as "negotiation thrillers," and many of his other films could probably be described that way without breaking too much of a sweat. A sampling of just the ones whose titles are kind of negotiation tinged: "Duplicity," "State of Play," "Proof of Life," and "The Devil's Advocate." And then you have "Michael Clayton," which despite not bearing the name of some aspect of negotiation, is nothing…

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  • Barton Fink

    Barton Fink

    ★★★½

    Solid effort from the Coens: stunted in some of the ways that I think a lot of their work is, but really fun in places too, and you can't argue about the energy or the skill on display. It's great! Even if you can see the thematic concerns all resolving themselves a mile away, there are some surprising manifestations of those concerns in the last act. Really fun roles for John Mahoney and Tony Shalhoub in particular, with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it but funny appearance by William H. Macy; John Turturro and John Goodman are obviously great, too.

  • The In-Laws

    The In-Laws

    ★★★★

    The set-up for The In-Laws feels pretty familiar-- odd couple pairing, international hijinks ensue-- but it's executed in a far more offbeat fashion than one might expect, with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin largely deserving of the credit. If you enjoy these guys' respective shticks, then the compendium of very solid gags here is going to go really, really far with you. The trailer gives you a good sense of the vibe without giving away all the best jokes. Available on Criterion Channel!

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  • Pickpocket

    Pickpocket

    ★★★★

    This is an incredibly cool movie with one hell of a last shot; throughout the runtime it feels a bit like Light Sleeper by way of Altman. You've got a shaggy, lightly Long Goodbye type movement from scene to scene, with an Altman-esque soundscape layering dialogue and background noise almost in conversation with each other. And the plot is about a person who doesn't really fit in to a rapidly changing, largely bad friend group which mirrors the rapidly changing…

  • Mikey and Nicky

    Mikey and Nicky

    ★★★★

    You know, I don't shave. Did you know that? I don't take care of myself. I think, if I don't take care of myself and I sit still and I don't move, maybe they'll forget about me. But then I'm scared of that too, because I think maybe if I sit there too long, maybe when I want to move, I won't be able to move.

    What a last sequence of shots. I will say it: my mileage on Cassavettes’…