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  • It

    It

    ★★

    Imagine the crew nervously looking over their shoulders while shooting one of the small handful of scenes that aren’t dominated by the clown crawling all over the screen, knowing that at any moment, a producer will storm onto the set demanding to know why the fuck this scene has no clown.

  • Smithereens

    Smithereens

    ★★★★

    A very engrossing, unromantic portrait of NYC in the twilight of punk’s first wave, a palpably grimy dystopia populated almost entirely by down-and-out scammers of various stripes. Susan Berman is extraordinary as Wren, a deeply unlikeable opportunist who nevertheless inspires empathy. Her desperate energy propels the film, whose plot is essentially a catalog of her bad decisions. Pair with Midnight Cowboy for the consummate feel-bad double feature.

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  • The Others

    The Others

    ★★

    Remember when Nirvana exploded and every major label scrambled to sign any band they could find that was even remotely similar? Well, if The Sixth Sense is Nirvana (and given how quickly M Night Shyamalan squandered whatever goodwill his breakout hit engendered, I hesitate to draw the comparison), then The Others is Bush.

    The themes, tone, essential plot points, and even the color palette are all lifted directly. To its credit, this is not immediately apparent, and the way the…

  • The Trip

    The Trip

    ★★★★

    Following Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon on a week-long drive through the sights, sounds, and tastes of the northern English countryside, The Trip is equal parts tour documentary, buddy movie, and road trip flick. But more than anything, and in spite of its many laughs, it is a poignant meditation on aging.

    Ostensibly playing themselves, Coogan and Brydon are a juxtaposition of insecure and self-possessed, of serious artist and happy-go-lucky entertainer. Their differences are sussed out in conversations brimming over…