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  • Hannah Gadsby: Nanette

    Hannah Gadsby: Nanette

    ★★★★★

    In a lengthy, persuasive aside concerning art history and its historical proclivity towards men and the male gaze, Hannah Gadsby speaks about how there’s no such thing as an artist “before his time.” They’re all responses to a zeitgeist, she says, meaning art is the product of social/political/economic conditions.

    To wit, this special is itself a response to a zeitgeist, and the boldest, most affecting piece of media I’ve seen in years.

  • Brainstorm

    Brainstorm

    ★★★★½

    Roughly the first half of this is a virtual reality playground akin to Videodrome, The Lawnmower Man, Being John Malkovich or The Matrix wherein a group of scientists in a spritely colorful lab don these little headpieces that record their physiological experience—sight, sound, and more affectingly physical sensation. The resultant recording can herewith be replayed—or perhaps more precisely, inhabited. To demonstrate the wonder of their technology they record roller coaster rides, helicopter trips over some waterfalls, etc., as a sort…

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  • Annihilation

    Annihilation

    ★★½

    For the first third or so this is ominous and self-serious in the tradition characteristic of all cerebral sci-fi movies, which permits a precariously narrow margin of error. So when a line of dialogue is delivered amusingly, or the appearance of a CGI creature isn’t convincingly material enough, the laughter that follows is concentrated because it’s been stifled for the time leading up to it—because up until this moment you don’t know if it’s going to fall on the side…

  • The Big Short

    The Big Short

    ★★★★

    The film’s regular fourth wall transgressions that intend to demystify credit bubbles and CDOs or whatever else didn’t quite clarify exactly what’s going on for me, but nevertheless this is a film that’s transparently cognizant of the viewer’s level of interest, checking in every now in then in case one of us is nodding off. It’s this tactic that I really admire, and a film that purposefully solicits participation because McKay & Co. intend to educate under the guise of entertainment,…