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  • The Whole Shootin' Match

    The Whole Shootin' Match

    ★★★★

    Like maybe only an amateur can, Eagle Pennell created a lived-in, fully-realized world familiar from real life but foreign to movies, and he painted this canvas in slight variation for two and one-half inimitable films, using the same two actors and practically the same locations. If you were to take Budweiser, rodeos, and baseball caps—the red state signifiers that made American Sniper so much money—and invert them into Lone Star, bar brawls, and hats advertising Big Ag, you might be…

  • Mauvais Sang

    Mauvais Sang

    ★★★★★

    All the stars.

    The kind of movie that, even on a third viewing, makes you ashamed of the last 100 movies you watched, the last 100 days you lived (or rather, didn't), your humdrum existence a pathetic placeholder for what should be called living. A film where not being loved is a kind of dying, where loving without loving is a way of killing.

    Transcend life in art and art in life. Jean Cocteau is dead, forever and never. Believe…

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  • Red Rock West

    Red Rock West

    ★★★

    Western noir that doesn't know quite what to do with characters other than introduce them but has that part down cold. Requisite outbursts aside, Cage plays kind of a wet blanket but his jeans make up for it. Hopper has a lot of fun calling J.T. Walsh "Wayner" (who wouldn't) and egging Cage into racing their car against a train but Dwight Yoakam steals the show in what is, unfortunately, his one and only scene.

    The scenery, even when it’s not being chewed, is good, and Dahl's framing is clean, but I'm biased – I never met a western noir I didn't like.

  • The Last Seduction

    The Last Seduction

    ★★★

    Peter Berg fucks – just not murderers, ok? To Linda Fiorentino, he’s a mark, but so is everyone to this (gone) girl. It’s a good role for Berg – vastly preferable to Director – and an even better one for Fiorentino, whose character would wrap a man around her finger just for kicks… and when the men in question are Peter Berg and Bill Pullman, who can blame her?

    John Dahl presides, therefore the great J.T. Walsh appears. Minor pleasures of the 1990s cannot be denied.

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  • Jane B. by Agnès V.

    Jane B. by Agnès V.

    ★★★½

    Agnès Varda likes daydreams, not psychology. Her movies jump not from one thing to the next but from one thing to a next, always opening, never closing. One film, a documentary made of fictional parts (Jane B. par Agnès V.), leads to another, a fiction made of documentary (Kung-fu Master!), starring Jane Birkin's daughters, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon, and Varda's son, Mathieu Demy.

    Birkin said she wanted “to make a feature film about how I really am: jeans, old…

  • Titanic

    Titanic

    ★★★★

    An epic of duality, bifurcated between day & night, life & death, female & male, romance & tragedy, and held together by love and close-ups. This is the film of a deep-sea explorer but also that of a matte painter at a time when the technique was dying out; just look at the sunsets! (Even James Cameron, however, felt this one was egregious). All those matte paintings, and yet still Cameron waited a week for the right sky for the actors to kiss under;…