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  • Lowlife

    Lowlife

    ★★★½

    A twisty, darkly comic tragedy carried out to sometimes horrific proportions, this promising debut from Ryan Prows (and can you believe it, five credited writers) is also both very prescient and yet redemptive. These people are in an impossible situation, yet the tone is never entirely nihilistic. The humor comes more subtle as the non-linear structure reveals itself until it reaches the visceral climax.

  • Heist

    Heist

    ★★★

    A dry, straight-forward take on professionals in compromise. Hackman, Lindo and Ricky Jay (may he RIP) aren't the most physically formidable criminals but their language belies a violence that can snap into action at a moment's notice. To me, Mamet can sometimes appear as if he's more cooler than he actually is but his approach to the language here feels genuine to the kinds of lives these men lead.

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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

    ★★★★★

    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…