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  • In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    At the end of In a Lonely Place, when Capt. Lochner calls to announce Dix Steele’s vindication and (needlessly) apologize for his persistent investigation of Dix as a murder suspect, Laurel Gray tearfully responds, “Yesterday, this would have meant so much to us. Now it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all.” This suggests that the strain of the murder investigation was the catalyst for her love affair with Dix unraveling, as if it might be a reasonable excuse for…

  • Kubo and the Two Strings

    Kubo and the Two Strings

    ★★★★

    To be a good character animator, one must also be a good actor, and animation, typically an exaggerated abstraction of reality, tends toward appropriately exaggerated performances. Though they’re often capable of exuding enough warmth and humanity to inspire genuine empathy, their reliance on gestural extremes usually keeps them from being as relatable as a skilled actor made of flesh and blood. Kubo and the Two Strings, whose every frame boasts a visual imagination – both aesthetically and narratively – that…

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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…