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  • The Bad Batch

    The Bad Batch

    ★½

    Yeah, I caught the Vice logo prominently featured at the start of this, and as such I spent the duration of this not-so-small ordeal of a film wondering when Ellen Page and Ian Daniel were going to show up and ask what life is like for gays in Comfort. This thing is two hours of non-stop, unquestioning Hipster Channel winking. Don't know what I wanted to punch more: Jason Momoa's accent or Suki Waterhouse's left butt cheek.

  • Elián

    Elián

    ★★★

    For almost 20 years, I've been thinking of Elián González. He is, after all, a kindred spirit. I, too, escaped to this country across the Straits of Florida, though I came here as part of the Mariel boat lift, which was a controlled enough social experiment to almost guarantee that my four-year-old anemic self would be alive by the time he reached Florida. I lost iron getting here, while Elián lost his mother. He was the only survivor of a…

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  • Whiplash

    Whiplash

    ★½

    "Exhilarating," "astounding," and "electrifying" reads the quotes on the film's poster, from agents of our culture of mean. Okay, I'll give it "electrifying." Miles Teller is a mean drummer, or maybe it's the jazzy cutting that tricks one into thinking so, but the implausible scenario is pretty low-down in how it tries to milk suspense from an unbridled spectacle of human cruelty. Not even sure Damien Chazelle believes his paltry justification for J.K. Simmons's worse-than-Gordon-Ramsay shtick. Maybe someone needs to throw a director's chair at his head so we can see if he's capable of drumming up a "Casablanca."

  • Timbuktu

    Timbuktu

    ★★★★

    Do not miss this great film when it comes to a theater at a major metropolis near you at the end of the month. It has its imperfections, but they pale in significance to its elegiac sense of will. After what happened yesterday in Paris, and especially for those confused about the ties between Islam and terrorism or operating under the mistaken belief that Charlie Hebdo's provocations weren't necessary, the film's searing, lucid depiction of innocents rightfully, righteously fighting fundamentalism from within will grip you in horrified empathy.