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  • Mandy

    Mandy

    ★★★

    The second half of Panos Cosmatos's film is, if nothing else, confirmation that Nic Cage is far from running out of the crazy gas. Glad, too, that "the bathroom scene," which cedes the stage fully to the actor, arrived when it did. Mandy's first half is all gauzy Lynchian call-outs, one after another occurring at a climax (which is to say, wanting for a sense of crescendo). Fetching but tiring. Then Cage's character steps into the bathroom, freaks out, and…

  • Sorry Angel

    Sorry Angel

    ★★★½

    Sorry Angel isn't as galvanic as Robin Campillo's BPM, but then galvanism isn't Christophe Honoré's end game here, at least not in the conventional sense of the term. I can count at least four quietly disarming moments off the top of my head—from the bathroom scene between Jacques (Pierre Deladonchamps) and Marco (Thomas Gonzalez) in which the latter so casually cracks wise about how AIDS has weakened his body, to the three main characters in the film lying together in…

  • Sorry to Bother You

    Sorry to Bother You

    ★★½

    Cult indie rapper Boots Riley's feature-length debut, Sorry to Bother You, is a satire about the desperation of being down and out in America when you're a person of color. Which is to say, the film knows what's real—though “real” isn't the right word to attribute to this sci-fi comedy whatsit that takes place in an alternate-reality version of Oakland where everywhere you turn is an advertisement touting Worry Free Living, a voluntary forced-labor system.

    The film's greatest gag occurs…

  • Paul, Apostle of Christ

    Paul, Apostle of Christ

    ★★

    The unseen Nero casts a large shadow over the film's Rome, where Christians are immolated and forced to live in the shadows. And yet director Andrew Hyatt doesn't exactly make us feel the horror of this oppression in the pit of our stomachs, and not because his camera literally turns away from the film's most graphic depictions of violence. The film's narrative takes place across conspicuously clean sets that, like the garden where Mauritius holds court and gives good face…

  • Red Sparrow

    Red Sparrow

    ★★½

    The filmmakers may keep Dominika at arm’s length from the audience, but Jennifer Lawrence makes hay of having to play a walking enigma. The way that Dominika is at once completely transparent and at the same time impossible to read is Red Sparrow‘s most intriguing through line, not least of which for the way that Lawrence makes you grasp the canny mental gymnastics that her character has to do in order for everything that she says to be at once…

  • The Road Movie

    The Road Movie

    ★★½

    The Road Movie is a doodle, but in its offhanded way, it effectively attests to the resolute nature of the Russian character: men and men who are rarely shocked, imaginative in their vulgarity, stoic even at their most empathetic, and prone to immediately taking up arms at the slightest infraction.

    Read the rest of my Slant review here.

  • Inside

    Inside

    ★★

    On the spectrum of transgression against some kind of triumph of the horror genre, Miguel Ángel Vivas's remake of Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury's 2007 exploitation cheapie, Inside, is at best competently mounted and at worst a case study in watering down chaos for an American market.

    Read the rest of my Slant review here.

  • Endless Poetry

    Endless Poetry

    ★★½

    Just in case you still have any doubts after watching this film, Alejandro Jodorowsky is NOT a homosexual.

  • The Florida Project

    The Florida Project

    ★★★★

    Sean Baker spends much of The Florida Project charging in vigorously nimble fashion up and down the stairs of the Magic Castle, in and out of its rooms, investing the minutia of the down-and-out lives within this little ecosystem with a bittersweet energy and significance. For much of the film, calamity is never harsher than a father packing up to move to New Orleans and forcing his son to leave his toys, relics of memories, behind with the friends he’ll…

  • Alien: Covenant

    Alien: Covenant

    ★★

    I've never been so problematically gay-baited by a slasher flick in my life, certainly not one as banally high falutin' as Sir Ridley's latest.

  • 4 Days in France

    4 Days in France

    ★★★½

    I have nothing bad to say about this movie aside from the fact that it fails to deliver on some kind of epiphanous moment set to Kyle Minogue, which is almost seemingly promised by a conversation the main character has with the singer who he picks up at one point in order to take to a performance at a retirement home.

  • In Transit

    In Transit

    ★★★★

    There's a great scene in this film where a boy proclaims that making friends is as easy as going up to them and asking them for their friendship. He puts this belief immediately into action, approaching two boys, one who's white (like him) and one's black, who accept his friendship and eventually bop their heads to his ingratiating but unmistakably earnest beatboxing. Later in the film, a white man and black man talk drunkenly about race in America, the black…