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  • Brawl in Cell Block 99

    Brawl in Cell Block 99

    ★★

    Between it's meandering first act, not getting enough out of Don Johnson as the sadistic warden, and having to constantly be reminded how bad-ass Vince Vaughn's character is, this is to me a disappointing follow-up to S. Craig Zahler's last film Bone Tomahawk, which had it's own problems that it managed to overcome.

    On a visual level, the dedication to the grindhouse aesthetic (not that I am by any means an expert) doesn't translate here, particularly because average digital has…

  • David Bowie: The Last Five Years

    David Bowie: The Last Five Years

    ★★★★

    I celebrate a lot of his discography but I have to admit I've never been as big a fan as a lot of the people who paid tribute to him in the wake of his shocking death. He's written great songs and I can't help but admire what he's done in terms of opening up dialogues about sexuality, identity and artistic evolution. But I spent a lot more time consoling my friends who were huge devotees of his, than myself.…

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  • Collateral

    Collateral

    ★★★★★

    One element I haven't seen much in the praise of this film is actually how funny it is. There is a subtle but direct layer of levity, which is mostly used to ease the very palpable tension. I saw it twice in theaters and both times one particular line got a hearty response from the audience. Nearly all of it surrounds the chemistry of it's two leads, and the individual choices they made regarding their characters.

    Tom Cruise (in arguably…

  • Thief

    Thief

    ★★★★½

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

    There's a ruthlessness to James Caan's performance as Frank that cuts through like one of his tools of the safe-cracking trade. It's 100% pure alpha-male bravado, that can be quickly brought down to earth. Whether it's by his best friend or his wife, there is as equally no fear to the emotion he brings. That's one thing (of many) about Michael Mann's work that is so engaging, is how he shows his protagonists (as well as his antagonists, too) balancing…